It was such an honour to be invited by Parker PR to tonight’s opening ceremonies and launch party at OMO Teppan & Kitchen. My dear friend Kim and I swung by the event to get a sense of what OMO is all about while trying a variety of their delicious offerings from cocktails and sushi all the way up to Wagyu beef!
There was a ribbon cutting ceremony, which included one of the partners in the restaurant and a representative of the Japanese consulate. This was followed quickly by a kagami-biraki ceremony. This involves breaking open the lid of a sake barrel with wooden mallets and symbolizes harmony and good fortune – what better way to celebrate the opening of a new restaurant?
The whole restaurant was set up with a ton of fun stations. Teppanyaki chefs were taking turns showing off their knife- and flame-throwing skills, but Kim and I zeroed in on the food right away with professional efficiency, dignity and grace. After being handed some lovely sparkling wine, we decided to pair it with everything we could get our hands on at the sushi station.
I loved the Flying Dragon roll. Beautiful presentation, obviously, but BBQ eel is one of my favourite proteins on sushi night. Pair that with a generous layer of avocado and you have my attention!
Mango + seafood is always a winning combo. The bright, acidic sweetness of the mango sauce was so perfect against the buttery salmon and rich tempura batter. Maybe I should have saved this for dessert!
I loved these! The little buns made with fried rice cakes were so savoury and toasty. Messy and oily, obviously, but since when has that ever hurt my feelings? I didn’t see these on OMO’s regular menu, but I’m chalking these up to a treat I should probably never be able to order on my own anyways for fear of way overdoing it.
Next we visited a booth where we learned all about Wagyu beef. In addition to some more conventional steaks, OMO serves Wagyu and Kobe beef. (Be sure to call and reserve your slice ahead of time if you plan on committing $138-$198 for a Kobe steak!) These breeds of beef are known for their intense marbling (see above!), soft, buttery texture and incredible flavour.
Unfortunately, suppliers do run into some problems with labelling regulations being a bit haphazard, so if you want to make sure you’re really eating Wagyu, watch for the logo above.
I was a little sad at first about how small a portion of Wagyu we were each served, but when I looked up the prices on the restaurant’s menu I realized just how generous they’d been! Just a 4oz Wagyu steak cooked fresh on the teppan goes for $68 on OMO’s dinner menu. Gulp! Can confirm though, this is the most sumptuous meat I’ve ever eaten. I’m going to be thinking about those few bites of beef for a very long time!
OMO staff were passing platters of crispy, juicy chicken karaage, tender-crisp puffs of octopus-filled batter (takoyaki), succulent gyoza and fresh, piping-hot yam tempura.
One of my favourite stops and what I plan to order on my next visit to OMO was the shrimp and salmon. The teppan chef wasn’t afraid to get a little char on the shrimp, but he also managed to keep all the seafood juicy and tender. Salmon lovers, this is what’s up!
With all those salty snacks, we needed to get the drinks flowing as well! Matsu Kaze were there promoting their high grade matcha tea. Tonight’s recommendation was a cold brew. Having tried Matsu Kaze’s more traditional hot brew made with powdered leaves, I was surprised by how different the cold brew tastes. It’s brighter, fruitier and somehow sweeter. It’s also available on the OMO drink menu! The tea expert on hand recommended letting your cold brew matcha steep for at least two hours, though the longer the better. How nice would it be to have such a refreshing and healthy caffeinated drink in a cold bottle for a long commute?
Kim’s a fan of sake, so obviously we weren’t skipping that station tonight. Sake Gami was there offering a few fun, summery sakes. I tried the Kaiwun Iwaizake Junmai Ginjo, which had serious honeydew melon notes. Kampai! Kim let me try her Fukucho Lemon Yuzu Sake, which seriously tasted like lemonade. Dangerous!
Speaking of dangerous, the cocktails were insane! I don’t know what I expected when I picked up a Milky Strawberry, but it tasted like milky strawberries. A boozy milkshake profile, for sure!
Kim let me try her Ume Soda and we absolutely loved it! Sweet plum wine became so refreshing and fizzy with a bit of club soda. A perfect drink for a warm summer evening… if we ever get through this long winter!
OMO Teppan & Kitchen (5222 Macleod Trail) is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week with a brief closure from 2-4:30 pm each day. In addition to their teppanyaki menu full of omnivorous and vegan options, they also have a full sushi/tapas menu. They take reservations, have a gigantic parking lot and their food and drinks were all excellent tonight. I highly recommend this place for date night, especially if you need a little help from a teppan chef to break the ice with your crush. OMO would also be a perfect spot to celebrate a special occasion with your family or treat yourself to a Wagyu steak (no special occasion necessary, am I right?)