We follow an overhead trail of paper lanterns through Shogun Japanese Restaurant, past intimate tables and a teppanyaki grill – a flat iron griddle where chefs can flaunt their skills – to one of several tatami rooms. We take off our shoes before entering the private dining area – a must in Japanese culture – and settle atop green cushions on the wooden floor. A table is built into the floor, allowing us to swing our legs underneath it; no awkward yoga poses necessary for this eating-on-the-floor experience.
A low wall divider gives us privacy from the tatami beside us, but we can still hear laughter and clangs of spatulas hitting the teppanyaki grill, assuring we don’t feel too isolated. The many grill items mean even people who aren’t fans of sushi will find something to please their palates. However, it’s still the sushi and sashimi that really stand out at Shogun because it’s fresh and of high quality. Thick rectangles of fresh salmon, tuna or red snapper are perfect when paired with a squeeze of tart lemon or a splash of soy sauce.
A huge serving of seaweed salad pairs nicely with our meal, offering a healthy alternative to heavier dishes. But I prefer to get my intake of seaweed from the spicy tuna maki – raw tuna surrounded by rice and wrapped in seaweed, complete with a dollop of fiery sauce.(10125 121 St., 780-488-9757)