Today I wasn’t able to gym because my Achilles tendon was feeling a little bit grumpy from a late night basketball session. So a little bit depressed that I didn’t get my endorphin fix I scooted on over to Rada street thinking I could get a bite at Wildflour. I then spied a new little restaurant right beside Wildflour called Nikkei and since I haven’t had any Japanese food all week I decided to give it a go.
The place had a very nice urban atmosphere, with beautiful lighting fixtures overhanging the tables. When I sat down I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was not a traditional Japanese restaurant at all but a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine, with ceviches and sushi taking the forefront. I usually eat at the sushi bar in these instances, so I get to see how they prepared my food. The sushi chef in this instance was a Caucasian gentlemen (I assume he’s Peruvian) who I felt had little grasp of English but was nonetheless was friendly and accommodating as I asked this and that ingredient.
Now in Japanese restaurants, I usually order some chirashi sushi, which is simply put deconstructed sushi, various sashimi pieces on top of a bowl of rice. It’s a good way of sampling the sushi and the freshness of the seafood as chirashi has more value for money than ordering sushi individually. The Nikkei version of chirashi is a slight alteration of the Japanese staple as this interpretation is chirashi on the inverse, with the rice a thinner layer than usual but with the sashimi much much more plentiful. You really feel that you’re getting your money’s worth because sashimi is more expensive than rice and the rice to fish ratio was an 3 to 1. The fish was excellent and you get impression that it was freshly caught. I loved the bonito tuna which had a stronger flavor than it’s maguro counterpart and the snapper had a nice texture that felt like the fish was melting in your month. The tamago was sweet and delicate and provided a nice finish to the chirashi. I also liked the hints of red chili pepper sprinkled at the side to give you a different kick other than the wasabi.
I also wanted to try some ceviche. Ceviche is a way of cooking food by soaking it in acid like lemon juice or vinegar. The acid cooks the raw meat and you get a nice distinct flavor. I had some of Nikkei’s Green Ceviche, which was white fish and octopus with a wasabi cilantro sauce forming the green component. It had a good amount of heat that really hit the spot. The textures and flavors of the Ceviche was well balanced and the interplay between cilantro and wasabi felt natural.
To finish, I had some Guergueros, which are Peruvian churros served with sesame ice cream and condensed milk. At the end of the day, any kind of attempt churros for me would still have to compete with the hallowed Dulcinea dessert, and the Nikkei version felt slightly on the gummy side and did not have the crispness of Dulcinea churros.
It was a good experience overall and I felt that you got your money’s worth. Rada seems to be shaping up as the new foodie central. Now someone please pick me up or send me a wheelchair because I can barely walk.