Monday, January 22, 2007

Restaurant Review

Samoerai Japans Restaurant
Willem Ogierplaats 2-3
2000 Antwerpen

What a great place to take the girls! Dinners in Antwerp can extend for three hours, far too long for most children to sit still and stay at the table. BUT, throw in a little theatre, with teppan-yaki cooking right at your table, and two little girls will sit up and take notice.

Samoerai is a nice walk from our neighborhood, past the Grote Markt and around a little corner to the riverfront, just short of the Steen castle. We walked in and immediately the wait staff started to fuss over our girls, asking if they were Chinese, if they were twins (several of the staff asked that...the girls are at least six inches apart in height, but oh well!), and one staff member asked JieJie "ni jiao shenme mingzi?" (what is your name?).

We have a place at home called Kyoto that does teppan-yaki and sushi, but Samoerai felt fancier. We were taken to a teppan-yaki table and given bright kimonos to wear. It seems the kimonos help the chefs know who is in what group, a clever touch. Our tempura appetizers came in little boats with the sauce at one end, and one of the pieces of tempura was crispy noodles arranged like a little fan. I'd never seen that before. We ordered shrimp and noodles for the girls, and theirs was cooked first (parents appreciate that stuff!). Our dinners had shrimp, salmon, a white trout-like fish, and beef tenderloin, plus noodles. It was all cooked perfectly, with nice sauces on top to provide the finishing touch.

A waitress brought the girls lollipops to enjoy while the adults had the last meat course, and JieJie and MeiMei also visited the koi pond near our table a few times. Just when I would worry about them getting squirmy, huge flames would burst forth from one of the nearby tables--nothing like fire to get one's attention!

The ultimate was dessert, especially the presentation. Dessert is an ice cream sundae with some fruit alongside (kiwi, melon, a spiced pear, etc) which is no big deal BUT it comes in a little dish that is resting in a larger goblet. In the goblet is a cube of dry ice, so when the ice cream arrives, cold fog is spurting out all around the dessert, and it's quite the effect! One boy at another table was having a birthday, and his dessert had the fog AND a couple of sparklers in it as well. JieJie declared that she wants to have her fifth birthday there in March.

Good thing they'd had a nap yesterday afternoon, because it was 10:30 by the time we got home! We praised them over and over for their excellent behavior at the restaurant. If we can limit the amount of 3-hour dinners they have to endure, and choose them wisely, I think they'll have good memories of dining out in this wonderful city.

Agenda for today: The Stroller has a flat front left tire, so it's off to the Meir to find a pump. Let's hope that it just went flat and there's no hole in the tire, otherwise we'll have to take it in to be repaired.

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