Tasty Thursday: Japanese BBQ at Sakana

Korean BBQ is awesome!  I cannot rave enough about the grill-your-own-goodness that we sampled on a trip to Chicago last year!  One of my top five meals ever with my family, not just for flavor, but also for fun and nearly peeing our pants giggles.  We have STORIES from that restaurant trip. Not just stories, but the family stories of legend — the ones that get rehearsed and retold again and again.

Japanese BBQI’d yet to find that grill-your-own Korean BBQ experience here in the Twin Cities.  To which I say, “Sad pandas!”

So, I was delighted when my sister texted and asked if we’d want to try Japanese BBQ.  Sakana, an Asian bistro restaurant in Plymouth, which we frequent on occasion, just started doing this instead of the hibachi menu.

Of course, we want to go! Sign us up please!

And, so on Halloween, we went and were the only white folks in the BBQ area. I love it when that happens!  Seriously.

Anyways, so much fun. It’s an event, not just a meal. Oh, so tasty.  You should go, at least once. I’ll stop shoulding you now.

Fair warnings:  it’s a planned outing, since it’s not quite cheap. Typically you order things a la carte — an order of this kind of meat, an order of veggies, etc. You can order preset combinations, but none of those really appealed to me in terms of content and price.

In ordering a la carte, things add up quickly, particularly if you hate making restrictive decisions, which is why I also recommend going with groups who like to share and pass things round the table.  Plus, that kind of group is just more fun. Seriously. This is the kind of experience community gets built upon.

Sakana plays it safe with meats on the printed menu; nothing scary or unrecognizable here, the most out there thing was pork belly. In other words, no beef tongue or tripe like we ate in Chicago.  Beef tongue is actually pretty tasty; tripe ends up rubbery like calamari if you cook it too long.

Also, if everyone in your group is afraid of handling raw meat, this is not for you. It  J and I BBQhelps to have one or two people unafraid of grilling in your group. Twin Cities friends, if you’re skittish, but still want to try it, give J and I a shout. He’d be happy to be your grill master, and he’s good at it.

Amy dug the flavor of the kalbi short ribs; the flavor was intensely delicious in ways that I don’t even know how to describe, but I couldn’t get over the gristly texture.  I dug the garlic shrimp and the ribeye.  The kalbi marinade is fabulous; I might try it on the brisket the next time we go. The orders come with kimchi and other refillable side dishes. For those afraid of kimchi’s spiciness, theirs was pretty mild.

So, Sakana is not as awesome as the hole-in-the-wall place in Chicago.  Though, to be honest, part of the delightfulness of Chicago was having my dad, brother and sister-in-law there; we have fun together.

But, Sakana is still fun and tasty, and as close to the experience of grill-your-own-tasty-goodness we had in Chicago that I’m going to find here in the Twin Cities at this point.

All that to say, we’ll definitely be back again sometime — though not till we’ve worked it into our budget again.

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