calamari
Having been doing this Foodies thing for the better part of four years, you would think that we would have tasted and visited every type of cuisine that the wonderful city of Worcester has to offer. However, come to find out that I was wrong. We had never done a hibachi style Japanese restaurant! This month’s iteration of Foodies brings us to Takara Japanese Seafood, Steakhouse and Sushi Bar. Located at the corner of Millbury Street and Kelley Square is a small, four flattop grill hibachi restaurant with additional seating and a well-appointed bar.

Our group of 15 patrons occupied the better portion of half the restaurant as we conversed and pondered our dinner decisions. When drinks were ordered and conversations have been had, we decided to order a couple of appetizers to whet our appetite. We decided on the crab rangoons ($4.50 for 5) and the dynamite sushi roll ($12.99). The crab rangoons were fried to a deep, golden brown and the crab filling was smooth and flavorful. You usually can’t go wrong with a classic. As for the sushi roll, it included tempura shrimp, avocado, tobiko roll with spicy tuna on top. This roll was almost a meal in and of itself. It had great texture from the tempura, while still allowing the fish to shine, and the spicy mayo brought just enough heat to your taste buds.

For my main course, I ordered the hibachi calamari ($14.95). As with every hibachi meal, we started things off with a basic salad covered in ginger dressing. The salad itself is nothing to write home about, but the ginger dressing is amazingly tangy and fresh. The meals also came with a small helping of miso soup. With a simple broth and vegetables like onions and mushrooms floating around, this is essentially the Japanese equivalent of chicken noodle soup on a cold day.

Finally, we were ready for the main course…each dinner came with a choice of steamed or chicken fried rice and sautéed zucchini and onion. Seasoned well with salt, pepper and a generous helping of soy sauce, the vegetables were tender and fresh. I am always a fan of calamari (in any form), but particularly at hibachi restaurants. There is just something about how it’s cooked on the flat top, the speed in which it is cooked and the tenderness that the calamari gets as a result of this cooking method. This squid was no different. My calamari was cooked perfectly. It was tender with just enough bite to it to give it great texture and mouth feel. If you overcook calamari, it can get to be very rubber band-like and as a result, be a very off-putting experience for any dinner.

The portions are very hefty and if you do not have a large appetite, you could very easily bring half of your meal home at the end of the night. But having fully realized the magnitude of the amount of food that was just consumed, you are able to kick back and relax while you enjoy your company or share some fried ice cream…if you have any room left!

Christmas shopping for fine art collectibles and inspiration at Vaillancourt Folk Art in Sutton, MA