One of the first things I do upon moving to a new town is try to find my go-to Chinese take out restaurant. Sadly, it has proved more difficult than usual in Columbia, but I have found nicer sit-down Asian places to visit. So far my favorite is Tsunami, which is in the Vista. On my first visit I tried warm, kiwi-flavored Sake (something that I strongly recommend sharing with friends if you want any chance of getting home safely. (Don’t worry, my friend ordered it and I just had a sip because, goodness knows, I can’t hold my liquor.) During that visit I also decided to order a couple sushi rolls rather than a main course while everyone else ordered more filling meals. One of our friends is Jain and cannot eat anything requiring the death of another organism and he ordered fried cheese and spinach rolls of which I was quite envious.

One a side note, the atmosphere of Tsunami is pretty cool. I am a big fan of using bold colors on walls and decorating with art that ads motion to the room. The picture to the right is kind of dark, but from what I could tell it was pieces of wood painted the same dark red of the wall over a semi-opaque white background that was back lit to create shadows and emphasis. Either way, I was really impressed with it, especially with the blue-ish lights hung in contrast to them.

Having seen a variety of the foods on the menu during my first visit, this time I knew better than to order two rolls of sushi. This time I wised up and ordered the Fired Cheese and Spinach roles as an appetizer and the Teriyaki Chicken Hibachi grill as my main course. Normally I don’t order meat at restaurants if I can help it, especially if it is covered in sauce because I have a sneaking suspicion that the meat is pretty low quality in such dishes. My boyfriend vouched for the quality of the meat, however, so my concern diminished slightly and I decided to order it anyway.

So we started with very light, bust still satisfyingly greasy fried cheese and spinach rolls. Rather than being breaded, they were wrapped in wonton wrappers, and they are the best cheese sticks I’ve ever had. The spinach makes them an even less-guilty guilty pleasure. I would highly recommend splurging on this appetizer. Also, I bet I could replicate these at home since wonton wrappers are widely available at grocery stores in the produce section. I’ll go out on a limb here and say if you just steam some spinach (or even thaw some frozen spinach, I suppose) and place a thing layer of it in with the mozzarella cheese, roll them up, cover with an egg wash or just oil (I’ll have to try both and see what works) and bake at a high temperature for a few minutes on each side, you’d probably have a pretty tasty and fairly healthy version of this delectable treat. Check back soon for a full post on an attempt at this make-at-home recipe.

The Hibachi Grill came with the option of miso soup or a salad. I opted for the soup since my throat is getting a little scratchy as the weather begins to turn colder. It was too salty for my taste, but then again, so is most miso soup. I did however, enjoy the big pieces of nori (seaweed) onion, and tofu.

Normally when you go to an American hibachi grill, you get to watch them prepare the food in front of you. This is not one of those places, but the amount of food served on the plate is impressive and delicious! Also, the service is quite prompt, even on a busy night which is rare in the Vista and greatly appreciated. I cannot say that the chicken was as good as I had hoped, but the teriyaki sauce was a perfect mix of sweet and savory and the vegetables were fantastic! I’m rather partial to zucchini and onions cooked in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper and the vegetables seemed to be precisely that. Amazing! It felt like a meal that transitioned perfectly between the warm and comfort of soups and heavy meats sought out during the winter and the dwindling tastes of summer squash. It was a meal that perfectly fit with the weather and it was quite a nice way to spend the evening.

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