Pride Makes Haruki
Rhode Island's Best
-- Homemade miso is a source of great pride among the Japanese. There's
even an expression "temae miso desu, ga," which basically
means "I don't want to toot my own horn, but . . . ." Certainly,
The miso soup at Haruki Japanese Restaurant is worth bragging about.
But why stop there? The list of boast-worthy goodies goes on and on.
makes Haruki so good?
you need to understand that in Japan food is as important to the
soul as it is to the body. Despite its relatively small size, the
country has spawned one of the most influential cuisines in the
world, renowned for its ultra-fresh ingredients and meticulous preparation.
this dedication to detail is sometimes lost by the time this cuisine
makes its way to America. Japanese food is often misinterpreted
in the United States -- a point well represented by the fact that
almost every restaurant from a steakhouse to hardcore Italian now
Japan, it's the philosophy behind the preparation and care taken
to make the sushi that is most important, not the mere fact that
everyone loves to eat it. And it's the adherence to this philosophy
that makes Haruki the best Japanese restaurant in Rhode Island.
The food here encompasses a broad portrait of Japanese cuisine,
from misoshuro (miso soup) to sushi specialties, as well as soba,
teriyaki, katsu don and bento boxes. And it doesn't just cover or
highlight dishes -- owner Haruki Kibe sees to it that the kitchen
prepares them very, very well. An excellent example of this, and
a good place to start, is the sushi. Some of the maki rolls are
familiar, such as the ubiquitous California roll with cucumber and
crab. But other selections show off the more adventurous and cosmopolitan
sides of sushi chefs Yuji Suzuki and Alen Sung. The Philadelphia
roll, for example, is neatly filled with fresh salmon, cucumber
sticks and creamy, tangy cream cheese.The result is
the perfect fusion of Asian and American ingredients.
spicy tekka -- a roll of velvety smooth tuna, cucumber and smooth
avocado -- is laced with a hint of peppery sauce, just hot enough
to warrant a sip of Japanese beer or plum wine but not enough to
sound any alarms. The spiciness harmonizes with the tuna rather
than overpowers it -- so well that this roll is one of the best
of the many varied selections. The sushi bar practically stretches
the length of the entire restaurant -- giving singles and couples
ample room to sit comfortably and watch the line of sushi chefs
cut and roll their offerings on bamboo mats.
other parts of the menu is as much fun as the sushi. Starters that
shouldn't be overlooked at Haruki include
a deep-fried soft-shell crab, crackling hot and speckled from its
crunchy batter -- so hot, juicy and fleshy it burned my lip. Served
with a ponzu sauce (made from soy sauce, rice vinegar and citrus
juice) the dish is light and delicate, full of slightly salty flavor.
personal favorite -- and one that is often missing from Japanese
menus in Rhode Island -- is oshinko, an assortment of tart, crisp
pickles. Haruki serves them beautifully with crunchy cucmbers, eggplant,
sliced daikon, and a special root vegetable (it looks like a baby
carrot) with a deep earthy flavor and snappy crunch.
is a term that is used for a variety of "vinegared things"
-- at Haruki, this means an exquisitely presented hodge podge of
razor-thin cucumber slices, thin slices of purple-and-pink striped
octopus, a juicy, jumbo, butterflied shrimp, seaweed (wakame) and
a sweet-tart sanbaizu dip of rice vinegar and soy sauce.
it's difficult to decide what to have -- and the interesting selections
make this a definite reality -- a bento box is an excellent way
to peruse the menu in one shot. Most include Haruki's delicately
flavored misoshuro and a Japanese lettuce salad garnished with rustic,
robust ginger dressing. The shiny black-laquered boxes are perfect
at lunch, and also include a choice of teriyaki or katsu (a thin
slice of battered pork or chicken that is deep-fried) as well as
the exquisitely fresh sashimi -- buttery, bright red tuna, shrimp,
white fish and soft, briny crab.
is a special selection of appetizers and entrees, and the sesame
tuna is worth a detour from the traditional
menu. A medium-thick cut, the tuna is merely seered on the outside,
with a pink-red center, its outer layer encrusted with nutty-tasting
white and black sesame seeds. A Western-style salad accompanies
and other starters are $1.50 to $7. A la carte sushi items such
as maki, sashimi and nigiri are $2.50 to $10, with two to six pieces
per order. Dinner bento boxes, entrees and entrees form the sushi
bar are $6.50 to $19.50. There is a full bar, with Japanese plum
wine, saki and a good assortment of Japanese beers available.
By MERIDITH FORD
Journal Restaurant Critic
the exterior is unassuming, the inside of Haruki offers
a quiet serenity thanks to tasteful paper screens that ensure the
sights and sounds of busy Oaklawn Avenue don't interfere with the
subdued Japanese decor. Seating is limited to a dozen tables and 16
seats at the bar, but the menu is big. Sushi--from maki to sashimi--is
the main draw; regulars often branch out to specialties like soba
noodles or pork katsu.
is a Japanese restaurant featuring a smorgasbord of
sushi and authentic Asian cuisine that keeps diners coming back for
more. The menu has a list of seafood entrees and signature Japanese
dishes for the adventurous diner. The casual ambiance welcomes couples,
families or the crew from work for fine dining and a memorable meal.