If you’ve read any of my passion blogs from last semester you would know that I had lived in Japan for a good number of years when I was young. Of all of the countries that I’ve ever been to, I think I may have enjoyed Japan the most. Not that I want to be Japanese, no but just the country itself is just extremely enjoyable. Clean, polite and simple, these three words describe a majority of what Japan is like, including the food.
Japanese food is definitely my favorite, there’s something about the simplicity of the cuisine. A Japanese style dish would have less than 5 ingredients and each component plays a critical part. There’s usually not an insane amount of oil and I usually walk away from a meal feeling good about my well being.
So one of the first things I did when I first moved to State College was exploring around to find a good Japanese inspired restaurant.
AND WITH THAT, allow me to introduce our three contestants for today.
THE JAPANESE SHOWDOWN
1. Tadashi – Noodle bar
206 W College Avenue, State College
I became obsessed with visiting this place when I first found out it opened back in January. Growing up with good ramen, I was so insanely excited when I found out that an “authentic” Japanese Ramen shop was opening within walking distance. I’ll get to my review of the food and restaurant during the actual show down.
2. Maki Yaki – Japanese Cuisine
407 E Beaver Avenue, State College
Sushi, noodles and a variety of “authentic” japanese fast foods, Maki Yaki is one of those places that you go to on a whim. I spent the first couple of months at Penn State almost depressed that I can’t find a sushi place, so out of desperation I decided to walk to Maki Yaki for “sushi.” You’ll read about why there’s quotations around that word later.
3. Okinawa II Japanese Restaurant
450 E College Ave State College, PA 16801
I first heard about this place from an alumni who had told me how much he liked the place when he went to school here. However, that was either a VERY long time ago or I went to the wrong place. Let this blog post be a public service announcement, if you enjoy japanese food, nay if you enjoy eating in general, DO NOT COME HERE.
In first place we have
1. Yummy Cafe! – Let me be frank, NONE OF THESE ARE TRULY AUTHENTIC and Yummy Cafe and Tadashi were neck and neck.
The one reason Yummy Cafe won over Tadashi was because the food was less disappointing. The cafe itself is small and out of place, with scrambled setting that always looks like its about to move. The food is the saving point though, the chef (who i got to speak to) said that he grew up in Japan and cooked asian food all his life. Over all I’d say give Yummy Cafe a try if you’re in the area, other wise just go to chipotle.
In Second place we have
2. Tadashi Noodle Bar
Honestly I feel bad about the review I’m about to give to Tadashi. The restaurant isn’t bad at all, I promise, but I came with sky high expectation and it disappointed that entirely. With that said, I think everyone should come to this resturant at least once, more for how the place looks than anything else. The aesthetics are AMAZING, coming from someone that has lived in Japan for a number of years, Tadashi looks 98% authentic. However, regardless of how much I love the look of the restaurant, the food was SO DISAPPOINTING. First of all, $11 for a bowl of ramen is never acceptable. Ramen is suppose to be cheap, everyone knows that. More importantly, it didn’t taste good…it tasted edible but either too salty or completely bland. Still, its a really fun place to go on a date or to impress an asian friend. (Oh and before I forget, appetizers here are actually fairly tasty.) Tadashi would have totally won this showdown if I didn’t have such high expectation.
3. Okinawa II Japanese Restaurant
DON’T, for the love of god DON’T come here if you like good food. The things that I do for this blog, seriously…I have never eaten such bad food, and I’m pretty sure it made me sick.. The restaurant is definitely on my blacklist now. The food wasn’t fresh, what they pass for sushi is, dare I say it EVEN WORST THAN BUFFET SUSHI. Sushi is my favorite food, if you mess with it, you mess with me. Over priced, disgusting and seriously just bad. I repeat, do not come here if you value food.
Next time we take a look at..dare I say it..Fast food..(ugh)
Till then, Chow on.