Originally published on our former blog, November 28th, 2014
***disclaimer: since we wrote this post, Tempura Japanese Grill has taken both the Spicy Tuna Roll and the Firecracker Crisp off of their menu, much to our disappointment***
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a HUGE sushi lover – and since meeting David, I’ve done my best to turn him into one too, and I’ve been fairly successful. We recently had a very bad experience at Roku Sushi & Ramen which WAS one of our favorite sushi places in Manila, but all it takes is finding one cockroach in your food to ensure you’ll never be going back somewhere, ever, EVER again. Omakase is still one of our favorite sushi restaurants in Manila, but it felt wrong having only one place to be able to count on getting some good sushi.
So yesterday at lunch time, we went off to try Tempura Japanese Grill at the recommendation of one of David’s friends, in hopes of finding a replacement for our sushi needs. Sitting down, we were handed a menu that caused us to immediately start drooling. Every picture in their menu looked spectacular, and even though we’d only meant to come and order one or two sushi rolls as a snack, we ended up over-ordering because everything was too tasty-looking to resist. We tried not to expect too much though – the food never comes out quite like the photos, right? We were happy to see we were wrong about that as the food arrived!
Spicy Tuna Roll (295php)
Tempura Japanese Grill’s spicy tuna roll was overwhelming to look at. Even though there was only 6 pieces, in place of your standard 8, the size of the rolls more than made up for it. This thing was a delicious monster, I stared at it for several minutes just trying to figure out how I was going to fit that thing into my mouth.
It was so heavy, I was afraid that my chopsticks couldn’t hold it’s weight! After one very unsuccessful attempt at trying to fit the whole thing in my mouth, I finally decided to just eat the spicy tuna mountain sitting on top of the roll first, and then try to eat the rest. Even after the tuna mountain on top was gone though, this was still a two-bite maki roll. Though it was quite a challenge to eat, it was super delicious and the texture and flavor of the fish was superb. I also really appreciated that they serve the mayo on the side instead of dumping it on top of the roll, as I’m not a fan of the mayo myself.
Firecracker Crisp (195 php)
The next roll to tackle our tastebuds was the Firecracker Crisp. Another huge roll that ensures you get your money’s worth, the Firecracker Crisp is a spicy tuna roll that has been dipped in batter and deep fried, topped with tobiko and peppers, and drizzled with just a bit of teriyaki sauce and mayo.
I’m not often a fan of deep fried sushi, but this was so delicious that I just may have changed my mind. The flavor of the batter was delicious, the insides were delightful in both texture and taste, and this was an amazing creation. Between this roll and the first roll, we had already decided – we have found our new sushi place. But wait, there’s more delicious food to come!
We ordered the Ebi Wasabi Tempura after we’d already made our initial order because we’d make the mistake of continuing to look at the menu and this just looked too good to resist. An interesting green color from the wasabi, the tempura was delicious and crisp. However, our one and only disappointment of the day, we couldn’t really taste any wasabi. Fortunately, we had plenty of wasabi on the table from our sushi, so we added the wasabi taste ourselves.
Ebi Bacon Maki (250php)
Our final triumphant treat of the day – the Ebi Bacon Maki. That’s right. Bacon. This was truly a thing to awe, asparagus and shrimp wrapped in a thick piece of bacon and soaking in a sweet, flavorful teriyaki sauce. This was David’s choice, as I tend to be anti-asparagus myself, but I still tried a piece of course and I was in for a very happy surprise. This unique creation was so good, I didn’t even mind the asparagus! The smoky bacon flavor combined with the sweet sauce was a beautiful thing.
So our final verdict? Tempura Japanese Grill gets 9/10 stars from us. The food was all delicious, it was a bit pricey but everything was well worth the price, so we can’t complain about that. The restaurant itself was clean, quiet, and the seating was very comfortable. Sweet sushi haven, we shall be returning.