Saturday, July 28, 2018

Testing New Menu Items at Tajima Mercury

Last winter, I reviewed the local chain Tajima, a ramen bar serving up Japanese specialties around San Diego.  Each location has a slightly different menu, but all have the tasty ramen for which Tajima is famous. Last time, we visited the Normal Heights/University Heights location, and slurped up big bowls of ramen in the cold weather. 
 For this visit, we were invited to check out the sushi offerings at the Kearny Mesa - Mercury location, and try out their new menu items. 

The difference in decor and menu is prominent in each location. The Normal Heights location is small and cozy, whereas the Kearny Mesa - Mercury location is large, airy, and much more open.  
The Mercury location has the most extensive menu of all of the Tajimas, with okonomiyaki, sushi, and of course, ramen.


 We started with my favorite sushi appetizer, tuna tataki, which is seared tuna served with ponzu sauce. This dish is always good, but it was extra special with the quality of the seared tuna and the presentation. The bitter watercress was a perfect flavor against the salty ponzu sauce, and it was almost too pretty to eat! Of course, I trudged on and ate it, for research, of course. 
 One of the new menu items is the Asian chicken salad. It is huge and more than enough for dinner, or great for sharing with the table (not literally, I mean other dinner guests). 
Fresh greens and vegetables are accompanied by squares of mandarin oranges, sliced, seasoned chicken, and topped with crunchy noodles and tangy yuzu dressing. It was so crunchy and fresh, and just a great light bite. The salad is a perfect summer dinner to keep on track for the beach without sacrificing flavor. 
 It was time for sushi! I love a good crunchy roll, with bits of tempura tossed on the top for texture and flavor. The Crunchy Dragon roll was so good with shrimp tempura, kanikama, cucumber, gobo and kaiware. The fish was fresh, and the eel sauce made it very flavorful and was used sparingly to not drown the roll. 
 The star of the meal was one of the new menu items, (drumroll) the DO YOU WAGYU? roll. Wagyu beef is the American answer to Kobe beef, since Kobe beef must come from Kobe, Japan. I've had the real deal in Kyoto (so long ago, sigh), and I would say that Wagyu is pretty darn close to Kobe. Obviously, there are a few variances given climate, environment, etc., but Wagyu cows are treated to the same methods as Kobe to achieve the same flavor and tenderness of beef.
I would never have thought to put Wagyu beef on a sushi roll, but it works so well! The beef is seared, then layered atop a roll of kanikama and asparagus, wrapped in soy paper and panko-fried. The beef is then topped with a slice of jalapeno and fresh greens. The flavor was outstanding, and no soy sauce was needed for this roll, with so much other flavor going on. 

The new menu items as well as the large menu for which it is known. 
July 28, 2018 / by / 0 Comments
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