By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
The tomatoes were the most complicated skewer I really liked: Kurobuta pork with Japanese plum was bitter where it should have been sour, and had an off-putting licorice-like taste. Chicken with spicy cod caviar, the only item I sampled that suffered from overcooking, was a tightly wound chicken roll that was weirdly reminiscent of something served at a Midwestern potluck.
Another inexplicable deviation from the classical Japanese canon is a plate of sugared pecans and a hunk of Gorgonzola cheese, which would surely pair better with cider than sake. Though it's listed among the cold dishes, eaters in the yuletide mood might consider ordering it for dessert; Sharaku, like most izakayas, doesn't serve a dessert course, since the snacks are meant as a prelude to a real dinner elsewhere.
Best of luck, then, to whomever's stuck following up Sharaku's performance: Surely it's not easy to impress taste buds still under the spell of the pub's delicate beef tongue, its uncommonly good sweet beef spare ribs or its gorgeous chicken livers, grilled to a rich, satiny finish. I'm guessing chefs tear off their toques when they hear guests have just come from feasting on Sharaku's skewers of smoky, earthy "pork classic."
2633 McKinney Ave.
Dallas, TX 75204
Region: Uptown & Oak Lawn
Not all of Sharaku's best dishes come from the grill: There's a diverting flounder chip that's a nacho in all but name, with fish and avocado perched at the end of an oily, puffy triangle of fry. Sharaku steams some mean edamame, marinated in green tea, and puts out a lovely plate of spinach paved with a thick black sesame sauce.
I initially shied away from kushiage, thinking frying might not be compatible with some of the skewers I was most eager to try. But Sharaku's fry is clean and light and showcased to terrific effect on mushroom dishes. My companions kindly divvied up our fried shiitakes, making sure everyone got her share.
It's a fine thing to remember, after a day spent slashing budgets and emptying files: There are places—inspired, exceptional places like Sharaku—where we can focus all of our attentions on slicing mushrooms and draining beer bottles instead.