Fayetteville, AR - Meiji Japanese Cuisine Food Review
Meiji Japanese Cuisine
3878 N Crossover Road Suite 8, Fayetteville, AR 72703
Best in NWA.
As many of you know sushi is my kryptonite, and when it comes to really great sushi I am totally powerless to its sirens like call. And finding really good to excellent quality sushi in the NWA and NEO areas is sometimes a daunting task to say the least. But when you find such a place, you need to make sure to spread the word.
Well that is what I am here to do today, which is to spread the word! And those that follow me know that I can be very hard on dining establishments that do not follow through on things like customer service, taste, overall food quality and such factors. So when I have the opportunity to find a restaurant that truly takes pride in what they do, and how they do it, it brings me great joy to let others know so that they too can enjoy a great moment of food nirvana.
I recently got to interact with Darwin, the owner and chef of Meiji (pronounced 'may'gee) in Fayetteville. One of my facebook users told me about their grand opening, so I got in contact with him so that I could help promote that grand opening. And I have to tell you, just in that short amount of time in talking with Darwin he impressed me greatly.
Darwin worked at Kobe in Fayetteville for 3 years and prior to that studied and practiced the art of sushi making at Siki in Kansas City for 2 years. And what really amazes me about Darwin is his commitment to fresh ingredients, quality standards and keeping the pricing competitive to what is out there on the market right now. And it is this mind set that sets him apart from the majority of those other sushi places out there now.
He goes so far as to fly in his ingredients fresh, yes you heard me correct, he flies them in fresh. Not frozen, like many of the other places around town. And I tell you what folks, this makes a HUGE difference in taste when you are talking about sushi and sashimi. Fresh versus frozen is such a huge thing in the restaurant world, and I can not tell you how many times I have been somewhere and they swear the ingredients are fresh and when you press them harder you find out they were actually frozen. You can tell a difference in the taste and in the texture of the fish when it is fresh.
And in talking to him further, he informed me of his plans to broaden his range of fresh fish offerings and I am very excited about some of the more exotic offerings he will provide his customers which is in addition to the common offerings that you would find elsewhere (but just not as fresh from those other places mind you!).
Fresh ingredients such as; flounder, scallops, red albacore, snapper, tuna, crab, sea bass and more. This is what makes the eating experience there true food nirvana.
When you walk in the seating is very cozy, and the decorations are so warm and inviting. This is definitely a place where you could easily go and pass away and hour and a half without even knowing that the time has passed. Seating is around 45 or so people, so again it is cozy but it is NOT cramped.
They also have a projector that plays old "samurai" movies on an inside wall, which puts this establishment over the top in my opinion. It really does add to the ambiance and overall feel of the place. The restrooms were immaculate and for those of you that know me, you know I ding dining establishments hard when their restroom facilities do not pass muster.
Now on to the really important part, the food! But I do not want to forget to mention something very important here. Darwin creates his sauces from scratch. That's right! He does not use bought in sauces, he makes them from scratch, every single sauce. And you can tell the difference quickly! In addition, for those of you that like wasabi, when you go in there ask him for his "house wasabi" because I doubt you have had anything as good as this wasabi. And I love good wasabi, and let me tell you this from first hand experience, there is a HUGE difference in wasabi from a jar and what Darwin serves at his restaurant! Night and day.
I sampled the Crab Rangoon which to stress again, utilized all fresh ingredients. No artificial crab here at all, its the real deal. It came with a made from scratch lemon sauce which was the perfect accent to the Crab Rangoon. I could have eaten these all night long!
I also tried the Gyoza, which is a pan fried dumpling made from a family recipe of Darwins. And I am here to tell you these dumplings were to die for!
In addition I tried the Smoke Cash roll, which consisted of; cream cheese, avocado, spicy crab topped with smoked salmon and baked, covered in spicy mayo and eel sauce. This roll was excellent!
I also had a Lava roll, which consisted of; fried eel, daikon sprouts, crab stick and jalapeno topped with spicy tuna, tempura flakes and a sweet onion sauce. Again, this was another definite hit!
If you get the chance you should also try the Green Goddess. This roll consisted of; shrimp tempura topped with homemade guacamole, and assortment of sauces, tempura flakes and scallions. This was another winner in my opinion.
I also tried their Chirashi, which is an assortment of fish atop a bed of sushi rice. The presentation of this dish was spot on, and I just can not say enough about the freshness of the fish. I think by now you are seeing a reoccurring theme in my description of these dishes, and that is the freshness of the ingredients.
The salad was very fresh and contained edible flowers. And in my opinion the star of the show was the dressing, and yes this is another one that is hand made by Darwin and his staff, no out of the jar condiments here! The dressing had this wonderful nutty flavor to it and I in fact found myself asking for a side of the dressing.
I also tried several of the soups, and everything I had was top notch!
Now to dessert. Darwin has some wonderful sorbet choices and if you were not amazed yet by the "freshness factor" that I have discussed so far, well hold on to your hats folks! Darwin takes the fresh ingredients for his sorbets to a local company and has them actually create the sorbet for him. That's right, this is fresh (to the letter of the word) sorbet. And the flavors are magnificent to say the least. I sampled the Plum, Orange Blossom and Fuji Apple sorbets. And I have to say that I would reorder any of these, but my favorite had to be the Plum Sorbet.
They also have a great selection of saki if you are so inclined, and Darwin has informed me that he will be broadening even further his saki offerings soon.
So in summary here it is. If you are a lover of great Japanese Cuisine and Sushi, this has got to be a destination for you! Once you have sampled the food, and tasted the quality and freshness of the ingredients you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else that can provide that same level of taste, quality and freshness so consistently.
And if you are someone that has never tried Sushi, but has thought about giving it a try. Please, do NOT go anywhere else but here. Because if you go somewhere else, you most likely will not get a true appreciation of what GREAT sushi is all about.