Ziki Japanese Steak House
Dec 08, 2010 08:55PM ● Published by Anonymous
Working under the tutelage of her father and mother in the ensuing years, Kelly Lam, along with her two brothers, thought it was time to fly on their own and in late-2009 opened Ziki’s second upscale restaurant in the Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole. In keeping with the flair of the traditional Japanese cuisine and family traditions, they have created a very regal environment; something I would consider “a notch above” most hibachi-style restaurants.
Of note is that “hibachi” is a bit of a misnomer when describing Japanese steakhouses. Hibachi translates to “fire bowl” and in Japan refers to a container for charcoal over which food can be cooked. The style of cooking we commonly call hibachi is actually traditional teppanyaki—a style of Japanese cuisine that uses an iron griddle to cook food. The word teppanyaki is derived from teppan, which means “iron plate,” and yaki, which means “grilled, broiled, or pan-fried.”
Nevertheless, the hibachi stations (as we call them) at Ziki are gracefully placed, unobtrusive to the modern look of the restaurant. A long bar that I envision as an elegant “sushi sports bar” gently wraps the perimeter of several dining tables. A large flat-screen television diffuses the focus on the sushi station; however the two chefs are ready and willing to please you with their culinary expertise on display. Japanese ornaments and sculpture complement the entire décor, with earth-rich tones. Besides the hibachi stations, sushi is one of the main focal points on the menu, which offers a large selection of sashimi, nigiri, and maki rolls, from sampler- to party-platters. We sat at a regular table and while waiting for our sushi, warmed up with a hot, delicious miso shiru soup; it’s wonderful soybean broth garnished with seaweed shards and tofu chunks. The perfect starter.
It was a very chilly and damp night outside, so we continued to warm ourselves with hot green tea. I am a huge fan of green tea and this cup called the attention of my taste buds with a slight nutty taste. Curious, I asked our server Jason what was the origin of this tea, particularly its taste profile. He explained the tea is freshly brewed, but to erase the slight bitterness of the leaves, brown rice is added to the process. With a light twist of lemon, it was absolutely perfect. Ready for our appetizers, we were served our California roll (made with real blue crab) and shrimp tempura roll; each extremely well prepared, very attractive, and delicious. The special flair to the shrimp tempura was that the entire roll was lightly battered and quickly deep fried, which warmed it, accentuating the flavors. Proceeding to our entrees, we ordered the hibachi New York strip steak paired with shrimp and the chicken and shrimp selection. Both were succulent. The meats and shrimp were plump, juicy, and well seasoned. The accompanying vegetables add a wonderful crunch, with a gentle hint of sesame oil. A very noticeable aspect was the quality of the product itself. From meat to vegetable, the freshness made a difference. A delectable fried rice complemented our entrees.
We let the chef treat us to dessert and what a surprise; a deep fried cheese cake! It was far beyond my expectation and perhaps something that would never have crossed my mind. But what a great idea. The dessert was very lightly dipped in tempura, deep fried, and served with freshly whipped cream. It was out of this world, nice and warm, creamy and light, and simply delicious. Kudos!
The wine list at Ziki is modest in size but appropriate to Japanese flavors. I found it very original with good selections and balanced variety, and featuring quality wines, priced competitively. Jason, our waiter, was on point with fantastic service. Kelly, the owner, wrapped our great experience in a wonderful touch of welcoming hospitality.
When to Enjoy:
Mon.–Thur., 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m.
Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–11 p.m.
Sun., 12–10 p.m.
Expect to Pay:
Appetizers, salads, soups: $3–9
Sushi appetizers, entrees: $4–26
Sushi party platters: $71–82
Hibachi entrees: $14–33
Wine by the glass/bottle: $6–11/$22–145
Gilles Syglowski is a certified executive chef, certified culinary instructor, and a food service consultant. He is a graduate from the Lycee d’Enseignement Professionel Hotelier in Metz, France. He is currently the Assistant General Manager of the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. Mr. Syglowski has more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry.