A Taste of Zanmai!

By on October 7, 2013

Zanmai will take your breath away. Its spare, soaring interior, with 35 foot ceilings and tall walls of windows facing the Tulsa skyline, and its uncluttered decor are quintessentially Japanese (think shibui) yet also speak a universal language. Howard Roark would have approved. It’s probably the most noteworthy new restaurant of 2013. But don’t go. At least not yet. They’re offering only part of the menu. The most intriguing dishes — USDA Prime dry-aged steaks (from the same St. Louis supplier that serves Prhyme) and gourmet fish and seafood offerings such as Chilean sea bass with yuzu dressing and black cod with miso sauce — those will be rolled out over the weeks to come. Right now it’s only sushi and teppanyaki. Also, the restaurant isn’t officially open. They’re not prepared for huge crowds and if every seat is full then service might suffer. So I won’t make my official visit and write my official review for another week or three. Still, Dustyn loves teppanyaki and I couldn’t resist taking a peek. Here’s a glimpse, a teaser to whet your appetite until my full review comes out.

Zanmai Exterior

Teppanyaki, which is also sometimes called hibachi, even on Zanmai’s menu, was invented in Japan just after World War II. That and sushi are Japan’s biggest culinary contributions to the rest of the world. The chef cooks over a flat iron griddle right next to your table. It’s a flashy art and they try to put on a good show. Showmanship aside, it’s not that easy to do. On one episode of Top Chef Masters, the contestants, some of them famous American chefs, had to cook on one, and they failed miserably. They burned the food, or undercooked parts of it. It takes training and experience. Our chef, Toshi, had both. He’s been doing teppanyaki for 28 years, both here and in Japan. (He also was chef at a French restaurant in Japan.)

Zanmai Cooking
First, he cooked our vegetables and fried rice.

Zanmai Vegetables

Then he prepared the meat. We ordered filet mignon.

Zanmai Cooking

He cooked the steaks, seasoned them, cut them into strips and then cubes. He also cooked a few shrimp for us, and I got them all since thankfully Dustyn doesn’t like shrimp.

ZanmaiFilet

It was delicious!!! So good I didn’t even bother to use the two dipping sauces provided. (Ginger and mustard. Dustyn loved ‘em.) I’d tell you a lot more… but this is just a taste.

Zanmai
1402 S. Peoria
556-0200
Teppanyaki dinners, which include soup, salad, shrimp and ice cream dessert, run from $17 for chicken and $18 for the cheapest steak to $26 for filet, $35 for lobster and $45 for dry-aged steak.
http://zanmaiok.com/

Brian Schwartz: Author

Born in NYC, age 0, on my birthday. College in Oxford at age 16. Law School in New Haven, Conn. 6 years travel in Africa and Asia. Haven’t done much lately. Still, I’m the only Tulsa member of the little-known Omega Society.  www.theomegasociety.com

I speak enough Chinese to order food not on any English menu. Spanish French Italian too (not fluently but food-ently) My favorite restaurant is Jean-Georges in New York. But those NYC chefs would sell their soul to get the produce available from the farms around Inola.

“A writer writes alone. His words tumble forth from a magical inner void that is mysterious even to himself, and that no one else can enter.” And yet, the most important thing to me the writer is YOU. Without you to hear them, my words are worth less than silence.

Brian Schwartz

About Brian Schwartz

Born in NYC, age 0, on my birthday. College in Oxford at age 16. Law School in New Haven, Conn. 6 years travel in Africa and Asia. Haven’t done much lately. Still, I’m the only Tulsa member of the little-known Omega Society. www.theomegasociety.com I speak enough Chinese to order food not on any English menu. Spanish French Italian too (not fluently but food-ently) My favorite restaurant is Jean-Georges in New York. But those NYC chefs would sell their soul to get the produce available from the farms around Inola. “A writer writes alone. His words tumble forth from a magical inner void that is mysterious even to himself, and that no one else can enter.” And yet, the most important thing to me the writer is YOU. Without you to hear them, my words are worth less than silence.

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