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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Steak N' Chicks Tuesday #11

If you're on stage and people throw food at you, it's called 'heckling'.
If you're at summer camp and people throw food at you, it's called 'food fight'.
If you're at Steak N' Chicks Tuesday and people throw food at you, it's called 'Teppanyaki'.

In icy rain, nipple-hardeningly cold weather and an official Sydney cyclone warning (which turned out to be a Category Two Breeze), a bunch of swish broads descended upon North Sydney for this month's Steak N' Chicks Tuesday.

19th June 2007 – Shinju Teppanyaki, Berry St North Sydney

The Place
This joint ain't half cultured n' that. I suspect that when it was being fitted out, the owner just handed the builder a copy of The Vapors' album and said "Track Two". To get to the main Teppanyaki Temple, one is led by a kimono-ed hostess past a tasteful and quiet bar, across an indoor bridge (over which we insisted on walking as if on a Fashion Week catwalk), and artfully-designed rocks into a black-lacquer, bamboo-ey room of typical Japanese comfortable sparsity. Like, everything's really rectangular, y'know?
A clutch of large teppanyaki grill stations dominate the room, emanating their gratefully-received heat and less-gratefully-received promise of food-related humiliation. And the plates were nice.
The toilets were, unfortunately, a different story. I asked a quiet hostess where they were, and she bowed her head and directed me with a subtle and polite hand gesture. She could just as easily have said "Follow the white rabbit down the burrow until you smell armpit". Two short corridors and a steep flight of echo-ey stairs get you to the bathroom, seemingly furnished from Crazy Dave's Tired Old Plumbing Supplies, and I think Crazy Dave threw in a can of Rugby League Air Freshener. Nup.
Amanda advised that the boys' toilet had much nicer toilet paper than the girls' toilet. She's such a freakin' huss.

The People
Alyson organised this month's culinary shenanigans, and anyone who can get eight chicks out of the house in unglamorous temperatures is indeed a Girl Of Social Talent. Also present were tireless regulars Claire, Alex and myself, consistent attendees Lucette and Amanda, and virgins Kelly (a virgin in the ways of both Steak N Chicks and teppanyaki, so immediately challenged to eat a prawn head) and Nikki.

Other diners included what looked like family and work groups, none of whom were a match for our decibel-heavy repartee, facilitated by a few warm-up drinks at The Firehouse on Walker St beforehand.
Staff were easily placed in two categories: Quiet, Dignified and Polite (the wait-staff), and Smutty, Smutty, and Not Very Good At Throwing (our grill-man, Rici).
Yes, a teppanyaki chef should be entertaining and charismatic. He should not, at every possible opportunity, direct the table's attention towards a diner's boobs or arse. Doesn't matter how funny it is. And it's pretty funny.

The Food
Good teppanyaki is flavoursome, crispy 'round the edges, deep in saucy brownness and of the kind that shouts "Hello, Lucky Tongue!".
This was not good teppanyaki. It was, y'know - fine. It was not good.
We went (except for Claire, who opted for the vego menu) for the Osaka Set Menu for $32 a head, which consisted of:
Salad – which was 100% fat-free. It was also 100% salad-free, as it never actually arrived on the table.
Miso Soup – Miso is miso is miso, and this was some. Not bad.
Prawns – Quite nice, and actually full of flavour. Unfortunately some of that flavour came from the pooh-tube that had been left in mine, despite Rici's artful knifey removal-theatrics.
Vego Tofu – this was part of Claire's menu, and Rici deftly cut a big block of the stuff into smaller blocks which, really, anyone with a blunt knife and a trained monkey can do. Carnivores who were still hungry after their single prawn were offered a piece of tofu by Claire, who found herself with around sixteen pieces of it. It was nice - but it was still tofu.
Fish – disappointing. Pale and flabby, with not much flavour.
Beef – After slabbing half a cow on the grill and slicing it up, we expected grandness and received blandness. I'll throw some points on the board for the mouth-melting tenderness, but the flavour gets one-and-a-half disgruntled bovines.
Vegetables – by "vegetables", I apparently mean "onion and cabbage", which also means "keep the bedroom window open". I never, ever say this, but: more salt, please.
Chicken – oh, okay. Delicious.
Vego Vegetables – Claire's special veg consisted of baby corn and mushrooms, which tasted exactly like two different vegetables in like, sauce.
Eggy Rice – everybody knows that this is the throwy-catchy bit of the Teppanyaki Experience (more detail below), and all I'll say is that for the entertaining, hilarious trauma we suffered through to get it, we really should have been rewarded with more than bowls full of anaemic, tasteless glug. It was, again, sort of okay. It was… there.

The Show
Oh, Rici. You're so fine. You're so fine you make suggestive comments about food and body parts. Phnar!
I'm not sure if Rici had a bung throwing arm, or if he was just intentionally getting food all over us and the floor so we'd keep wiping ourselves off and bending over. At any rate, I learnt, the hard way, to never wear a suede skirt to Teppanyaki again.
· Eggs balancing on end on the grill. I know they do this at every Teppanyaki restaurant, but it still looks cool. I wish I didn't always imagine that there was a chick inside, wondering why its arse was suddenly getting hot.
· Whenever we were required to catch something in our bowls, Rici would shout "Open your legs, please! More wider, more better!". Rici. You randy goat.
· When my egg landed squarely on the aforementioned suede, Rici said "Take it off – I'll clean it for you". Rici. You horny bastard.

· Rici asked Claire to close her eyes and open her mouth. Repeatedly. He then, without actually throwing any food into her mouth, just thanked her and went about his business. Rici. You saucy devil.
· Rici asked Nikki to sit backwards on her chair, then he asked me to spoon rice down the back of her top. Rici. You sneaky arsehole.
· Nikki caught an egg in her crotch.
· Rici asked Alex to stand up, move back, turn around, bend over, and hold out her bowl between her legs. In what then became Teriyaki Porn, he shouted things like "I'm coming!", "Don't shake or I can't get it in!", and "Wider!" before throwing egg and rice all over her. Alex, gastronomically showered, said quietly "That was the lowest point in my life".
· Rather than the traditional "Thank You", Rici spelt out "Rici's Angel" in salt at the end of the meal, illustrating it with twee lovehearts and an angel. Rici. You tacky motherf*cker.

The Summarising Bit
Teppanyaki is nothing if not entertaining, and we laughed until we hurt. I've definitely had better food before, though, and if I have to open my legs and mouth that wide, I usually expect a bit more.
Don't wear anything dry-cleanable, and bring your own salt.

1 comment:

missy vas said...

The last time I went to Teppanyaki, I was sitting across from a girl that I despised, and it was funny when her suede skirt got covered in egg. Yours... not so much... vxx