Monday, September 8, 2008

Restaurant Review - Kitaro Bistro of Japan

Kitaro Bistro of Japan
4551 Highway KO'Fallon, MO 63368

We went to Kitaro on a picture taking mission for my work. We did the seating for the place and wanted to see how it turned out. The outdoor facade is spectacular to pull up to, considering the place anchors a stripmall in the burbiest of suburbs. It's all glass and steel with ever changing colored lights washing the front. It definitely makes a statement that the Maggie Moo's next door does not. The interior was nice, with sleek black booths, light woods and a large sushi bar topped with some fantastic architectural beams and cables elements. The space felt very large from the high ceilings and all the glass. There was a good amount of wood to keep things more organic. The restaurant also offers hibachi service, but we opted for regular dining room seating. First off, the service was mediocre. The restaurant was not full and we still waited quite a while for our drinks. Service is lacking at most restaurants these days so I shouldn't be surprised. Everyone but me decided to order sushi and a small appetizer as their meal while I chose an actual entree. Jeff chose the tenderloin wrapped asparagus, which was delicious although a bit meager. My sister ordered fried gyoza, which I am a huge fan of thanks to Trader Joe's, and they were also delicious. I usually get mine steamed but the frying added a nice texture to the soft pork filling. My brother-in-law got the seaweed salad, which is actually not listed on the menu but available nonetheless. Everyone agreed the apps were very good, but nothing extraordinary.
The sushi arrived in a giant wooden boat, which was hilarious to me for some reason. Every time someone would move it to get a piece, I would make that hee-YAW noise that tugboats make. It got old quickly, I assure you. We had a mix of tuna, sea bass and squid maki, all of which were fresh tasting. They also ordered a shrimp tempura roll, a spicy crab and one native to the restaurant that had a chicken tender as the filling. The shrimp was standard but good and the chicken roll was actually very good. It was not overpowered by the chicken, which brought a delicious yet unusual element of meaty crunch. The main disappointment was the fact that the crab was artificial, which is only acceptable if your sushi is coming from the grocery store, not from a self professed Japanese bistro. My entree was miso baked monk fish with scallops tempura and a citrus butter sauce. The fish was very good except that the texture was more like mahi mahi and not monk fish. The miso coating was very strong and overpowered the citrus sauce, but the dish was still very tasty. I could have done without the scallops because they lacked in flavor other than the fried taste of the tempura batter.
I would go back to try a few other entrees as the majority of them sounded absolutely delicious. On a scale of 1-5, I'll give it a 3.5. I was happy with my meal for the most part but there were definitely areas open for improvement.


LM said...

That would be quite valuable, welcome information if I ever planned on driving all the way to O'Fallon for dinner. Which I can pretty much promise will never happen. Unless I'm eating at Laura/Brother's, in which case it's technically St. Peters and there's no fake crabmeat in that house.

Gwen said...

I like these reviews! I'm with LM, though, I can't see any reason for me to go west of 270.