Posts Tagged ‘japanese food’

A feast of grilled delights at Gekka Teppanyaki & Bar


Chef Jay Adarve ‘plays with fire’ at the Gekka Teppanyaki

YOU can see the Gekka Teppanyaki Bar right across from the main restaurant near the poolside when you step into the lobby of the Mariana Resort & Spa in Marpi, its polished counter tops and comfortable chairs around the bar enticing one to come and explore the mouthwatering temptations in its menu. The Gekka Bar is dead in the daytime, but at 6 p.m. the lights go on and the bar springs to life. It was my first time to be at the Gekka on Saturday night, and my companion was convincing me to go for the BBQ Buffet.

Baked Prawns

I convinced him that we try the Gekka Teppanyaki & Bar when Marianas Resort & Spa when Executive Chef and 2013 Taste of the Marianas Chef’s Competition grand champion William C. Retardo stepped in with a brand new menu and it was not hard to give in.

On William’s recommendation, we started off with a hot appetizer—tofu steak mixed with mushroom and I got my fill taking photos and video clips as our appetizer was being prepared by Chef Jay Adarve.

Ceviche ala Mariana


I am not a big fan of tofu or mushrooms but it tasted so good the plate was clean after a few minutes. Chef Jay next prepared fresh prawns called Kuruma Eb Ougon Yaki on the grill— three large prawns which he grilled and glazed until they turned golden orange, and served with vegetable salad and half a slice of lemon. My companion almost finished all the prawns, while I dug into the salad. It was our second dish and I was already getting full. The best was yet to come. Our Sirloin Steak salad medium rare was next and again gloried in watching how it was prepared before it was all ready to eat.

1- main photo Mariana Resort & Spa executive chef William Retardo is flanked by chefs Jay Adarve and Arnel Patio.

Halfway into our steak, our seafood feast on a plate was served. Sumptuously arranged on a white platter was a colorful mix of fish slices, octopus, shrimps, prawn, mussels, and scallop with tomatoes, mushrooms and greens. This, too, we cleared off in a short time.

Try the other items in the hot appetizer section like the mixed sausage Sauerkraut, grilled duck sushi roll, scallop with mixed mushroom, spicy garlic shrimp and chicken wings teriyaki from $10 to $14 per order.

The cold appetizers menu includes new style salmon sashimi, beef carpaccio, prosciutto with fruits from $15 to $18 bracket.

Noodles and rice are also available like Yaki Udon, eel fried rice, garlic rice and steamed rice. Certified Angus Beef sirloin steak and tenderloin steaks are available in different sizes.

The highlight of the Gekka Teppanyaki Bar are the items in the Gekka Special Combo menu which includes the Chicken Wings Teriyaki and Baked Shrimp Combo, Angus Beef Sirloin Steak and Baked Shrimp combo, Scallop and Angus Beef Tenderloin combo, and the lobster tail and Angus Beef Sirloin Combo, all served with pickled vegetable, soup and rice.

Complete your Teppanyaki experience with the salmon steak with shoyu butter sauce, mussels with shoyu butter sauce and garlic, lobster tail Shoyu butter sauce, and live lobsters Shoyu butter sauce.Live Lobster Shoyu Butter Sauce

The couple beside us ordered a live lobster and it was grilled fresh and live and served right out of the grill. It was stunning to watch chef Jay preparing eel fried rice like he was just playing, and before you know it, everything was ready and set.

Tofu Steak wit Mixed Mushroom

Dig into the delights of homemade cake, sherbet and ice cream for $4 and fried

ice cream for $9 for dessert at the Gekka Teppanyaki Bar.

Cap your dinner with beer, whisky, wines, cocktail, no alcohol cocktail and soft drinks and juices from the beverage menu. Watching the chefs at the Gekka Teppanyaki and Bar expertly flipping, juggling, tossing and slicing ingredients mid-air with samurai-style knives is a feast to the senses. You smell the heavenly aroma wafting from the griddle making you anticipate your meal all the more. Everything at the Teppanyaki happens so fast but the memory of the food and the taste will linger not only in your mouth but in your memory, teasing your salivary glands and make you come back for more.

You can have dinner at any of the tables around the Teppanyaki if you want but the thrill of watching everything is at the counter. You can also bring your drinks and have it leisurely at the pool side as you watch island dancers and fire dancers perform during the weekends.


Gekka Teppanyaki Bar opens at 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. everyday. Credit cards are accepted. For inquiries or reservations please call 322-0770 or visit

First published at the Marianas Variety


JC Cafe: Still the place to be


Kimchi fried rice

IF hunger pangs strike and you’re on Tinian, JC Café in San Jose village is your destination. JC Café is the local equivalent of “everybody’s second kitchen” and that’s where I and my companion headed to last Monday when we had an afternoon off.

We had been driving around the island for an hour or so and were getting hungrier and thirstier by the minute so we decided to head to JC Café for dinner. And that’s where we got lost.DSC_5791

Tinian is such a small island but if one considers my sense of direction below excellent, I’d rate my companion’s sense below sea level. We were driving from the dock and suddenly, I didn’t even have an idea where to turn. We ended up driving any visible road and ending in dead ends, backing out and going in circles until we asked someone the right directions, and got more confused. In a place with no proper DSC_5773street names, it always remains a mystery how one can follow directions like take the right turn three streets down, then left, and right and another right. Yeah, right. We ended up where we started but finally, our patience paid off and we saw JC Café’s brilliant lights from afar.

Hungry beyond belief, I placed an order for sizzling beef, my favorite in their menu, as soon as I sat down. My companion took a longer time browsing through the menu before settling on Kimchi fried rice, whatever that was.

JC Café has not changed a lot since my first visit to the restaurant in 2008. After two decades of being everyone’s second kitchen, or kitchen away from your kitchen, they have maintained being everyone’s favorite and expanded their menu and introduced a lot of new dishes.



Allen’s order was served first—a huge red platter of fried rice mixed with vegetables and kimchi, and topped with a sunny side up. My order followed right after, served the way I remember it each time—sizzling hot beef slices with carrots, corn and green chili. It also came with a serving of steamed rice. For the next few minutes, we dug into our food in total silence until I raised my hand in surrender halfway into my meal. Allen tempted me to try his fried rice, but I resisted. I have never ever finished one serving of food from JC Café ever, no matter how hungry I was.

Another popular favorite at JC Café is the breaded shrimp and


the JC signature buttered chicken—crunchy slices of chicken served with finadene sauce for dipping.

JC Café’s menu includes a wide selection of local and international dishes. Choose from Western, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Chamorro and Filipino cuisine which are all available for dine in or take out.

The best thing with JC Café is you never have to wait for them to open or hurry before they close. They are open everyday so you have the option and the luxury of time for a leisurely breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner or even a midnight or early morning meal.

If you just want to hang out, JC Café serves coffee or tea, pearl shakes in different flavors, chocomilk, or sodas. They also have beers you can enjoy if you want to hang around and dance to the latest beats at the dance floor.

At JC Café, it’s not just about eating. It’s also about hanging out and catching up with friends and family in a comfortable setting with a blend of modern and traditional decoration. For smokers, a section with tables and benches outside is set out for you.DSC_5814

JC Café accepts credit cards, delivers food orders in the island, or picks up diners. For orders or reservations, call 433-3413.

First published at the Marianas Variety

Salty’s Grill & Café: Your Chamorro cuisine dining destination


  SALTY’S Grill & Café in Garapan is the only dining spot on island that has purely local cuisine on their menu.It’s also a spacious, open dining place with wooden floors and big plastic white tables and matching chairs.

A companion and I were there recently, and I decided to try a local appetizer I was familiar with — beef kelaguen — while my companion ordered the poki bowl. My kelaguen was served after a few minutes —?? beef strips with pickles and bits of sliced onions served on a round plate lined with banana leaf and adorned with a white plumeria and half a slice of lemon.

The beef kelaguen was good, the beef strips tender and well-marinated. It was kind of spicy but not too much.

My compan??ion’s poki bowl came next — fresh tuna sashimi slices sprinkled with bits of onion and served on a bed of lettuce on top of a serving of steamed rice. It was a full dinner by itself.

Salty’s Grill & Café is a Japanese-owned restaurant with an extensive Chamorro menu that includes shrimp kelaguen, red rice, Spam kelaguen with titiyas (flatbread), sardine kelaguen with titiyas, tamales gisu and Spam onigiri.

You can order shrimp with taro leaf or garlic butter, fish with taro leaf, fresh tuna poki or sashimi, clam with garlic butter, Lau Lau, kadun pika, seafood soup, sweet potato croquettes, Spam fry, or cold tofu with finadene sauce.


Four dishes from the menu are dinner for $8: Chamorro bowl, Spam bowl, poki bowl and locomoco bowl.

You can grill your food at the table when you order the seafood BBQ set. You can also get raw beef fingers, short rib or ribs eye and have the freedom to grill them to your preference.??

Salty’s Grill & Café’s seafood selections also include lobster, salmon, scallops, squid and mussels from $8 to $25.

For dessert, try the banana lumpia (roll) with coconut milk, apigigi or tapioca with coconut and ube (purple yam) ice cream?

Salty’s Grill & Café is an ideal place to hang out for a drink if you want fresh, open spaces without the humming of air-conditioning units and confining walls.

The bar is open from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. and has a wide selection of wines, cocktails, beer and other beverages. Chasers include fried chicken, French fries, endamame, Chamorro sausage, raisin, peanuts and potato chips.

Salty’s Grill & Café is located in Garapan beside Panda Store (formerly Chicago) and is open every day from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Credit cards are accepted. For inquiries or reservations call 888-9451, email or visit

First published at the Marianas Variety here

Yoshoku at Miyako

?????? HWHEN I got an invitation to try out Yoshoko — Miyako Japanese Restaurant’s latest offering at the Hyatt a couple of weeks ago — I said “yes!” without having any idea what to expect. –
I had visions of new sushi and sashimi servings in mind, and was unprepared when I came face to face with four mouthwatering sets of “Japanized” European dishes — Western-influenced cooking that originated during the Meiji restoration which started in 1868 and, according to Wikipedia, was responsible for the emergence of Japan as a modernized nation in the early 20th century.

The emperor at the time, Meiji, lifted the ban on red meat and promoted Western cuisine.Yoshoku

Miyako at the Hyat is offering four main Yoshoku dishes for a tryout period starting October 7 until Oct. 31, 2013:

• Kaki Furai — crunchy bite-size pieces of breaded, deep fried oysters served with tartar sauce and lemon wedge at $10 per order.

• Katsu Kare — breaded kurobuta pork coated with bread crumbs and served with Japanese curry and steamed rice for $20.

• Omurice — chicken rice wrapped in an omelet and served with a special house-made salsa. The blend of flavors will tease your palates. The Omurice is a meal by itself for $10 only.

• Gyuniku katsu — my instant favorite. Certified Angus Beef served with cabbage and sauce for dipping for $30. The meat was so tender and flavorful, and when I learned it was fried, I couldn’t believe it. There were no traces of dripping oil and the flavors just lingered on my palate.

Black sesame ice cream

Black sesame ice cream

For dessert, we tried Miyako’s black sesame ice cream. I was not overly enthusiastic about ice cream and was thinking of just tasting it. But the ice cream was served on a platter: two deliriously mouthwatering slices of them — yes, slices and served with strawberry and lemon. I finished my ice cream in world record time, ahead of my three companions.

The Yoshoku dinner is available from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day at the Miyako except Sunday. Mojito drinks are available. Reservations are recommended but walk-ins are welcome depending on table availability. Club at the Hyatt discount is available.DSC_2303

The price range for these four Yoshoku dishes is from $10 to $30, and you can also order other Japanese favorites from the ala carte menu.

While at the Hyatt, don’t miss the Nutty Melon special cocktail and enjoy the heavenly blend of cranberry juice, water melon juice, coconut syrup and dark rum. Nutty Melon is available at all Hyatt bars for $10.

For inquiries and reservations, call 234-1234 or visit

First published at

Sunday Brunch at the Costa Restaurant

Sushi bar

IF you haven’t been to the Costa Terrace Restaurant at the Aqua Resort Club in San Roque lately, here is one reason you should go back. New changes and new dishes have been added to the popular Sunday Brunch that would guarantee to set your mouth water.

I and a companion arrived at the Costa ahead of the usual Sunday Brunch crowd yesterday for lunch, which meant the kitchen staff where just finalizing the buffet lunch displays, and I got to shoot photos of all the food when no one has dug into them yet, leaving only memories of the sumptuous dishes.

Aqua Resort Club’s Food & Beverage Operation Manager Rom E. Manzon was so accommodating, letting me shoot whatever photos I wanted and answering all my questions about the dishes.Seafood section

Aqua Resort Club’s new executive chef Yasunori Abe who was installed just last August 1 said they change some of the dishes every now and then for variation, but the regular features will remain like the roast beef, pork lechon, Sashimi section, Pasta section, seafood section and the tempura section.

The Gourmet Sunday Brunch at the Costa Restaurant includes eCosta Terrace Restaurantverything delectable that you can stuff yourself with—from appetizers, soups, salad section with a selection of Japanese and Korean dips, main dishes, desserts, pasta and noodle station, sushi and tempura, bread and cheese section, and more that you will find it hard deciding where to start and how to stop.??

A wide variety of the freshest seafood selections tastefully arranged on a wooden boat is available on a bed of ice cubes like mussels, shrimps, octopus, sashimi and crabs, with various sauces and dipping.

For beverages, have your fill of bottomless coffee, soda, fruit juices, beers, and Champagne to cap your lunch.

Aqua Resort Club’s in-house singer Bobby Prada will serenade diners with relaxing timeless songs as you take your fill of the buffet, or relax with cups of coffee or glasses of wine after a heavy brunch.

Chefs at the Tempura sectionThe clear glass windows of the Costa Terrace Restaurant offers a spectacular view of the ocean, the swimming pool, the bluest of skies, the Pool Bar and flowering plants in the beautifully-maintained gardens.

The spaciousness and relaxing ambiance of the Costa Restaurant makes you feel you can take lunch in a leisurely manner, enjoy your meal without thinking of the daily pressures and routine.

?????? H

cheese station

We did not leave right after lunch. The Aqua Resort Club lobby, poolside and gardens have always been my favorite hangout and my favorite spot to shoot photos, and I spent a good one hour taking photos. My companion was gone, and I found him dozing off at one of the plush sofas at the lobby.

The Costa Restaurant can seat up to 90 persons and up to 200 persons if extended to the Raraina Main Dining for big occasions with more guests.

“We are inviting the community to come and try our Sunday Brunch and enjoy a relaxing afternoon,” Abe said.

Costa Restaurant is open for daily breakfast buffet from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., Light & Easy Lunch Buffet from11 a.m. to 2 p.m.??

The Seafood Night Buffet is every Tuesday and Friday from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. inclusive of all-you-can-drink beers. Saturdays at the Costa are Steak & Wine nights from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. with its popular eat all you can Certified Angus Beef Rib Eye steak, plus bottomless red or white wines, and beers.

The Gourmet Champagne Sunday Brunch opens from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Credit cards are accepted. For more information please call 322-1234.

Oleai Beach Bar & Grill: Your seaside dining place



Photo by Patrick Horton

IF you’re looking for a restaurant with the best waterfront and sunset view, Oleai Beach Bar & Grill still tops the list on island.After it reopened under new management three months ago, Oleai Beach Bar & Grill has again become an ideal venue for parties and get-togethers, and a place to hang out and enjoy the food and the view.I was there on Saturday for an early dinner with a friend and we were lucky there were still some unoccupied tables near the open windows. There was also a long table at the waterside where you could eat barefoot and let your feet get wet.



Browsing through the menu, I decided to try grilled mahi-mahi while my companion ordered a serving of stir beef with combo vegetables both served with rice for $9.95.

The mahi-mahi slices were grilled to perfection. We were not so hungry but we soon cleared our plates and enjoyed the cool breeze from the ocean.


?? Other choices on the budget menu are beef broccoli, pork chops, sweet and sour pork, islanders BBQ ribs, fried chicken, seafood, grilled salmon and more.

Oleai Beach Bar & Grill also serves a variety of certified Angus Beef steak including tenderloin, ribeye, hamburger steak all served with rice, salad, bread or baked potatoes from $14 and up,??

Check out islander’s hamburger, fish burger or avocado hamburger served with French fries. There’s also a selection of soups, salads, pasta, appetizers such as sashimi, fish, shrimp, chicken and beef kelaguen, poke and other chasers.

If you feel like celebrating, try out the mega-platter and splurge on a six oz. tenderloin steak, whole lobster, tiger prawns and fish served with rice, bread or baked potatoes, salad, seafood soup, dessert and iced tea. The steak and lobster combo or the steak and tiger prawns combo are from $38 and up.

Tacos are also available at $5 for three pieces.20130521_182736

In addition, Oleai Beach Bar & Grill has a wide selection of cocktails, wines, beers and non-alcoholic drinks which you can enjoy at the seaside patio or in the bar where you can also listen to live music or watch shows from the LCD screens mounted on the walls.

Islanders Net Inc. chief executive officer and chief operating officer Seiichi Kamegai from Tokyo now operates this popular watering hole.

Oleai Beach Bar & Grill is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. “Happiest Hours” are from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. — you get free chaser per drink. Happy Hours are from 5 to 7 p.m., dinner time is from 5 to 10 p.m. and bar time is up to 12 midnight. Credit cards are accepted.20130521_182051

First published at the Marianas Variety HERE

A world of buffet

THE Buffet World at SaipaIMG_5627 - Copyn World Resort was that one place where I wanted to have lunch but for one reason or another, I always never made it on time until one noontime last week when it was all unplanned.

My lunch companion Patrick and I were at the door right after it opened at 11:30 a.m. along with a handful of early diners who were mostly hotel guests. The spacious dining area was vacant leaving us with a wide choice of tables to choose from.

We headed to a table near the clear glass walls that offered a fabulous view of the swimming pools and the Jungle Wave Park, a bit far from the buffet tables so we wouldn’t be tempted to go for a refill that quick.20130522_115117


Heading to the salad bar, I surprised Pat by filling up my plate with vegetables, something which I rarely do if ever, and smeared them with Thousand Island Dressing. The Buffet World’s salad bar had potato salad, fresh greens and more as well as a selection of dressings. The seafood section carried a mouthwatering display of mussels, shrimp, slices of fresh sashimi on a huge boat-shaped platter, crabs and more choices. I picked on a few slices of sashimi minus the wasabi paste and headed back to our table.20130522_115045

Even before I finished my salad, I was already getting full but I checked out the main dishes just the same. It was hard not to load your plate with all the delectable choices from the buffet main section. I ladled two generous servings of the seafood fried rice. It looked tempting with the bits of onion, corn, peas and seafood sprinkled on it and was not like the regular fried rice floating in oil you see everywhere.

.IMG_5564 - Copy IMG_5559 - Copy







I also spooned some stir-fried vegetables, pasta, a couple of fried chicken wings, some slices of tofu topped with chopped onion leaves, some very tempting slices of grilled flank steak topped with onion rings and bits of bell peppers, fish fillet, and my plate was already groaning. I didn’t even get a chance to check out the Korean cuisine that was in a separate sectionThe Buffet World’s bread and dessert section carried a wide selection of your favorite breads, tempting sweets and fresh fruit.

Pat was more excited for the Wave Jungle adventure in store for us I noticed. He capped the meal with white wine from the beverage section. IMG_5544

We were having a leisurely lunch and didn’t notice that all the tables had been filled up and lunch time was coming to its end. Lingering on our glasses of wine, we were beginning to get drowsy when Saipan World Resort sales and marketing department/local sales manager Michael Babauta joined us for a brief chat.
We went out of The Buffet World and headed to the Jungle Park where we burned all that we ate in an afternoon of fun in the water and slides.

Check out the newly refurbished Buffet World when you’re hungry. It’s also open for breakfast and dinner. It’s on the ground floor of Saipan World Resort and open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every day. Credit cards are accepted. For inquiries or reservations, call 234-5900 extension 344.

First published at the Marianas Variety

%d bloggers like this: