A taste of Japan and Korea

. June 28, 2013.

I grew up in a family that ate foods that were out of the norm. My parents never made me eat the strange things they cooked —you could smell the tripe boiling three houses away— but I’m sure it disappointed them a bit that I wouldn’t even try it.

Now that I am a parent, I understand. It’s important to encourage your child to try new things, to venture beyond chicken nuggets. In the spirit of “try it, you might like it,” we recently had dinner at Asian Grill, a Japanese and Korean restaurant at 1813 Tiffin Ave. My older daughter has gotten better about trying new things, and my younger daughter has always been willing to try anything. At the Asian Grill, however, they were temporarily stumped— in a good way— about what to order.  We are admittedly not adventurous eaters. Our gustatory gamut ranges from Italian to Chinese, with a little Mexican cuisine thrown in. The Asian Grill offers Korean, Japanese and sushi dishes that happily pulled us out of our comfort zones. The options ranged from esoteric items like eel and squid to more familiar offerings that included beef, chicken and pork. It was hard to narrow it down, so we got several entrees to share.

The dinner portion of chicken teriyaki ($12.50) was broiled chicken with teriyaki sauce and vegetables over rice. The lunch portion salmon teriyaki ($9.95) continued the theme with the sweet garlic-y sauce. The youngest, probably the most adventurous of us all, chose the lunch portion of yakisoba noodles with shrimp ($9.95), a stir-fry dish that included vegetables. I was happy to see several vegetarian options, including tofu and vegetable-based dishes. I finally decided on the dinner portion of vegetarian sushi rolls ($13.50) that included avocado, cucumber, rice and other vegetables.

We were served small side salads with ginger dressing, very yummy and sweet, and miso soup. The three carnivores agreed that the chicken and salmon were very good, as were the noodles. I was just fine that they were too full to sample my sushi rolls, which were tasty and artfully crafted. Word to the wise: The wasabi adds a punch but the horseradish taste is very strong. You have been warned.

No dinner is complete without dessert, and the Asian Grill didn’t disappoint. We  tried the tempura ice cream, a  lightly battered and fried treat. We added strawberry and mango Mochi ice cream, a Japanese ice cream that is made from a smooth and sweet, pounded sticky rice covering, surrounding an ice cream filling.

Our mission in going to the Asian Grill was to move beyond our usual and try something new, even if we didn’t know what it was.  We left curious about what we didn’t try, and plan to return soon.

Kid-friendly Yes
To avoid the wait Consider calling ahead for takeout
Noise level Fine
Bathroom amenities No changing tables
High chairs Yes
Got milk? No, but cranberry and blueberry juices are available as well as lemonade
Kid’s menu? No
Anything healthy for the kids? Lots of sushi and salad options
Food allergy concerns? As always, ask