Saturday, April 4, 2015

World Kitchen

Location: World Kitchen

Rating: Very good
Meal:  Weekend Lunch
Price:  4000 yen for 3 people
Payment:  Credit Cards accepted
Dishes:  Green Curry Chicken and Veg, Kung Pao chicken, Spicy Garlic Fried Rice, Pork Fried Rice, Black Ship Gyoza
English Menu: Yes (mostly)
Smoking:  No

English menu...there are many pages.
It's Saturday and we decided to walk down to the Yokosuka Port Market to do some grocery shopping and grab lunch.  The market is a showcase for local produce, so it's nice to pick up fresh fish and vegetables.  There are also a few places to eat there, including a fresh gelato store and a small food court inside.  There are two full restaurants on the outside, Naburo a Japanese seafood place that is excellent, but we have only been there once, a long time ago.  And World Kitchen, an interesting little spot that we'd passed over several times before.  This was because the first time I poked my head in there, it was a bit strange.  This was back when the area had first opened, and it appeared to be an "international" cuisine spot with a semi-buffet style, where you go around an open area with lots of dishes, fill up your plate, and then pay at the end by weight.  As this didn't appeal to us, we never got around to going back.  Today, we set out to rectify that.

Kung Pao and Fried Rice
To our surprise, the place is entirely different inside from our first visit.  It's has lots of tables and is very roomy.  The area for loading up your plate was now a huge sake display area.  The menu, as we flipped through it, was not at all what we were expecting, and it slowly dawned on us that this was a Chinese restaurant.  I asked the waitress if this was still "World Kitchen" and she said it was.  She then said something that may have meant that the place is now run by the same owner as another Chinese restaurant in Yokosuka, but I'm not certain.  In any was definitely a Chinese restaurant now.

Chinese food in Japan has been a bit of a disappointment for us.  I guess thinking it being so close to China and all, we were hoping there would be lots of authentic Chinese food around.  While there are lots and lots of Chinese restaurants, authentic would not be the word to describe them.  We even visited Yokohama's Chinatown, hoping to find similar places as in Portland's Chinatown, like dimsum on carts, big round tables with lazy susans where you ordered lots of dishes and ate family style.  Not so much.  Most Chinese restaurants here are very attuned to Japanese tastes and styles.  Consequently there are 4 or 5 main dishes types that you will find over and over again, most of which are not likely to be found in a real Chinese restaurant.  And there are teishokus, which I like, but are very Japanese.  Lastly, we have yet to find a true dimsum restaurant that specializes in it.  Everyone has some dim sum on the menu, but it's to be ordered and usually not very good.

That being said, we still like Chinese food, even bad Chinese food, so we end up eating at a lot of them, continuing to hope we'll find that gem of a place that is what we keep looking for.  Also, my son loves the Japanese version of fried rice, so he's always happy with that.

Green Curry Chicken and Veg
Back to World Kitchen...aside from being surprised by it being Chinese, we were also pleasantly surprised by the food.  It's still a Japanese version of a Chinese restaurant, but the food itself was very good and we all enjoyed it immensely.  I think it has taken the top spot for my favorite Chinese restaurant in Yokosuka.  We ordered a bit more than we usually would so we could really give it a try.  I would guess no more than 1000 yen would be good per person.  My wife is fond of chicken with peanuts or cashews, so she got the Kung Pao Chicken.  It was well flavored with a strong oyster or black bean sauce.  This complemented the fried rice well, which wasn't too strongly flavored for something called Spicy Garlic fried rice.  However, the rice *was* actually spicy, far more than we expected.  That's good thing.  My son got the pork fried rice, which was pretty typical for a Japanese version of the stuff.  The real surprise was on the specials menu, all in Japanese.  I had to ask some questions about the items listed, but when I saw there was a Vegetable Green curry, I was interested!  She said there was some chicken in there (beware vegetarians! but good for me), so I ordered it.  There was also a "kurofune" (blackship) gyoza set that we decided to splurge on.  The curry was *really* good, with a nice spiciness to it that was most welcome.  A little more heavy on the coconut milk than the green curry at Sawasdee, but it wasn't too thin.  Best of all, the vegetables really complemented the dish with plenty of cabbage, green/red/yellow peppers, broccoli and asparagus!  I really like lots of vegetables with my meat, so this was a very pleasant surprise.   You wouldn't believe how hard it can be to get a veggie fix, even if you are a carnivore.  The black gyoza was also excellent, quite large and stuffed with a vegetable and minced meat mix.

Black Ship Gyoza
The dishes came one at a time, with quite a bit of space in between, but this is quite normal for a Japanese dining experience.  They don't do the "all the dishes at once" thing so much.  Otherwise, no complaints about the service.  They took credit cards too, which is always nice.

I know for sure we'll be coming back here!  With the large tables they have, it's a perfect spot to bring people for a larger group too.  We are looking forward to trying more of what they have on the menu.

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