Birthday celebration time! It was also the last day of classes (the LAST last day of classes for undergraduate – time flies!), so some friends and I went out to Waraji in Raleigh to celebrate. I’ve been there a couple of times, but I never really knew what to order. This time, however, we had some experience Waraji-diners among our group.
We started off with a couple of appetizers:
Sunomono tako (octopus salad), which featured six slices of octopus on top of vinegar-seasoned cucumber slices:
Hiya-yakko (cold tofu) – ginger paste, chopped green onions, seaweed served on top of chilled tofu, eaten with soy sauce:
I really enjoyed the sunomono – the octopus had just enough ‘crisp’ and the salad was well-seasoned. The hiya-yakko fell a little short in that the tofu was just a little too firm for my liking. If they had silken tofu instead, it would have been perfect, especially since the ginger ties together all the ‘toppings’ so well.
As for our main course, I shared a ‘sukiyaki for two’ with three other people and also shared sushi rolls with S. (Hey, I wanted to try everything!)
The sukiyaki was really good (and the portion size was huge! Definitely more than enough for two, haha.) I’d posted previously about my sukiyaki experience in Orlando, and I must say that this isn’t quite at the same level, but it was still really good. The beef was quite tender, and the sukiyaki pot also featured tofu (which, surprisingly, was the more silken kind that would’ve been perfect for hiya-yakko), vegetables (that turned out to be super yummy when they soaked up some of the sukiyaki sauce), udon noodles, and bamboo shoots (yum!). Overall, it was simply delicious.
As for our sushi, we decided against the Americanized rolls and went for maki – the simpler Japanese rolls. We tried the eel & cucumber (of course), spicy tuna, yellowtail & scallion, and seasoned kelp. The yellowtail & scallion and eel & cucumber were my favorites, I think – but all of them were very fresh, and you probably won’t go wrong with most sushi or sashimi because of that.
Overall, I had a really pleasant experience at Waraji this time. Of course it did come with a cost (the sukiyaki was quite pricey – $41.75), each roll is between $5-$7, as were the appetizers. The other entrees are quite expensive as well, and you do want to be selective because they’re not all on the same caliber. For the example, some of my friends ordered their noodle and rice entrees and gave them ‘okay’ ratings. So I’d say go with sushi and sashimi – and if you have enough people, definitely try the sukiyaki. It’ll be worth it.