Last night we went to Sukiyaki Inn on Bernard Street downtown Spokane. I walked past several times, usually because we have parked downtown for an event at the Convention Center or Riverfront Park, but never ventured inside before. From the outside it kinda looks more like a bar than a restaurant, but the Sukiyaki Inn is very much a restaurant and I was excited to eat Japanese food, as I personally have a bit of a love for all things Japanese.
We entered and were asked where we would like to sit, which I thought was a little strange. (You know, usually a hostess will say, "Right this way," and then they lead you to a table?) I was confused at this and so the hostess asked if we would like a table, to sit at the counter or in our own room where we take off our shoes and sit on the floor. I picked the room, meanwhile, as we were walking to our "room." Geo was wondering what was wrong with a table.
(This was feeling very Japanese.)
We removed our shoes in the little hallway outside of our door and entered the Ayame room.
One thing I like about eating Japanese style is the little cubical concept. It is nice to have your own little space and not eat with the whole crowd around you. Unlike the Moroccan restaurant, where you really DO eat sitting on the floor, here the table is low and you do ppear to be sitting"on the floor" but there is a well beneath the table where your feet can go. It is nice because it is very much like sitting on the floor and yet you are comfortable as in a chair.
Many things about this restaurant seemed run-down and in some ways it looked like it could use updating. The table in our room was even a bit wobbly. Even though it was this way, everything seemed clean and tidy and there was certainly no lack of Japanese hospitality, as we felt very welcomed and honored as guests, even paying guests. I was very surprised to hear that this restaurant had been here in Spokane, at this location, for over 60 years and in that regard I felt we were eating at some kind of Spokane landmark!
We ordered the Dinner for Two- with Teriyaki and Sukiyaki. It came with Osumashi soup, Japanese style salad, rice & tea.
The first thing our waitress brought was the soup and salad. It was a simple soup with mostly broth and a few noodles and it was very nice. The Japanese salad was three separate small bowls for each of us, one containing a pickled cucumber medley, one with seasoned bean sprouts and one with a couple of pieces of raw vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower and carrot) in a bit of some kind of salad dressing.
When we ordered the Sukiyaki, Geo asked Nori, (our waitress) for some specifics of what "sukiyaki" is like. She pointed to another area of the dinner menu that gave a better explanation. She also told us it is a very traditional Japanese dish and that sometimes non-Japanese people who order it, do not really like it. We were pretty sure that we would, (since we like oriental food in general and because our Japanese student who visited with us made it for us before) so we ordered it.
I would describe the sukiyaki as a roast-like beef dish, this one came with unique noodles, (actually rice noodles,) lots of onions, cabages and tofu and lots of sauce. The teriyaki was also very good, and garnished with edible pretties. Our tea, a green tea, was served after the meal.
This restaurant also cooks things at your table and serves a veriety of seafood items as well as has a sushi bar which can be ordered from a separate type of menu.
Walking downtown, I realized there are a lot of retaurants in this city and happily a lot of flavors of the world. I am so glad that tonight we got to eat not only Japanese food, but Japanese food, japanese style.