As the seasons change, we inevitably turn our thoughts to tasty autumn dishes. Fatty mackerel, crisp tempura, mouthwatering steak and much much more are featured in this autumn roundup of some of our favorite restaurants.
Interviews and articles by Misa Murohashi, Noriko Hantsinger, Ai Isono, Harmony Kelly, Azusa Ueda and Sumiya Kurihara. Translation by Bruce Rutledge
Muto Izakaya Restaurant
～Comforting, delectable tastes of the izakaya restaurant～
Owner Chef Mitsuo (aka Chef Taka) will celebrate the restaurant’s third anniversary this October. Taka’s parents and grandparents were also cooks, and that lineage is reflected in this izakaya’s excellent menu. He serves sushi, curry, donburi and noodle dishes. In a season when we long for comforting dishes, he is waiting to satisfy your stomach and your soul.
We’d like to especially draw your attention to two seasonal special dishes that will be on the menu until February. First is the Mentaiko Cream Udon. Served on an iron pan, the steamy dish elicits fragrances of katsuo and mentaiko (pollock roe) when brought to your table. The mentaiko stands out amid the white sauce, full of umami from the dashi and the rich cheese flavors. The soft udon noodles drip with the creamy soup and mentaiko as you lift them with your chopsticks. It’s good to the last drop. The green onions on top come in two varieties: fresh and fried. There’s also thinly sliced katsuo and shredded nori seaweed to fill out the flavor profile.
The second dish is Chef Taka’s signature Beef Tataki Roll. Soft, red Angus beef is used to wrap shrimp tempura, cucumbers, carrots, imitation crab and pickled burdock. Toppings include green onions and tobiko. Accent the roll with the combination of sriracha sauce and Japanese teriyaki sauce. With every bite, an array of flavors march forth.
Don’t miss the ramen at Muto. When you order the popular Red Volcano Tonkotsu, you get to choose a spice level from 4 to 10. Start with level 4, as even the lowest level will hit the back of your throat with spiciness on the first bite. The secret is a special Indonesian chili sauce. The slow-cooked tonkotsu soup combines with the spicy ethnic sauce in a happy marriage. So far, there is one customer who got to level 8 before giving up.
There is a good selection of sake here. Try the Sake Sampler ($12), which includes tastes of the ginjyo Izumi Judan, the daiginjo Tedorigawa and the junmai Masumi. Drink, eat and enjoy the ambience of a Japanese izakaya.
Muto Izakaya Restaurant
19505 44th Ave. W., #K, Lynnwood | (425) 322-7599 | www.mutoramen.com