Wasabi rocks (and the food’s good too)
By Rachel Birdsell
TFW Contributing Writer
Meiji Japanese Cuisine
3878 N Crossover Road
I’d heard rumors about Meiji being a great Japanese restaurant, but I just recently decided to try it out. It’s a tiny place that sits in the strip mall just north of Joyce on the east side of Crossover.
Food for Thought
I am not a sushi eater. I’ve really tried, but sushi is just something that doesn’t sit well on my tongue. I’ve had people tell me I just haven’t had the right kind of sushi. Pffft. If you can find me some sushi that tastes like a medium-rare, grilled steak, I’ll change my mind.
After filtering out the vast number of sushi offerings, I opted for the steak teriyaki lunch special. It comes with your choice of soup or salad, grilled veggies and steamed rice. For around $2 more you can upgrade to fried rice, which is what I did.
When they brought out my plate, the first thing I noticed was that the lunch portion would never be described as generous. It was right for the price, but if you’re a big, burly dude you’ll need to order something a little more substantial.
The salad was like a typical out-of-the-bag salad, but the dressing was delicious.
The steak was also really good. It had a little too much sauce for me, but it was very tender and had a lot of flavor. The grilled onions, mushrooms and zucchini were also pretty darn tasty. I happen to be a huge fan of fried rice, and this rice didn’t disappoint. It was the best thing on my plate.
My dining partner is a sushi person, and he reported the sushi at Meiji was excellent. I’ll take his word for it. I can say that it was presented beautifully. He also had the seaweed salad, which was gorgeous, but I think that seaweed salad tastes like fish butt. He disagreed and said it was very fresh and tasty.
Can we talk about the wasabi now? My sushi eating friend mixed the wasabi with a little of the soy sauce, and when he took his first bite he made a noise of satisfaction that almost made me blush. I fully expected him to need a cigarette afterwards, and he’s not a smoker. He let me taste some of the wasabi, and I immediately knew why he made the noise he did. It was awesomely amazing. You must try it.
Atmosphere: 4.3 cool, smooth stainless steel sporks
The decor is very minimal at Meiji. It’s also very intimate, which makes for a great date night, but then again, it’s pretty small so you’ll also be intimate with the table next to you. But, there’s nothing wrong with a great big Japanese love-in, is there?
Food: 4.3 wasabi flavored sporks that have tiny flames on the tines
Go there for the wasabi. Actually, the sushi is supposed to be some of the best in NWA, so if you’re a sushi eater I think you’ll be pretty happy with Meiji.
Staff: 4.9 sporks that are running at full speed (yes, sporks can run)
Our poor waitress was taking care of the entire restaurant by herself and the place was packed. She did a great job.
Dollars spent: My lunch was about $8, which included a cup of hot tea. Their lunch specials are all around $6 or $7, and the dinner entrees are in the $15 range.
Chance of returning: You know why I’ll go back? The wasabi. I know it seems odd to keep gushing about a condiment, but it’s amazing stuff. They add a secret ingredient to it, and that ingredient is a giant spoonful of awesome. In fact, I think a plate of their shrimp fried rice with a little wasabi on it would be perfect right now.
If you know of a great eating place, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll check it out and let you know what I think.