Usually when I visit, I sit with a group of friends at a teppan table to the right, or straight ahead. The view from the teppan room to the right overlooks the entrance and the koi pond.
The light level is quite low, and several flashlights are standard on each table-works just fine for me. Mr. Chang put careful thought into not just the food and attentive service, but the décor, creating a very harmonious relaxing atmosphere. I like to start with sharing a porcelain container of warm sake ($7) for two, or try one of the Ichiban or Asahi beers, or cold sake.
My guest liked her Ramsay Pinot Noir ($10.50 /glass.) there’s no shortage of mixed drinks that come in a souvenir container. Plum wine is good with dessert.
There’s a very wide choice of good sized appetizers ($7-11) that include gyoza, tempura shrimp, oysters and vegetables, escargot Nippon, soft shell crab, beef mu shu and lobster crab cakes. Are you a light eater? There’s about fifteen petite entrees, including duck breast, NY strip steak, salmon teriyaki and vegetarian dinners. These come with miso soup and a salad.
We started with the Lobster volcano ($12), Mr. Chang’s sextet of cleverly designed tastes and textures. The base is a crab roll slice, topped with an orange mound of chunks of lobster lightly marinated with garlic, onions and scallops, then baked.
Our server suggested the attractively plated traditional Negamaki appetizer ($9) with eight diagonal cut, thinly sliced tender rolls of beef tenderloin rolled over a core of crisp scallions, marinated in a light teriyaki sauce, and sprinkled with sesame seeds. A purple and white orchid accompanies this dish, and other dishes too.
The Sushi and Sashimi combination ($35) is a plentiful portion for two or three people. Super fresh and presented in an elegantly simple way, it’s as tasty as if I’d been eating it at a top Tokyo spot. (Been there, enjoyed that, and have eaten super fresh seafood at the huge Tokyo Tsukiji Market too).
Our large sushi-sashimi combo dinner had tuna, yellow tail, octopus, white tuna, salmon, shrimp, eel, and a tuna roll and California roll. The tobiko topped California roll has rice enclosing a core of nori- wrapped surimi-crab and avocado, with a hint of wasabi.
|A Combo in a Take Home Box|
We didn’t have room for dessert. Truth be told, we waned to try a variety of things, and ordered knowing we’d take home much of our treats, as the portions are generous.
So there you have it. After eating many times at Daruma over fifteen years, just like eating at an old chef-friend’s home, I finally get around to the sushi and sashimi side instead of my tried and true teppan side, and write my experience. As I write this the day after, I’m savoring each and every morsel!
241 Center Street (just off Vanderbilt, almost across from the Ritz-Carlton’s street), Naples, 591-1200, darumarestaurant.com/
**Visit the new Daruma at Fort Myers' Bell Tower Shops by Saks and across from Bistro 41.
13499 S Cleveland Ave Ste 131, Fort Myers, 344-0037.