I purchased a couple of Kenobi deals on-line (Living Social or Groupon...I forgot which) so that I can try out some of the interesting dishes listed on their menu. Because the menu looked like Kenobi was trying to (or just copying) approach some dishes like Uchi, and the pricing is a little bit more affordable, especially with the online deal, I went ahead and bought 2 deals.
I couldn't wait to try all the interesting dishes on the menu and ended up visiting Kenobi twice in one month!
I started with some cold dishes (tuna carpaccio and tako) and was impressed by the quality of the seafood. The tuna carpaccio was bursting with citrusy and garlic flavors, and the fried onions gave each bite of tuna a nice crunch.
The Kobe beef hibachi was a painful $13 for six teensy slices, but those were the most tender bits of beef I've ever had. This is so much better than wagyu beef served at other establishments like Uchi. As expensive as it is, I still recommend trying this dish at least once.
Kobe Beef Hibachi
Kobe Beef Hibachi
Kenobi has a long list of creative makimonos, and I felt that I must try at least one roll on my first visit. The Scuba Diver had all the seafood I like in one roll (soft shell crab, salmon, and tuna). It was tasty, but the sushi rice is too mushy. This made the texture of the raw fish blend in with the rice, which was not the most pleasant feeling. I prefer to taste the difference between each ingredient, especially the more expensive ingredients in a dish.
I didn't bother with an entree, seeing how inexpensive the fried whole fish is ($11!!!!!!!!!!!!). The chef made around 10 slits on each side of the fish and inserted large slices of ginger, fried the fish, and arranged lemon slices on top. This dish is awesome! After devouring the entire fish, my dining partner and I decided to forgo dessert and come back in another week.
Ginger & Citrus Whole Fish with Ponzu
After an awesome first visit, my dining companion and I did not hold back on ordering beyond the gift certificate I bought online.
The smoked hamachi, again very fresh and tasty, but the parmesan cheese made no sense. This was exactly how I felt about Uchi's maguro sashimi and goat cheese. I prefer crunchy and refreshing accoutrements to sashimi over soft and heavy or overpowering textures and flavors.
Smoked Hamachi - with ponzu sauce, parmesan cheese, cilantro, jalapenos, and smoked sea salt
Pork jowl or cheeks have a tight and sinewy texture. It's a dish that you don't come by often at restaurants, so I had to try it out. The goat cheese in this dish complements the pork much better than the parmesan with the hamachi, because the flavor of the braised pork is heavy and can't be overpowered by the cheese and the tight and fleshy texture can carry the creaminess of the cheese (the cheese with sashimi slides around awkwardly in your mouth). This dish is like a carnivore's candied apple with pecans.
Braised Pork Jowl - with green apples, goat cheese, candied pecans, chive oil, and sweet asian spice soy
Underwhelmed by the Scuba Diver roll I ordered last time, I decided to give Kenobi's makimono another shot. We ordered the Louisiana roll and the Surf and Turf roll. The Louisiana roll was topped with soft shell crawfish, which was super delicious, but the Surf and Turf roll was over-the-top luxurious a slice of raw Kobe beef on top of each slice of makimono! The Surf and Turf was has a special smoky flavor that makes this roll a stand-out. I did not notice the mushy-ness of the sushi rice this time, but perhaps it's because these two rolls don't have raw fish, and so the soft texture was not as prominent.
Louisiana Roll - spicy crab and shrimp, avocado, soft shell crawfish, spicy pepper paste, eel sauce, green onions
Surf and Turf Roll - kani kama and asparagus with seared kobe beef on top, in soy paper, spicy mayo, ginger yakitori sauce
Next came the miso bass, which is good, but not particularly creative or different from the miso cod you can order at other Japanese restuarants.
Miso Chilean Sea Bass - with grilled bok choy and sauteed oyster mushrooms
The seafood curry rice was addictively good. The server cracked an egg into the hot bowl and mixed everything together in front of us.
Seafood Curry Rice
We were full by the time we asked the waiter to box up the rest of the seafood curry rice, but once he mentioned green tea tiramisu, I forgot that I was already full. I can't resist green tea anything, and this was no exception. :-)