Friday, August 10, 2012

Tribune-Review visits Highland Park's Teppanyaki Kyoto.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review visited Highland Park's Teppanyaki Kyoto, one of the best-kept secrets around. The write-up is rather minimal, though the writer gets it right in the first line:
There’s more to Japanese food than sushi and steak, not that you’d know from the menus of most local Japanese restaurants.
Teppanyaki Kyoto is highly-favored among local Japanese, and by serving foods you're most likely to eat in Japan is one of the most authentic, though steak and sushi places like Ichiban Steakhouse and Nakama are routinely, inexplicably voted the best Japanese in the city. If you go with a small group, I'd recommend each person ordering something different so you can try the all the varieties of okonomiyaki. My personal favorite is the hiroshimayaki.

The Pittsburgh City-Paper had a more extensive review, which I noted in June:
[P]erhaps more surprising than Pittsburghers' taste for tuna tartare is that it has taken us so long to discover the rest of Japanese cuisine. Sure, we all know about sweet teriyaki sauce on beef and salmon steaks, most of us learned to boil ramen noodles in college, and some have probably tried Japan's other staple noodles, soba and udon. Then there are hibachi restaurants, which merge an authentic Japanese cooking style — the griddle — with an inauthentic theater of juggled cleavers and sizzling meat. But these do not give a full picture of Japanese cuisine any more than pasta and pizza sums up Italian. In all the derring-do surrounding eating raw fish, we have all but ignored the deserving hot, hearty fare of an island nation as rocky and rugged as Western Pennsylvania.

Into this void, steps Teppanyaki Kyoto. Kyoto, of course, is the ancient imperial capital, whose name evokes the traditional Japan of tatami mats, temples and cherry blossoms, while a teppan is a flat iron griddle, and yaki means grilled or fried. In a small, serene storefront on Highland Park's revitalizing Bryant Street, Kyoto offers something like a Japanese version of a diner. There is a counter for watching food cook at the open teppan, and a menu comprised of humble yet delicious foods drawn from the menus of the lunch counters, train stations and family kitchens of Japan.
The restaurant is located on 5808 Bryant St. (map), a short drive from the Pittsburgh Zoo. The area looks a lot better today than it does on Google Maps. Their Facebook page is pretty active, with menu updates, pictures, and news.