Dake Japanese Fusion Restaurant caught my attention right away as Dake means only in Japanese, so the restaurant’s name does not really make sense. For someone without any Japanese language background, Dake might be pronounced as day-ker, but it is actually pronounced as dar-kay.
I was eager to try out the latest (one and only) teppanyaki restaurant in KW.
Teppanyaki is 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. In Japan, teppanyaki refers to dishes cooked using an iron plate, including steak and shrimp. The originator of the teppanyaki-style steakhouse is the Japanese restaurant chain Misono, which introduced the concept of cooking Western-influenced food on a teppan in Japan in 1945.They soon found the cuisine was less popular with the Japanese than it was with foreigners, who enjoyed both watching the skilled maneuvers of the chefs preparing the food as well as the cuisine itself, which is somewhat more familiar than more traditional Japanese dishes. As the restaurants became popular at tourist spots with non-Japanese, the chain increased the performance aspect of the chef’s preparation, such as stacking onion slices to produce a flaming onion volcano.
HUGE – could have been a school gym. Dake also offers a proportionately humongous menu. Disappointingly, there were only two small teppanyaki corners.
Customers will sit around the chef while he incorporates hilarious tricks into the preparation of your meal.
We surveyed the menu before deciding to go for the teppanyaki or sushi. I like how the menu was generous with photos of their maki rolls, and you can also find more photos on their facebook page. I commend the variety and thought put into creating 59 maki rolls, but it was too much too scary. Here are some of the weirdest ones on their menu:
- Cambridge/ Kitchener/ Waterloo roll
- South Beach/ Las Vegas/ On-the-border roll
- Crazy/ Tiger’s eye roll
- Volcano/ Firecracker/ Titan roll
- White Christmas/ Sundae roll
- Cherry/Strawberry roll
The only roll I had was an eye roll.
Non-traditional? Sure. Fusion? Might be interesting. However, such strange innovation might be an indicator of a restaurant trying to overcompensate for their lack of quality food.
I’d like to compare this to deep fried foods at carnivals.
A: “Let’s give these people donuts”
B: “Hmm, deep fried dough might not be satisfying enough…”
A: “Deep fried oreos? Who can resist fried cookies!’
B: “Hmm, doesn’t sound that exciting…”
A: “Deep fried chocolate bars? Everyone loves a fried mars bar!”
B: “Sounds interesting, but we really need an attention grabbing item…”
A: “I know! Deep fried butter! It will be so popular!”
B: “Genius! Pure genius!”
So here comes my little rant. I do not understand why some Japanese restaurants have such weird rolls. Would you normally eat a block of cream cheese with your rice? If not, why would you order the Philadelphia roll with smoked salmon and a huge chunk of cream cheese in it? Heeeeellllooooo, we are not having a bagel here. Would you order some miso soup and sashimi at Timmies?!
Point of the story – we decided to skip all those funky rolls and go for the teppanyaki.
Y and I were lucky enough to get seats without reservation. The teppanyaki corners were packed while barely anybody was having sushi at the other side of the restaurant. Poor sushi chefs were twiddling their thumbs throughout the evening while the teppanyaki chefs worked up a sweat.
On the Table for Maple:
- Yakiniku – Thin slice of NY striploin with teriyaki sauce ($19.95)
- Choice of three – Chicken breast, 6 scallops and 6 shrimps ($29.95)
All teppanyaki meals are served with soup, salad, stir-fry vegetables and steamed rice.
Soup was too salty for me, but Y loved it. He even ate the mushrooms!
Salad was crisp and fresh. I enjoyed the dressing and crispy bits on the salads.
Then it was the highly anticipated performance by Dake’s head chef. Since teppanyaki is simply stir-fry, the price you pay generally reflects the visual experience and entertainment the chef will provide.
Oil heart to start.
Act #1- some juggling with his spatula.
Act #2 – Bouncing eggs around before cracking them onto the hot plate.
There were four eggs to be cracked. Chef missed first egg, got the second and third egg, but missed the last one again. The fourth egg was sent flying straight at my left cheek but thankfully, it did not crack on me. It bounced off my face onto the floor. It was an ouch-moment for me, but probably a very embarrassing one for the chef. I was more amused than annoyed.
You can upgrade the steamed rice to fried rice for $1.
To apologize for flinging an egg right at my face, chef gave me some free fried rice. Yey.
Act #3 – Toss the bowl of rice around without dropping a single grain of rice
Next, the proteins were up for grilling. Ginger & mustard sauces are provided for dipping. I barely used them though. The chef was generous with his usage of salt and sauce while cooking so the food were well seasoned.
Act #4 – Onion volcano flame!
Oh my favourite act. I guess this trick never fails to impress.
Looked as though the chef is on fire!
Seafood was cooked to perfection. The scallops were our favourite. It was large and juicy.
Chicken breast and beef.
Chicken breast chunks were slightly dry. Yakiniku was beef chunks, not the thinly sliced beef as described on the menu. It was nicely done to medium rare though, rather delicious.
Closing Act – Throwing bowls of fire into his hat
I highly recommend reservations to avoid disappointment since there are only about 30 seats available for the unique teppanyaki experience. It was a highly entertaining night despite being hit by an egg. With tip, the bill totaled to approximately $70.
Oh point to note – they charge $2 for a cup of green tea. I am willing to pay for my cup of tea at a cafe or any other restaurant. However, charging for tea in a Japanese restaurant is simply unreasonable.
Will I go for their 59 types of rolls? Maybe not.
Will I return for their highly skilled chefs’ teppanyaki performance? Definitely.
1) $$$ price for a stir fry dinner
2) Classy and spacious for sushi section, but too crowded for teppanyaki section
3) Entertainment factor 100%
4) Seafood was delicious, chicken was too dry