It's all happening in Deep Ellum. Including Japanese BBQ. Called "Yakiniku" in Japanese, "yaki" translates to "grill" and "niku" means "meat".
So, Japanese BBQ!
This was only my second time to experience a concept like this, the first was 15 years ago in LA in a much pickier time in my life, so needless to say, this was like experiencing a whole new thing. Even better - our evening at Niwa was among friends - which is a super fun way to experience it. More people to help me cook is always a good thing. ;)
The menu at Niwa is divided into a few sections: shareables, salads, noodle dishes, veggies, seafood, and meats. Be sure not to miss the daily specials, with constantly changing delicious delicacies like Spanish Octopus or A-5 Japanese Wagyu beef. The cocktail/wine menu features an array of sakes, Japanese whiskeys, and cocktails with delicate ingredients like lavendar blosson honey and handcrafted Yuzu cordial.
For the table, start with an order of edamame tossed in a fragrant spicy garlic sauce. A crowd pleaser!
Fish lovers will salivate over the Hamachi Crudo - yellowtail with white ponzu, berries, herb oil, topped with cilantro.
The Spanish Octopus was a special of the day, a beautiful savory ring of fingerling potatoes, roasted tomatoes, aji amarillo, sudachi aioli, shiso coulis, and nasturtium leaves all dance with the charred octopus.
Karaage came with Japanese pickled cucumbers and garlic aioli dipping sauce.
Note: don't fill up on all the starters because the meat party has so much to offer! With cuts of chicken thigh, chicken breast, pork belly and pork sausage, to alllll of the beef offerings, you are in for a treat, as long as you listen to the cooking times and prepare them the way the tender cuts of meat deserve.
On the daily specials featured menu alone there were 5 additional cuts of Wagyu beed: Texas Wagyu, Texas Wagyu Chuck Flap, Colorado Wagyu eye of ribeye (One of my favorites), and the star of the show, the A-5 Japanese Wagyu NY Strip - like butter, but it's beef.
My advice? Go heavy on the daily features, you'll find stuff there you've likely not tried before, and you can always come back and order off the regular menu. Truly, you can't go wrong, steak-wise, when dining at Niwa. Check out this Wagyu sampler platter!
Though there wasn't much room left, we did indulge in many bites of the Cheesecake Semifreddo and Raspberry Pannacotta. (Okay, we finished them both, stop judging me).
With light desserts like these, you almost have to say yes, even after you've stuffed yourself to the gills with all the delicious meats!
Niwa is open 7 days a week: Monday through Thursday from 4p to 10p, Friday & Saturday from 11a to 11p, and Sunday from 11a to 9p.
2939 Main St
Dallas, TX 75226
* Disclosure: our meal at Niwa was comped, but as always, all thoughts and opinions remain my own.
(Scroll through to see more photos from out adventure in Japanese BBQ at Niwa.)