Salmon & Tuna Sashimi
There's a very basic rule for eating regional cuisines: if you want the good stuff, go where the people from that region eat. And in BF Homes, one of the places where you'll almost always find a Japanese customer is Tatsunoko, formerly known as Bento-Ya. With its plain exterior and very simple sign, this little restaurant along El Grande can be easy to miss, yet I've found that it has a whole coterie of regulars.
As our dining-out trips almost always take us in the direction of Phase I, Cat and I had never tried this place before. It was time to remedy the oversight -- particularly as Tatsunoko has been reviewed very favorably before by other food writers. Its claim to fame is in preparing Japanese food exactly the way the Japanese themselves like it, even including dishes in its menu that are not often found in Japanese restaurants catering more to the Filipino taste (for example, the rather pungent natto).
Today Cat and I made arrangements for a late lunch/shoot, trying out the Negima (chicken barbecue with leeks), Oroshi Soba, Agedashi Tofu, and a plate of Salmon and Tuna Sashimi. I'm almost tempted to say the photos already declare everything I want to say about the food, but I have to put down words or this isn't a proper food blog. If I could use just one word, it would be: Oishii!!! Delicious!
The Salmon and Tuna Sashimi were very fresh, the cuts served to us all flesh/muscle with none of the tough ligament you sometimes get with lesser-grade sashimi. For its listed price (a mere PHP 200.00), I'd say this sashimi is a steal. Next came the Oroshi Soba, buckwheat noodles in chilled stock that's served in Japan as a refreshing summer treat. And refreshing this soba was, as well as very tasty. The noodles had a nice nutty flavor, and the sauce it was served in zesty with ginger, radish, and leeks, plus a nice crunch from the tenkatsu crumbs sprinkled on top. Cat says she thinks she can understand why the Japanese expats in the neighborhood choose to eat here: the food is made with a delicate touch that's very Japanese, the fresh natural flavors of the ingredients enhanced rather than covered up.
The Agedashi Tofu was also very good. I love tofu, and I ask for it almost every time we eat Japanese. This tofu was very nicely made -- crisp outside, silky-creamy-soft inside, in a leek-and-soy sauce that was, again, so delicate in flavor you can taste every ingredient in it. The dish served last was the Negima, basically a yakitori with chunks of negi, leeks, threaded alternately with the chicken. The best yakitori is made with the juicier thigh, not the breast, and Tatsunoko's was as juicy and tender as I've ever had. Cat's a big fan of dark meat, so she was very happy with hers. Again, a nice very light flavor.
Conclusion: As this restaurant is actually on my way home when I'm coming from Lopez, I strongly suspect I'll be stopping here a lot more often from now on.