Hello all! I realize it’s been some time since I last posted – quite a bit has happened! Matt and I bought a house, sold our condo, went on a whirlwind long weekend trip to NYC with a dear pal (blog posts to follow!) and then moved into the aforementioned house a couple of weeks ago.
I was wringing my hands quite a bit over what to post about first after my hiatus, but the decision was made for me when I was invited to bring a guest for a complimentary dinner at OMO Teppan & Kitchen earlier this week! Matt and I were absolutely blown away by their hospitality last night, just as I was after their deliciously fun launch party back in April. (Note: The restaurant covered our bill for this dinner. Where prices aren’t listed, this wasn’t a standard item I could find on the menu at that time.)
OMO’s cocktail list is a fun place to start. Divided into classic, “OMO” and sake categories, the drinks range in price from $8-$13 and beers run from $7-$10. Matt was happy to see Sapporo on tap!
After we sat down and had a chance to enjoy the lovely surroundings, food just started flying out of the kitchen – sometimes literally! OMO is known for serving teppanyaki with super-talented chefs throwing knives and slinging bottles of cooking oil over piping hot stoves in the middle of the dining table. It’s a format many of us have tried before, but I especially love OMO’s take on the concept with their brightly lit open floor plan, decadent ingredients and diverse offerings for every palate.
We started with their Treasure Island sashimi platter, which was recommended by one of the owners. This chef’s choice platter incorporates a seasonal selection of fish flown in regularly from Japan and is a terrific value at $28. I’m not usually crazy for sashimi scallops, but the one we tried on the Treasure Island platter was sweeter, juicier and more buttery than any other I’ve had in Calgary. We were also impressed by the flavourful and tender cuts of salmon, mackerel, tuna and octopus. The presentation was also pretty dazzling, as you can see.
We also loved the Flying Dragon ($17), one of their signature maki rolls. The sweet unagi (BBQ eel), savoury tempura shrimp and fresh produce bulged out of each piece and balanced each other very well. We savoured every bite – including the dragon’s adorable face!
Another fun snack recommended by the house was the Wagyu nigiri ($9/2 pieces), thin slices of seared beef over sushi rice with a tangy, spicy dollop of some kind of pepper on top. They did come out a bit cool, temperature-wise – we weren’t sure whether that was a plating decision or a delay in the product reaching the table, but either way we still devoured them happily.
While we waited for our teppanyaki course, we were very touched to be offered a generous sampler plate of seared Japanese Wagyu beef alongside Alberta-raised Wagyu. Wagyu is a beef breed that can be raised in Alberta, but the Japanese version is known for having a higher fat content (and therefore a smoother, more buttery flavour and texture).
After this side-by-side comparison, we can confirm that the rumours are true – Japanese Wagyu is what’s up. As one of the restaurant’s owners explained it, they’re proud to offer Japanese Wagyu because it’s so special, but they love supporting Alberta producers by offering the local option as well.
As for the teppanyaki, that’s an experience all on its own! Every OMO teppan set comes with soup, salad, a shrimp appetizer, veggies, rice and your protein of choice followed by ice cream for dessert. We were generously offered a seafood feast of lobster tail with Japanese mayo (chopped and cooked on the grill, then served in the shell), salmon in a sticky, sweet sauce along with some beautifully cooked shrimp. The veggies didn’t let the seafood outshine them either as they were lightly sauced and seared to a perfect tender-crisp texture.
Look, I would have taken a photo of the seafood all cooked and plated, but we all know how important it is to devour that stuff right away. You’ll just have to go check it out for yourself, okay??
After the sushi, steak and seafood feast, we were too stuffed for dessert, though the other couples at our table assured us that their ice cream was excellent. That’s another fun thing about OMO – if you’re there for teppanyaki and in a small part of 2-4 people, chances are you’ll end up enjoying the “show” along with some strangers! In addition to the bonus social interaction, it’s a great way to take a peek at some of the other menu items for next time – I definitely plan on trying the shareable “Meat Lovers” teppan set with chicken and steak or the lobster, shrimp and scallop “Seafood Trio”.
I highly recommend OMO Teppan & Kitchen (5222 Macleod Trail) for special occasions, date night or just something a bit different. They take reservations on OpenTable – helpful, since they were really busy on a Tuesday night. The food is fantastic, the space is beautifully decorated and the staff are so efficient and friendly. Matt and I can’t wait to bring our family here for a special Wagyu-worthy occasion. Those reasonable beer prices and shareable appetizers would also make this a great place to grab a meal and catch up with friends. The only downside is the agony of trying to fit your body back into your winter jacket after eating one of their hearty meals!