Wednesday, September 7, 2016

First Bite: Ogawa

I always see Ogawa’s signage whenever I pass by Fort Strip. Though it piqued my interest, I was never motivated enough to dine there. But I guess the food gods want me to give it a try a few weeks ago when I had a failed attempt to visit Izakaya Sensu and Chotto Matte (which was still closed to the public). Since we were already there, R suggested that we just dine wherever I haven’t been to yet and I figured it’s time to visit Ogawa. 

Hello, Ogawa!
The place is located on the second floor of the building with Modern Sichuan on the ground floor. The building is equipped with a lift for those who are carrying a lot or are not fond of stairs. 
We were greeted by nice Japanese style garden with stone bridge and a friendly hostess who asked us if we made reservations. After saying no, she asked if we would be okay with bar seats as all other tables have been reserved that night. The first thing that came to mind was, “Wow, this place is in demand on a rainy Sunday night.”
The place was half empty when we entered but all tables were indeed reserved. Guests poured in after 15 to 20 minutes and most were Japanese. It made my expectations shoot up.
We quickly took our seats and ordered two bento meals—Teppan Gozen (PHP760) and Ryo Goku Gozen (PHP590).
While waiting, we were given some refreshing pickled seaweed which R quickly finished. 
He was also given an extra serving when the staff saw him trying to finish the small bits left in his bowl.
R’s order arrived soon after and it was huge! It sure made me regret ordering my own bento meal. 

The Teppan Gozen came with an appetizer, salad, salmon, prawns and 120 grams of US rib-eye steak, fried rice, miso soup and fresh fruits. 
The steak cubes were soft and succulent and went so well with the Japanese fried rice. Make sure you get garlic bits with every bite for extra flavor. The prawns were undeniably fresh given its texture. The salmon was pretty good as well. Dashing it with some lemon juice made it even more delightful. (R said that the salmon had an after taste though but I was too busy munching on the bean sprouts after every bite of salmon and prawns.)

My bento came with a two layer lunch box. The lunch box contains three kinds of sashimituna, kani and salmon, sushi roll, more pickled seaweed, tempura and rice. On the side were chawan mushi, gindara teriyaki, miso soup and fresh fruits. I must admit, I was overwhelmed when it arrived. 
The slightly crisp tempura was your usual breaded shrimp and pumpkin. It was slightly on the bland side making it a good complement to the gindara teriyaki which was richer in taste. I slurp my miso soup in between dishes and it sure kept me warm. 

The sushi roll was nothing outstanding and sadly, same was true with tuna and kani sashimi. In fact, the tuna sashimi was not fresh. *insert sad face here* At least the salmon sashimi was above average. 

We ended our meals with smiles on our faces though as the fruits were sweet. It would have been better though if we had more fruits. 

After a while, we asked for our bill and we were surprised that our meals were more expensive than what we remember. Apparently, the prices on the menu are VAT exclusive. Oh well, the damage was done.

Overall, I’d still give this place 4 stars (round up from 3.5) as service was great. They gave R an extra serving of seaweed when they saw him trying his best to wipe his small bowl clean. They also allowed us to have our fresh salmon be stored inside their fridge to keep it from spoiling. They also refill our glasses without prompting them. 

Ogawa is located at 2nd Floor, Modern Sichuan/Ogawa building, 28th Street corner 5th Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Ogawa Traditional Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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