In so many years of Lincoln being saturated with Italian restaurants, the one I didn’t expect to appear in the last couple of years was a Japanese Steakhouse.
Opened only two weeks ago on May 9th, it’s been in development for around two years, occupying the vacant space that Damons has had for so long.
Booking it was a phone call away, and as soon as we arrived, we could take a seat. When you’ve got a chef in front of you, it’s a performance. You’re there to be entertained as well as be fed. This is why I saw it as a three act, theatre performance in a sense.
We were seated and given a menu as we ordered our drinks. The same music from Damons was playing, as we saw a fair few waiters hanging by on the side. The one thing that I did forget to ask, but couldn’t help think on the way home, was why there were pictures of the Manhattan skyline and Times Square shown on the menu for Japanese food?
Me and a friend were a bit confused as to how we could order, as all three courses at the top were the same, but different names and prices as the picture shows. But we had a decent, kind, informative waiter who was able to help us out and then decide on the ‘Shogun‘ course.
We were served a really nice Beef Soup, full of flavour and it was gone in five minutes.
There was also a salad soon after which was more of a condiment to everything that was about to appear.
The table covered eight people,so it was enough for a large party, or even a group of couples. We could see a previous booking opposite us, with their chef making them feel relaxed and cooking the food with ease. I wondered if he was about to spin and then serve us, but by the time I was finishing the soup, he had left, and another chef appeared at our table.
Soon after the soups and the salads were finished and taken away, our main chef, Nick appeared. Rolling out a tray with his prepped food, alongside his knives attached to his side, ready like a Jedi. He ran through the order with us and another group who had been seated with us, then began. He was cutting the shell out of the prawns as if he’s been doing this for years.
He was attempting some tricks, aiming to throw the prawn tails to another bin on another cooker behind him, some going in, some missing, but all good fun to watch.
He had these two sauces to give each of us, and recommended to use each of them for certain foods. I used them just for the seabass and prawns, but they were really nice, again full of flavour complimenting what we each ordered.
WIth a typical restuarant, you’ve got one head chef, with his batallion of sous chefs in charge of certain sections of the final dishes. So when you’ve only got one guy with prepped food to cook eight people’s dishes, you can’t help but be in awe, and you’re immersed to see how it’s all prepared and cooked.
During this, he had served us prawns and avocados, alongside fried onions.
The picture doesn’t do it justice on a portion-size, but to eat, it was plentiful, and i still had the avocados left.
We got talking to the other group who were sat with us, and we were all getting involved which was great. A friend tried to catch his own food by Nick just, throwing it to him from across the two tables, which was about ten feet. It was close, but just missed the mouth!
The next one was my rice. Trying to flip the bowl, he just missed it on the first attempt, but was a perfect throw on the second.
Throughout all of this, he was always attentive, but able to let you enjoy the food (if you could catch it), so it didn’t feel intrusive throughout these two hours.
The rice was something I could have happily eaten without ordering anything else. I ordered for the garlic chicken fried rice, which was £1.50 extra, and was worth the extra price. Very sticky, the garlic chicken, butter and the three eggs he mixed in, was delicious. I couldn’t help but think this was their ‘coleslaw’ that everyone still raves about for Damons. This can be theirs! Have it packaged and able to be ordered as a takeaway, they’d do well on this rice alone.
Soon after this we were each served our portions of our courses. I had a prawn and seabass fillets combo, which tasted great. Not rubbery, not overdone, just right.
The final act was Nick preparing what he called ‘Panda Food’, some really nice noodles which was a great finish to the course. None of us had space for dessert, just effort to move to the bar and see what we all thought.
Overall, I was surprised. As Lincoln becomes more well known and familiar to others in the East Midlands, different places and business are starting to recognise Lincoln as potential. Something like a Japanese Steakhouse is a gamble, but it could pay off. Its challenge is where it’s located mainly. I couldn’t see any way of ordering takeaway for the sushi which a friend had ordered. That looked amazing, as good as, if not better than what Kashii had beside the Waterside more than five years ago. Of course, where they’ve been in almost thirty years hasn’t been an issue, but for a new place like Ethan’s, and in an age where we want what we ask for in the next ten minutes, it’s a challenge. But if the food is constantly as good as it was on Friday, then people will make the effort.
I can see myself going to the Sushi Bar at lunch time, but with me, it is getting there which is the issue. The nearest bus is the number 44, and even then, that’s an additonal 10 minute walk, while a taxi is £6.10. But would you pay that amount for a casual lunch at Ethan’s for Sushi, then pay the same amount to head back if you didn’t have a car?
Looking again at the menu online, i’m still confused as to why there’s New York landmarks on it, alongside stating the same courses on each of the three mains. If each box was connected, it could remove some of that confusion, as I’m thinking a combo is just on its own, and not related to, for example, the Imperial course. Yet the ‘Ninja’ course has them in one box at the back of the menu, so it’s a bit jarring to read.
One more thing, is if there’s hopefully any plans of being able to book a table online or by e-mail. It’s a common occurrence for me to have my first name spelt wrong. I’ve counted up to 5 different ways so far in 27 years, so when there was a booking of ‘Darren’ when we arrived, it took my mobile number to match up the booking I made over the phone. It can be done with their hotel, while they encourage to contact them by an e-mail on the Ethan’s website, but there’s no mention to use it for a booking.
But regardless, it’s a good start, and I’ll be back again.
Mains – Shogun Course with additional Garlic Chicken Rice – £22.75
Drinks – Two pints of a soft drink – £7.00