Lunch meetings usually mean business. But on this occasion, I was dining/meeting with a science gal who likes beer and food just as much as I do. Knowing about my blog and food enthusiasm, she encouraged me to pick a spot somewhere between our offices and I threw out a few different options for her to pick. Thankfully, she picked Tenhachi, a quirky Japanese resto tucked away in an out of place Shaugnessy Bed and Breakfast tower/motel on West 12th. I'd been wanting to try this place out for AGES, based on its seeming weirdness, and some interesting online reviews I'd read.
The restaurant is non-descript, in a high-rise apartment meets B and B tower. There is a folding billboard sign on the sidewalk advertising its location. Enter through the building's front door and walk boldly through the lobby into Tenhachi. At 12noon, I was the sole customer in the restaurant, waiting for my dining companion. I found myself wondering- Where am I and what year is this? The decor is retro meets bizarre, with brick walls, mirrored pillars, port-hole windows, a fish tank window and a backyard patio/grotto with fountains.
I ordered a one of their Teishuku lunch combos. For $11.95, I had Grilled Mackerel, with a kobachi side dish, a tsukemono pickled veg dish, pickles, a bowl of steamed rice and a bowl of miso soup. I was so impressed with my meal. The presentation was beautiful and colourful and so different from my typical work week lunch (a pita pocket sandwich). The portions were perfect and I loved the variation of flavours. It felt like a reasonably healthy, well-balanced meal. I loved the crispy skin on my fish which was light and o-so-slightly oiled with a lightly seasoned flavour. Watch out for bones! The pickled veggie salad was fresh and bright, the kobachi side dish was a soy tofu veggie dish that was good but not stand out. I loved the little tray on the right- one half was a pickled/smoked salmon (not sure?) and japanese pickles that looked like black licorice. The miso soup is stand out awesome....it has a fuller body than your typical miso soup and is a heartier.
My dining partner order a Teishuku lunch combo with Grilled Salmon for $11.95 and LOVED it. She totally fell for this place and had already started planning future visits since it is extremely close to her office.
They charge for green tea- but it is stand out delicious and one of the best pots of green tea I've had in the city.
Tenhachi is a bit of a hidden gem with delicious food and a quirky, homey feel. From the bizarre location, quirky-retro decor, and daily specials on flash cards, this place is tacky but o so yummy. This place is unique and delicious, a great place to get Japanese food that isn't just standard sushi fare.
PS. I recently stumbled across their Facebook page which is full of food photos and daily/monthly specials.