Beef Tataki at Izakaya in Ottawa
For many years, one of my favorite restaurants in Ottawa was Big Daddy’s on Elgin Street. I was sad to see it go, but it ended up being replaced by the Izakaya Japanese Restaurant, which was every bit as good. Unfortunately, it only lasted a couple of years and I didn’t get to enjoy more than a couple of meals there before it closed its doors too. One dish they did particularly well was their appetizer serving of Beef Tataki.
I have already given a general introduction to the Tataki technique in my Basic Beef Tataki Recipe, so I won’t repeat it here, save to remark that the Izakaya version, like mine, is a Sashimi-style presentation in which thin slices are taken from a much larger, fairly thick piece of seared beef. In other styles, the Tataki is a small, very thin piece of meat which is first seared, with the whole cut then being served in slices. An illustration of this style is the Beef Tataki at Sushi Nami.
Now, the version I was served at Izakaya was served with a sauce they described as a ‘Sweet Soy Mirin’ and it was served on the side rather than beneath the slices as I did it with my Ponzu style accompaniment. The little salad on the side was composed of shredded daikon and carrot and was not particularly remarkable as such things go, but it did add some interest to the dish as a whole. The only other significant difference between their production and mine was the addition of crisp-fried shallot and garlic sprinkled over the slices. This was a pretty nice embellishment actually as the textural contrast was very pleasant.
And… the comparison with my own in overall quality?
Well, Izakaya, I have to say, had me beat hands down in terms of presentation as their plate looked so much more interesting than mine. As far as the beef itself, however, I think mine had a slight edge as I luckily happened to select a cut that turned out to be very good indeed. Theirs was grilled very expertly, though, and I don’t think mine was quite as good in that regard. In any event, I enjoyed this little appetizer very much and was very glad to see somebody else’s interpretation and plating.