Visited 23 May, 2016.
A very casual yet non-pretentiously elegant Japanese restaurant operating out of a historic house in the heart of Phoenix. I was quite worried about this restaurant week choice given my seafood allergy. My server immediately put me at ease when she mentioned to me that she had noted it and would have no problem making sure that everything was okay for me to eat.
C began the meal with an order (an add on) of house cured salmon. She said that it was good except that she did not care for the almonds in combination with the cheese and salmon; once she removed those, she was quite happy with the dish.
Hassun was the name of the first course, Japanese vegetable antipasto. Mine had cauliflower, eggplant, and brussels sprouts; all very carefully prepared and arranged beautifully. I found them all quite acceptable for vegetables that are not among my favorites. C had one yellow tail sashimi with the vegetables (mine had a few more pieces of vegetables).
Bento boxes were the second course. Meat for me; this was a salad, rice, and three meat dishes. The ox tail was fall of the bone tender, very rich, and flavorful; the chicken was nicely prepared accompanied by slightly pickled vegetables and topped with a deviled egg salad; the pork belly steam bun was the winner of the trio; very flavorful, tender, bun was beautiful silky texture and the added crunch of the vegetables was a delightful contrast. There was a bit more food than I could finish. C had the seafood bento with the same salad but rice dressed differently (hers had some dried shrimp where mine had some crisp thin vegetables slivers). The three seafood dishes were salmon, soft shell crab salad, and a yellow tail sashimi. C said they were all good.
Finally, the dessert round. C ordered something that I no longer recall which they were out of; they brought her a cake of some kind (orange) with a cream cheese and rhubarb topping. (It was odd that they did not come out and ask to let C choose what to sub.) I chose the strawberry tart. I found the cake interesting but not my cup of tea as orange is not one of my favorite flavors. The tart had good flavor but was very odd in that the filling was soupy and the crust was quite tough.
The service was mostly great. There were two shortfalls; they lost track of C’s original drink order and had to be reminded and then the dessert substitution without consultation. I felt the serve was very knowledgeable and helpful; she carefully explained each dish as it came out. In fact, when they initially gave me the wrong rice (dried shrimp version) with my bento box; as she opened the box to serve me, she immediately noted the problem and sent it back to the kitchen. It was replaced by a chef very quickly who apologized stating that it was entirely his fault.
It was very enjoyable, the food presentation was every thing that you would expect from a carefully prepared Japanese meal, and the atmosphere was very pleasant.