I had heard about some great Japanese that wasn't too far from their house. The way the heat and humidity was going since we had crossed the border into Minnesota, I wasn't planning on cooking any time soon and I wasn't about to ask my sister to either. So when I told them I wanted to eat at Hajime my big bro gave his approval right away. He loves the place! Well...that was easy.
We four adults, whenever my Mister or I wasn't wrangling the 3.5 year old, were scouring the menu. Next to Indian, Japanese/Sushi is one of my most favorite things to eat. When I was pregnant with the Sweet Pea I just couldn't lay off of it. I knew I wasn't going to be able to eat here again for a long time so I carefully read the menu. Then I asked for recommendations from our waiter. I was in luck, most of the things he recommended were things I had my eye on. For our table we ordered an appetizer of Pork Gyoza and Wasabi Red Snapper, for myself I ordered the Phoenix Roll and Chicken Yaki Soba. I was SO hungry that I almost ordered MORE than that, but I had been tipped off that their portions were large so I showed some uncharacteristic restraint and only ordered the two things for myself. Then I got to looking around...
They are quite a different atmosphere than what I think most people from this area of the Twin Cities are used to...and that is a GREAT thing! The Twin Cities area is FILLED to the brim with bars, SPORTS bars, taverns and cookie cutter fast food Asian places. Lucky for Blaine...they Hajime takes modern chic to a new high. Not the dive bars or middle of the road tavern sort of places that are ALL over the place in the Twin Cities area. Hajime has class.
It didn't take long before our appetizers were in front of us. Yay for fast service!
One of my favorite things to eat with my sushi has always been pork gyoza. These fabulously soft pillows of dough were filled with JUST the right amount of pork. The pork was just lightly seasoned so as not to outshine the dipping sauce. The dipping sauce was a perfect balance of salty and sweet and was a wonderful compliment to the filling. The gyoza skin itself was cooked perfectly. The seared portion was crisp and the tops were steamed to a precise softness. There wasn't a single place on my gyoza where the skin wasn't cooked all of the way through. I've been disappointed by that situation many, many times before. It was hard for me not to take a second one...I knew I had save room for the snapper.
Wasabi Red Snapper
Next out to the table was my sushi roll. I was actually feeling like I was starting to run out of room in my tummy... Nooooo!!!!
I had my eye on this gem when our waiter recommended it to me. Let me tell you what is in this masterpiece... Spicy tuna wrapped around tempura shrimp and mango with tobiko on top. Everything about this roll was delicious. The tempura shrimp was cooked perfectly, the fish roe was a wonderful little "pop" of saltiness in every bite and the tuna was smooth in flavor and delicately meaty in texture, the rice was cooked properly and the sauce on top rounded the combination of flavors out adding a richness and spice to each slice. Add a bit of pickled ginger, dab of wasabi and a tweency drizzle of soy...and my friend...you have some of the best sushi in Blaine. My big bro asked for a piece...I actually thought two or three times before I said "Sure.". I was getting uber full and I knew it. But, the feeding frenzy wasn't over for me quite yet.
Chicken Yaki Soba