Niwa Japanese BBQ
2939 Main St.
Dallas, TX 75226
The owner, Jimmy, came and greeted us after we were seated. He, along with another waitress, took care of us the entire meal. We all felt so honored that he personally took care of our table and introduced all the dishes. He basically told us that he was just going to send out a bunch of things he thinks we should try. He also asked if we were adventurous eaters, and YES! We are! :D (Note: a lot of these dishes are reduced portions since we were trying so many things, but the prices I'm posting are for the full portions on the menu.)
We started with some drinks...
(On the left) The Hummingbird (tropical citrus, Benedictine, hand crafted grenadine, Hum liquer, Hayman's Royal Dock Gin, house bitters; served over ice) $15~ @basicbrunches said it was good, and strong, I think.
(On the right) Okinawa Ice-Tea (passion fruit, cloudy apple, citrus, cold-brewed green tea; shaken) $8~ Both drinks were cute. The tea was a little tart for my taste but quite refreshing.
Hot Genmai Tea $3~ I decided to stick with my standard hot tea. :)
Spicy Edamame (with chili threads) $5~ I really enjoyed this. This is the first time I've had edamame with sauce on it and it's delicious! It's not really spicy but it had so much flavor. A solid starter to get your appetite going.
Niwa Salad (green cabbage, radish, corn, carrot, tomato, hard-boiled egg, roasted sesame dressing) $7~ This was my favorite out of the 2 salads. I think it was mostly because of the sesame dressing and corn. The dressing was slightly creamy and I loved all the flavors of the elements together.
Wafu Salad (seasonal greens, cucumbers, arare, daikon, Japanese wafu dressing) $7~ My two friends liked this one better. I mean, I liked this too, but I liked the other better. hehe. I always eat my greens! The arare (crispy rice balls) were a nice touch on top for some crunch.
Buta Kakuni (braised pork belly, ginger, mustard, ajitama egg) $9~
Jimmy had asked if we specifically wanted anything from the menu and this is the first thing I asked for. I freaking love braised pork belly. That egg on top was great. Perfectly soft boiled and had lots of flavor. The pork belly was tender and fatty, just the way it's supposed to be. I really wanted a bowl of rice to go with this and it would just totally bring back childhood memories. The only thing is that there was something in there that was a little too sweet. I think it was the mustard greens, I can't be sure. But that threw me off a little.
Horenso No Goma Ae (sesame seed cold spinach) $5~
I got really excited when we got served this dish. You don't typically see this in Dallas... at least I don't know where to get it. The only time I've seen it was in Japan, and also a Japanese restaurant in Brooklyn that served a traditional Japanese set meal. The sesame gave it a nice nuttiness. Loves it!
Spanish Octopus (fingerling potatoes, aji amarillo, shiso coulis, sudachi aoili, nasturtium leaves) $12~
We found out this dish is actually not on the menu. The kitchen prepped it just for us. And it was one of our favorite dishes of the night. Gorgeous colors. The char on the octopus was fantastic. And it was super tender... None of that typical octopus chewiness. I also loved all the various flavors of the different sauces. It was a bold dish, and very well rounded. Hopefully with all the rave reviews, they'll actually put it on the menu?
Sweet Butter Corn (soy butter) $5~
This was kinda fun. It was served in a foil pack and placed on the grill to heat up. Once the bag puffs up a little, the waitress came to empty it into a bowl. Such a simple dish... it's just corn. But you can definitely taste the butter and it goes so well with the steamed rice.
Ribeye, NY Strip, Hanger, Beef Belly, Berkshire Pork Sausage.
We got a sampler platter with a bunch of different meats. I remember the belly was my favorite. It was so thinly sliced and the strip of fat adds so much flavor. The other meats were marinated. The hanger was the most tender if I remember correctly. But I loved the marinade on the ribeye. The pork sausage was just like a hot dog. A mini one. hehe.
Filet Mignon (cherry wood smoked, butter) $12~ Very cool presentation. It comes in a covered bowl to keep the smoke in to flavor the meat. We all had our cameras out to video when he pulled off the lid. hehe. You get just a hint of the cherry wood. It wasn't overwelming at all.
Beef Tongue (shallots, green onions, garlic, lemon) $10~
I love beef tongue. It was a first for @basicbrunches and it took some getting used to. haha. I don't think I've had tongue in such big slices before. You can basically see the sections/muscles of the tongue! TMI? :P It's delicious! It wasn't the most tender beef tongue I've had but I enjoyed the texture. It was also served with a sesame oil/salt/pepper mixture to dip in since this wasn't marinated.
A Miso Soup Intermission... :P
Outside Skirt (miso marinade) $10~ and Short Rib (karubi marinade) $10~
These were Happy Hour portions. HH Pick 2 Meats is $11~ Their happy hour specials are pretty killer y'all. So if you can go M-F between 2-6PM, you are getting a really good deal. I loved the flavor of the skirt cut. The short rib was a little tough. But by this time we were all getting really full so I wonder if the enjoyability was diminishing too. haha.
Berkshire Pork Jowl (with housemade Yuzu Kosho) $11~
Yuzu Kosho is a paste typically made from chili peppers, yuzu peel, and salt. They made theirs in house and it was done with Thai chilis. That means it's got a kick to it! Loved the combo. And seriously... any cheek or jowl on any animal or fish is the most tender. Trust me.
We were finally winding down. Oooooof. So full! But we haven't had the Pièce De Résistance... the Wagyu!
We got to compare the American vs Japanese Wagyu. Can you guess which is which??
Texas Wagyu (Chuck Flap; 2 oz.) $18~ From A-N Ranch in Sherman, TX. It had beautiful marbling and color but sliced thinly, you can't really appreciate the quality. It was not soft like butter... but was still tasty.
A-5 Japanese Wagyu (NY Strip) $47~ From Miyazaki, Japan. OMG. This is the real deal. We lightly seared it on each side and it basically melted in my mouth. Didn't even need sauce or anything, just wanted to cherish the pure beefy goodness. It was amazing, and was perfect to end our wonderful meal. Guy and girls, take note, if you want to impress your date, get this! It's foodgasmic!
We were down for the count. But of course they sent out desserts. Deep breath! We can do this!!
Panna Cotta (Madagascar vanilla, yuzu strawberry coulis, chilled raspberries and a matcha sugar).
Beautiful presentation. The panna cotta was soooo jiggly! We had fun with some videos of that. hehe. So light but you still definitely get the vanilla flavor. I'd say eat this one first if you get multiple desserts just because the flavors are so delicate. I think this just edged out as my favorite of the night.
Semi-Freddo Cheesecake (Lemon cheesecake, ginger blueberry compote, lemon curd and a graham crumble). It's like a super rich cheesecake ice cream. Again, beautiful plating. If I wasn't so full I would've killed it. But it's quite rich so I finally gave up. haha.
Coffee Jelly (Full City Rooster's Guatemalan coffee, sweet cream, hazelnut powder and candied almonds).
This was very interesting. It tasted just like a tiramisu. But the texture of the jello threw me off. It's a very light dessert. The flavor makes me want a denser cake or something instead of the light jello. But then again, I tend to gravitate towards more decadent and rich desserts anyways. This is @catchows's favorite.
What a fantastic meal. We expanded @basicbrunches' culinary horizon and sent her off properly. Thank you so much to Jimmy and the Niwa team for taking such great care of us. I highly recommend checking them out. The Happy Hour specials are a great way to try it without spending the big bucks. Or just go all out if you want to impress someone. And this is a great place for a date... they have suction vents right at the rim of the grill so all the cooking smoke gets sucked in. So you don't smell like you've just been standing next to a smoke grill. haha.
Also, I wanted to mention a series of Sake tasting events they are currently hosting. The first 2 have passed but there are 2 more!! July 23rd and August 6th. Sake Nights. They feature 5-7 sakes for each date. Every date has different ones so the point is to go to all of them to try it all. Plus you get this cool booklet to document your notes from your tastings. Sounds like a fun event with friends!
*The meal was comped but all opinions are my own.*
Quality of Food:
~~ CHOMP CHOMP ~~