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Renga-Tei in Lincolnwood

Renga-Tei in Lincolnwood
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  • Post #31 - April 11th, 2008, 7:51 am
    Post #31 - April 11th, 2008, 7:51 am Post #31 - April 11th, 2008, 7:51 am
    Jay K wrote:Since your bowl of rice is likely plain short-grain rice (vs flavored sushi-rice), it is there to accompany the other items on your combination tray, like the tempura and pickles. The sashimi is eaten as is - dipped in your condiment of choice (soy or soy & wasabi).


    Thanks. I'll be less clumsy next time. (I did attempt to get some rice with the fish. Not smooth.)
  • Post #32 - April 11th, 2008, 8:00 am
    Post #32 - April 11th, 2008, 8:00 am Post #32 - April 11th, 2008, 8:00 am
    The GP wrote:
    Jay K wrote:Since your bowl of rice is likely plain short-grain rice (vs flavored sushi-rice), it is there to accompany the other items on your combination tray, like the tempura and pickles. The sashimi is eaten as is - dipped in your condiment of choice (soy or soy & wasabi).


    Thanks. I'll be less clumsy next time. (I did attempt to get some rice with the fish. Not smooth.)


    I have asked for sushi rice with my "Combination D" before, allowing me to make ad-hoc chirashi. (I suppose I could have asked them to just give me chirashi). I don't know if there was an up-charge or not. I really don't have much use for the plain rice with the other stuff (tempura, sunomono).

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #33 - April 18th, 2008, 11:15 am
    Post #33 - April 18th, 2008, 11:15 am Post #33 - April 18th, 2008, 11:15 am
    eatchicago wrote:Last night I really couldn't make up my mind and I stumbled upon what I think might be the best deal on the menu: The $18.95 Combination "D".

    Dear Mr. Morowitz,

    I very much enjoyed, at your suggestion in this thread, Renga Tei's Combination D. Crisp tempura, with, as you note, two generously sized shrimp and veg, and, in addition to assorted salads and sides, nine gorgeous slices of sashimi, yellow tail was particularly good.

    Sashimi portion of Combination D
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    The Tony C approved Katsudon was delicious and plentiful and my bride is a fan of the Berkshire pork with ginger sauce.

    Katsudon
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    Berkshire Pork with Onion Sauce
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    Starters included killer hot fried oysters, nicely grilled squid and crunchy pickles (Tsukemono)

    Tsukemono
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    Grilled Squid
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    Thanks Michael, maybe not in the league of your turning me on to Tony's Three Chile Chicken, but a damn good suggestion none the less.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #34 - July 26th, 2008, 8:46 pm
    Post #34 - July 26th, 2008, 8:46 pm Post #34 - July 26th, 2008, 8:46 pm
    eatchicago wrote:Last night I really couldn't make up my mind and I stumbled upon what I think might be the best deal on the menu: The $18.95 Combination "D".

    Combination "D" consists of:
    -Miso soup
    -House salad
    -Sashimi (I had 2 or 3 pieces each of tuna, octopus, bonito, and salmon)
    -Tempura (2 big prawns and 3 or 4 pieces of vegetables)
    -A shrimp & krab sunomono (vinegared salad)
    -A helping of a mild pickled cabbage (I don't know the Japanese name)
    -Plain rice and plenty of shredded and grated daikon.

    Really an excellent, varied meal for a reasonable price. Next time I may ask for sushi rice instead of plain rice so I can have chirashi instead of sashimi.

    The only disappointment of the evening is that they were out of the excellent house-made orange jello.

    Best,
    Michael


    Today, I had the Bento Box "A," which, I believe was a dollar more and included the following:

    -Miso soup
    -House salad
    In the bento:
    -Sashimi (I had 2 or 3 pieces each of tuna, and two beautiful white fish (I think hamachi and a whitefish on a bed of seaweed with a shiso leaf)
    -Tempura (2 big prawns and 3 or 4 pieces of vegetables)
    -the shrimp & krab sunomono (vinegared salad)
    -A helping of a Napa cabbage salad
    -A mac/potato/egg salad
    -a little tower of goma-ae
    -Teriyaki chicken
    -2 fried gyoza
    -a fried chicken fling
    -Plain rice and plenty of shredded and grated daikon
    And, after the meal, a choice of ice cream (I chose the mango sorbet)

    This staggering amount of food arrived deftly and artfully arranged in a beautiful bento box. I can't begin to describe how full I am, and how much I enjoyed the food: each separate thing was a study in balance and flavors and textures. (I should mention that the tempura was a bit heavy, and I prefer goma-ae with a sesame rather than peanut base, but I'm splitting hairs) It was nothing short of spectacular and I ate every bit of everything.

    Sparky got too full on the edamame and one slice of the "Chicago Super-Crazy Roll" which we like, despite it's very American excess. He'd ordered Ikura and his favorite Inarizushi but couldn't finish the tofu. The 'spouse had a sushi combo platter which he enjoyed as well. We ended with the ice cream and cheesecake - as they were out of jello tonight, as well.

    This is becoming our favorite restaurant: it's got everything we like - good, thoughtful food, a pleasant atmosphere, nice music...thanks LTH!
  • Post #35 - July 31st, 2008, 1:14 pm
    Post #35 - July 31st, 2008, 1:14 pm Post #35 - July 31st, 2008, 1:14 pm
    hi everyone, first post. have been enjoying your recommendations for years though! just wanted to say that i had a beautiful meal here the other day- i'm a huge fan of hamachi-kama, broiled yellowtail collar. its always wonderful at renga-tei. also, their uni is the consistently freshest i have had in the city. when i worked at restaurant suntory back in the day (1996?) the japanese chefs always recommended this place to go eat, and i forgot about it until i read about it here. thank you lthforum.
    By way of the beehive the whole universe flows into man and makes us good, capable people... Rudolf Steiner
  • Post #36 - November 3rd, 2008, 1:53 pm
    Post #36 - November 3rd, 2008, 1:53 pm Post #36 - November 3rd, 2008, 1:53 pm
    I've been eating at Renga Tei since 1993. It had been a few years since my last visit but happily, it remains as great as ever. Last week, the wife and I met the G Wivs there for a stellar dinner . . .

    Image
    Renga-Tei - 3956 W Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood, IL


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    Large Kirin
    Split this with the missus.


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    Grilled Asparagus & Enoki Mushroom Salad
    Great flavors, textures and aromas. Wonderful, interesting dish.


    Image
    Tuna & Avocado Salad
    Exquisite tuna and rich, ripe avocado accented by a wonderful dressing, which incorporated miso and mayonnaise.


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    Grilled Squid
    Tender with just the right amount of resistance. I guess this could be described as al dente. Delicious.


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    Sashimi
    Mackerel, blue fin tuna and octopus, among others. I don't think words can describe how tender this was and how fresh it tasted.


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    Sushi
    A delectable assortment, which included California Roll with real Crab (special order), Horse Mackerel, Fatty Blue Fin Tuna and Eel. These pieces were wonderful and the Fatty Blue Fin was on a level all its own.


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    Salad
    Thoughtfully-prepared salad with quality greens and a snappy ginger-citrus dressing.


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    Spicy Tuna Roll Inside-Out with Masago
    I love this particular roll and I order it just about everywhere I can. This was pretty much the best rendition I've ever had and it was really spicy, which is not usually the case at most places. It was like tasting an old favorite for the first time.


    Image
    Salmon Yu-An Yaki
    Tender, moist salmon, with a nice sear, crispy skin and a wonderfully bright citrus-based marinade, which foiled the fat in the salmon very well. The veggies -- especially the broccoli -- were very well-prepared and delicious. They were tender without being mushy.


    Image
    Berkshire Pork
    Not a great picture but the pork was very fatty, almost bacon-like in appearance. It was very tender and tasty.


    Image
    Mackerel
    This oily fish can be a bit too much if it isn't well-sourced and expertly prepared. Here, it was both. A really sensational plate.


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    Cold Soba Noodles with Tempura
    Wonderful noodles, a tasty broth and top-notch tempura'd shrimp and vegetables, which were hot, crispy and light.


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    Orange Jello
    The semi-famous orange jello, which is a real treat. I loved how it lacked the fakey orange note, which is encountered in many lesser gelatins. The flavor notes here are smooth and mellow, like a juicy orange.


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    Candy
    Not only were we served these standard candies, but since it was Halloween, we also received small packets containing American candies, like Baby Ruths and Tootsie Rolls. Score! 8)


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    Dancing Witch
    Our Halloween muse, who followed Ms. Wiv to our table.


    There's not much to add about this place which, in spite of its well-deserved GNR status, probably doesn't get as much love as it deserves. Every aspect of our meal was excellent, including the friendly, informative and thorough service. The sushi, sashimi and maki served at Renga-Tei are all outstanding and the cooked dishes are distinctive and delicious, too.

    I won't make the same mistake of letting a couple of years pass before returning. In fact, I can guarantee that my next visit will be no more than a couple of weeks in the future. Renga-Tei is just too excellent to not have on my regular rotation.

    =R=

    Renga-Tei
    3956 W Touhy Ave
    Lincolnwood, IL 60712
    (847) 675-5177
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #37 - November 3rd, 2008, 2:10 pm
    Post #37 - November 3rd, 2008, 2:10 pm Post #37 - November 3rd, 2008, 2:10 pm
    Ronnie, those are some killer pictures!

    Renga-Tei (formerly Koto) has been on my radar since about 1980. There were different owners back then, but the attention to detail & freshness was present then as well as now, a great tradition for nearly 30 years.

    Recently I was able to A/B the saba shioyaki (mackerel in salt) at Renga-Tei and at my favorite far north suburban Japanese restaurant, Hayashi in Gurnee. There was no comparison--Renga's version (check Ronnie's pic) is fishy-tasting, as mackerel is, but in such a fresh way that you only taste the sea, health & Omega-3's. And only one bone too!

    I think if Renga-Tei wanted to upscale their place Katsu-style, they could give 'em a run for their money, but I am perfectly satisfied with a restaurant that comes as close to that culinary nirvana of 'everything being good' as any place I've ever visited.
  • Post #38 - November 3rd, 2008, 6:15 pm
    Post #38 - November 3rd, 2008, 6:15 pm Post #38 - November 3rd, 2008, 6:15 pm
    I very much enjoyed my last trip to Renga-Tei. My many standard orders were well executed: hamachi collar (they also offer salmon collar from time to time), seaweed salad, tempura udon and others.

    I have to say that I will not be getting the orange gelatin again. Gritty is how I would describe it (although I suppose you could go with "flavor crystals"). The texture was off-putting for someone expecting a smooth gelatin. And the flavor was not quite as fresh-orange tasting as I have read here.

    I would have preferred the orange slices on their own.
  • Post #39 - November 3rd, 2008, 10:28 pm
    Post #39 - November 3rd, 2008, 10:28 pm Post #39 - November 3rd, 2008, 10:28 pm
    gastro gnome, I'm inclined (though I have no proof) that the orange jello gets its texture and some of its flavor from pears, possibly canned pears - if you don't like pears in jello you probably won't enjoy it. However, you might still like the lime "cheesecake," which has a silky gelatin texture more like you describe.

    We really need to get back to Renga-Tai - so many GNRs, so little time...
  • Post #40 - November 3rd, 2008, 10:38 pm
    Post #40 - November 3rd, 2008, 10:38 pm Post #40 - November 3rd, 2008, 10:38 pm
    I can't say I experienced any of the grittiness to which gastro gnome refers but I was really full and only had a few bites. And really, I'm not a huge fan of jello to begin with. I just thought this particular jello had an easy-on-the-palate flavor that distinguished it from other, standard stuff I've had the displeasure to have eaten. The bottom line, though, is that there are many great reasons to dine at Renga-Tei, even if you don't count the orange jello as one of them. :wink:

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #41 - November 4th, 2008, 4:42 pm
    Post #41 - November 4th, 2008, 4:42 pm Post #41 - November 4th, 2008, 4:42 pm
    Lest my post be taken for negative, I very much like this restaurant and will return.

    My comment was only an additional gelatin data point (GDP).
  • Post #42 - November 4th, 2008, 5:01 pm
    Post #42 - November 4th, 2008, 5:01 pm Post #42 - November 4th, 2008, 5:01 pm
    gastro gnome wrote:Lest my post be taken for negative, I very much like this restaurant and will return.

    My comment was only an additional gelatin data point (GDP).

    LOL, understood. :D

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #43 - November 5th, 2008, 1:35 pm
    Post #43 - November 5th, 2008, 1:35 pm Post #43 - November 5th, 2008, 1:35 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I won't make the same mistake of letting a couple of years pass before returning. In fact, I can guarantee that my next visit will be no more than a couple of weeks in the future. Renga-Tei is just too excellent to not have on my regular rotation.


    I couldn't agree more. This is my favorite Japanese restaurant (and pretty close to my favorite restaurant, period). This place does all the little things to enhance the dining experience. By that, I not only mean keeping my water glass full and quickly providing extra rice during the meal, but the chopped walnuts in the house salad, the outstanding miso mayonnaise for the broccoli, the sugar around the glass containing the orange jello, etc.

    Thanks for the great pictures, Ronnie. If you haven't tried the katsu curry on Fridays, I highly recommend it. Also, if kampachi is on the menu, in whatever form, get it. I had half of a head and neck that was grilled similar to the yellowtail collar, and it was fantastic. If they ever have it on the specials menu again, I'm ordering two!
  • Post #44 - November 5th, 2008, 5:03 pm
    Post #44 - November 5th, 2008, 5:03 pm Post #44 - November 5th, 2008, 5:03 pm
    gastro gnome wrote:Lest my post be taken for negative, I very much like this restaurant and will return.

    My comment was only an additional gelatin data point (GDP).


    While a gelatin data point is always welcome, I think your experience sounds like an aberration. I eat that jello frequently and I would never describe it like you did.

    My wife, who abhors jello, will often steal a few bites of mine because she says "it just tastes good".
  • Post #45 - November 22nd, 2008, 7:44 am
    Post #45 - November 22nd, 2008, 7:44 am Post #45 - November 22nd, 2008, 7:44 am
    a couple questions about Renga Tei before we possible visit today

    1) I saw a picture of Kirin beer on one of the posts, do they serve beer, or did someone byob?
    2) are reservations recommeneded /accepted for a meal around 6:00 p.m. today
    3) I saw the price on combination dinner "D"(looks like a good price for the ammunt of food), does anyone know how much combination dinner "A" runs?

    thank you
  • Post #46 - November 22nd, 2008, 7:54 am
    Post #46 - November 22nd, 2008, 7:54 am Post #46 - November 22nd, 2008, 7:54 am
    Jim,

    Renga-Tei serves beer.

    Reservations for 6pm on a Saturday night are probably unnecessary, but I'd recommend making them just in case.

    No idea on the cost of A.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #47 - November 22nd, 2008, 7:56 am
    Post #47 - November 22nd, 2008, 7:56 am Post #47 - November 22nd, 2008, 7:56 am
    thanks gary,

    what would you guess the average price of most entrees, and appetizers to be? I am just curious.
  • Post #48 - November 22nd, 2008, 9:11 am
    Post #48 - November 22nd, 2008, 9:11 am Post #48 - November 22nd, 2008, 9:11 am
    I am not sure about 6 PM, but whenever I arrive after 7, I have always had to wait at least 10 minutes. The waiting area is small, located immediately next to the door and it can get crowded.

    I'd reserve.
  • Post #49 - November 22nd, 2008, 1:43 pm
    Post #49 - November 22nd, 2008, 1:43 pm Post #49 - November 22nd, 2008, 1:43 pm
    jimswside wrote:what would you guess the average price of most entrees, and appetizers to be? I am just curious.

    Appetizers average $5 or so, if I recall correctly. The combinations are around $20 and contain an unbelievable amount of food. The weekday lunch specials are an even better deal.
  • Post #50 - November 23rd, 2008, 7:13 am
    Post #50 - November 23rd, 2008, 7:13 am Post #50 - November 23rd, 2008, 7:13 am
    I loved Renga-Tei, we had a great meal here last night. Very nondiscript place in a strip mall, I passed by it, and had to loop back to find it. Seemingly plenty of parking since the restaurant was packed at 6:30 when we arrived. We called ahead for a reservation, and I was happy I did, while we were waiting a minute or so for the table to be set, a few other people came in and were given a questioning look when they stated they did not have a reservation, and it would be at least 40 minutes. I liked the layout of the restaurant, a sushi bar up front, and a welcoming dining room.

    I started off with one of the large Kirin ichiban beers and ordered some California rolls(rolled in fish eggs), as well as (2) pieces of the King Crab nigiri. The cold beer hit the spot, and soon to follow came the appetizers. The King Crab nigiri was excellnt, large chinks of king crab claw meat, rice, and a ribbon of seaweed. The California Rolls were excellent as well. The ingredients fresh, and the tasty fish eggs a nice little pop of flavor, and texture. As main dishes we ordered combo A - $14.95. Which came with soup, salad, teriyaki beef, and chicken, as well as rice, shrimp & vegetable tempura. We also ordered soba noodles stir fried with beef.

    Combo "A" - very good, the beef cooked medium rare, and the chicken perfectly cooked as well topped with a teriyaki sauce with sesame seeds. The tempura shrip was also good, but the tempura coating for the shrimp tasted a little oily, still very good though.

    Soba Noodles stirfried with beef and veggies - this dish was a hit with me, and I am very glad we ordered it. flavorfull beef, loads of seemingly grilled veggies served amongs some very tasty noodles.

    Not the most adventurous of menu selections but what we did have was excellent, maybe on future visits we will venture further out of the box.

    Total tab with tip for the menu items described above, and (2) large Kirins $72.00. WIth plenty of leftovers for this morning. Between our visit to Cemita's for a late afternoon snack, and then a nice dinner @ Renga-Tei for dinner, we went 2 for 2 yesterday in regards to food.

    Another worthy GNR.
  • Post #51 - December 15th, 2008, 11:53 am
    Post #51 - December 15th, 2008, 11:53 am Post #51 - December 15th, 2008, 11:53 am
    Very pleasant dinner at Renga-Tei last night after a long day of stimulating the economy.

    I went with the much lauded combo D and the wife had the tempura udon. Everything was just as good as advertised. The sashimi in particular that came with my combo (tuna, yellowtail, snapper) was outstanding. The wife's tempura udon was tasty, with perfectly toothsome and slurpable noodles.

    I'm not sure I would make a special trip for Renga-Tei (the sashimi compared favorably to what I've been getting at Ponzu), but if I'm in the area in the future I would definitely make it a stop.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #52 - December 15th, 2008, 1:18 pm
    Post #52 - December 15th, 2008, 1:18 pm Post #52 - December 15th, 2008, 1:18 pm
    We went to Renga-Tei for dinner on Saturday, our second visit. With RAB and I in the city and Mom in Skokie, it's a good place for us to meet. Both times we ordered Bento B, Katsudon, and assorted sushi.

    Bento B includes soup, salad, sashimi, sunomo, one roll, gomae (or another option I don't recall), assorted small side dishes, and a dessert. I'd say the Bento B was much better on our first visit than the second. RT changes the accompaniments and we preferred what was on offer the first time to the second time (RAB really didn't like the macaroni salad and the gyoza were barely warm). Given that diners can't choose which side dishes they'd like, I think we may skip the bento boxes next time and just order a la carte.

    RAB is a fan of Katsudon. While he enjoys RT's version, it's not his favorite. The pork is plentiful and tasty. But, because the pork sits directly in quite a bit of broth, rather than on a bed of rice (rice served on the side), the pork's breading gets soggy quite quickly. Despite these shortcomings, RAB is likely to order again.

    The nigiri and maki sushi have been good. On Saturday, in addition to the sashimi with Bento B, I tried ama ebi, uni, ikura, and hotategai (all nigiri). All were wonderfully fresh and flavorful. The fried shrimp head was served hot and with a lemon slice. The only miss was the flounder included in Bento B.

    For rolls, we tried the special spicy tuna roll and the spicy scallop roll. Interestingly, the two rolls are about the same price, yet the tuna roll is prepared inside out and at least double the size of the scallop roll. In other words, the spicy tuna roll is by far the better value. In any event, both tasty.

    Service on both visits was efficient. Saturday's server was friendlier and more patient that the woman who helped us the first time.

    Bottom line, RT is a tasty, fresh, reasonably-priced sushi spot. It's especially reasonably-priced when you order some cooked food and stay away from the by-the-piece nigiri.

    Ronna
  • Post #53 - February 20th, 2010, 9:13 pm
    Post #53 - February 20th, 2010, 9:13 pm Post #53 - February 20th, 2010, 9:13 pm
    We ate at RT tonight with my daughter and her Japanese exchange-student roommate, home from college for the weekend. Her roommate had a great time--liked the food, enjoyed hearing and speaking Japanese--and we happily consumed great quantities of delicious food.

    My Combo D was delayed because the sushi chef was backed up, and eventually the server brought it without the sashimi portion but with many apologies. When the sashimi came, it was very good, and I had plenty of other things to eat in front of me. They very kindly then comped me a fabulous dessert new to me--coffee jello! I highly recommend you try it if it is on offer next time you are there. I had no camera, but first it is beautiful to look at. A dish of deep brown jello, most of which is covered with a layer of cream leaving only an s-shaped curve of brown (reminiscent of an off-center yin/yang, if you can imagine that), surrounded by sugar on the lip of the dish. The jello tastes of good coffee but cold and smooth and is complemented by the unctuous cream. Our Japanese guest said this is a familiar dish in Japan. I could eat this often.
  • Post #54 - April 12th, 2012, 3:49 pm
    Post #54 - April 12th, 2012, 3:49 pm Post #54 - April 12th, 2012, 3:49 pm
    Renga Tei was at the top of their game yesterday. It's a lovely place to go with a mixed group, because they have wonderful sushi for the sushi fans, great cooked food for those who eschew raw fish and both exotic and "safe" dishes, all of which are very good.

    Grilled saba mackerel, chirashi sushi and grilled ribeye were all beautiful, as was the delightful fresh-orange jello for dessert.

    If this place has fallen off your radar, you owe yourself a visit.
  • Post #55 - April 12th, 2012, 7:54 pm
    Post #55 - April 12th, 2012, 7:54 pm Post #55 - April 12th, 2012, 7:54 pm
    I had dinner here a couple of Friday's ago. Showing up around 6:30 with no reservation got us 2 seats at the sushi bar, which I did not mind. My friend lives in the area and she and her husband are frequent diners (although not reservation makers and so usually end up at the bar).

    She raved about the sushi and she was right. We shared a couple of maki rolls and she had the tuna sashimi dinner, aka all the tuna a big eater could eat (and still give me 2 slices). The maki really was outstanding, as the rice was at the perfect temperature and the nori was like butter. I enjoyed the miso soup and the tsukemono. Where the dinner came crashing down for me was the Ten Don, a dish I normally enjoy. The photos here of the light, crispy tempura are breaking my heart--mine had heavy, leaden breading. On one of the starchier veg, it was hard to tell the difference between the batter and the sweet potato. I asked for some dipping sauce and was informed it was already in the bowl. Some searching revealed perhaps a teaspoon of tempura sauce at the bottom of the bowl. Now I'm not an over-saucer, but a dish that large needs a two-teaspoon minimum. And her delivery of the info came with a side of wtf. Yes, I know I could have insisted. Normally, I'm pretty adept at getting what I want, but this didn't seem worth it at that moment.

    Other servers were attentive (for sake, beer, water and tea) and people were pleasant. I almost went for the grilled mackerel and if there's a next time, I will. Or maybe we'll stick to sushi/sashimi. The sushi chefs certainly knew what they're doing.
  • Post #56 - June 26th, 2012, 9:26 am
    Post #56 - June 26th, 2012, 9:26 am Post #56 - June 26th, 2012, 9:26 am
    I took my mom to Renga-Tei on a Sunday evening. We started with the goma-ae, which I agree with everyone, is fantastic. The spinach is chopped in stalks and rolled into three portions that you can easily pick up with chopsticks. I was surprised that the sesame dressing was thick. It was very flavorful. We also had the edamame, which was pretty standard, but it came in a nice little basket plate.

    The miso soup and salad were very good. Fresh and not too salty. I loved the ginger dressing on the salad. For my entree, I had the chirashi. There are two sizes, and I chose the Matsu (large), which comes with three extra pieces of premium sushi. When the waitress told me one of the pieces would be uni, I jumped to order it. The chirashi was excellent - generous portions of fish, and the sushi vinegar rice was not overwhelming. I also ordered the udon stirfry, which was on the specials menu. This dish was a miss for me, and I take full responsibility for ordering something Chinese at a Japanese restaurant. The sauce was overwhelming and goopy and most disappointing was the choice of vegetables in the stirfry - huge hunks of red peppers. It was like an Americanized Chinese stirfry. We also ordered the udon soup with fish cake. They only give you two little slices of fish cake, which looked small in comparison to the larger portions of chriashi and udon stirfry. The broth itself was very mild and almost bland, but a shake of the Japanese chili spices that come with the soup fixed that quick. Great complement to the soup. All in all, I really enjoyed our meal and would gladly come back if I'm in the neighborhood.
  • Post #57 - July 1st, 2013, 9:16 am
    Post #57 - July 1st, 2013, 9:16 am Post #57 - July 1st, 2013, 9:16 am
    I managed to knock off a few LTH faves this past trip that I'd never gotten to, and Renga Tei was one of them. I wish I'd seen the curry special before I ordered, but I'm more than okay with what I got.

    Image

    Really nice, simple agedashi tofu... silky, molten tofu, a lightly crisp exterior, good dashi with a sprinkle of bonito and scallions... homey and delicious.

    Image

    Ditto the unadon. Nothing fancy, just a big slab of glazed, broiled eel with plain rice and some killer tsukemono. I... uh... like a lot of sansho.

    I love this kind of homey Japanese cookery. Nothing fancy, just really, really nicely done. I routinely crave this stuff, and man, if this place were close to home I'd be here all the time.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #58 - August 29th, 2014, 9:24 pm
    Post #58 - August 29th, 2014, 9:24 pm Post #58 - August 29th, 2014, 9:24 pm
    Terrific meal at Renga Tei tonight with petite_gourmande--all of my favorites--tuna tataki with terrific ponzu sauce; wonderfully sweet and fresh uni with calamari and seaweed; tempura fried burdock, shrimp & shiso; broiled salmon collar; and we each ordered a few pieces of sushi. Everything was as good as every other time I've been--I truly adore this place and hope it's still getting its share of LTH love.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #59 - August 30th, 2014, 5:16 am
    Post #59 - August 30th, 2014, 5:16 am Post #59 - August 30th, 2014, 5:16 am
    Renga-Tei still holds up well, no doubt, in spite of the horrendous construction around the Touhy/Crawford intersection. I've been frequenting there since 1980, and never have I seen the traffic bollixed up this way. But it being in my former stomping ground, I've found that a good work-around is to park on Jarlath, the east-west side street directly to the north of Renga-Tei, and thus it's a short walk to the restaurant, and easy-out post-meal. Can't tell if it's hurting their business--one weekday lunch it's fairly slow, the next out-the-door bombed.

    Prices have risen a bit recently, but if the quality remains this high, I certainly don't mind--it's still a deal. Lately I have been partial to the simple but flavorful saba shioyaki, broiled & lightly salted mackerel. Best version around. A buddy's wife craves their potato salad, which is served as a side accompaniment with most entrees. I think it's good, she loves it.
  • Post #60 - August 30th, 2014, 4:30 pm
    Post #60 - August 30th, 2014, 4:30 pm Post #60 - August 30th, 2014, 4:30 pm
    And for those needing progressive Japanese imperialism, like my now deceased immigrant mother, let's not forget Rengai Tai is Japanese owned, run and spoken there. Unlike many other Japanese eateries around town. 8)

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