Restaurant Review: Harusame

There is more to Japanese cuisine than just sushi and on a recent trip to Harusame I got the full culinary experience.

Restaurant: Harusame
Address: 2371 Haverford Rd. Ardmore, PA 19003
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Style: Eat-In / Take-Out
Food: Japanese & Sushi
Atmosphere: Asian Inspired
Service: Welcoming & Accommodating
Price Range: $10 - $20
Parking: Street Parking
Unique Feature: Harusame offers some extraordinary sushi rolls and a full Japanese menu as well.

When I think of Chinese food, the variations are nearly endless. But when I think of Japanese food, my mind goes straight to sushi. Not incorrectly, of course, but there is more to Japanese cuisine than just sushi and on a recent trip to Harusame I got the full culinary experience.

My friend and I were seated in a booth at the window. Our server got us started with menus and beverages, an iced tea for my friend and a pot of green tea for me.

We looked over the menu. Lately, I’ve been trying to branch out of my comfort zone and order different things. Not that I don’t like the usual stuff, but the experience of trying to describe a wonton wrapper more than two or three times has become problematic.

We chose an order of Edamame and a Beef Negimaki from the appetizers, a Washington Roll and a Fire Roll from the sushi rolls, a BBQ Spare Rib Bento Box, and the Chicken Katsu Don. I’d never heard of Katsu Don, never seen it, and had no clue what I would find when it arrived. But I was going for it regardless.

While we snacked on our edamame, which could’ve used a little more salt, I took in the atmosphere. The dining room was a mix of black leather and wood, decorated tastefully with Asian inspired lanterns and lucky bamboo plants.

Our server arrived with a cup of Miso Soup. She set it down in front of me. I’d always opted for wonton, so I really had never tried miso. My friend explained the varieties of miso, color, texture, and flavor: a fermented bean curd paste that doesn’t actually dissolve. I gave it a go. The tofu that floated in the broth looked and tasted like little marshmallows, but it did little to mask the fermented bean flavor that hit my nose. I tried again, getting a bit of the seaweed in the next bite. Better, but not my cup of tea. I passed it off to my friend to enjoy. Moments later, our server was back with another cup, it came along with what we ordered. I smiled, and passed that one to my friend as well.

The beef negimaki was very nicely plated, little glazed wheels of beef and scallion placed standing on its ends. The flavor of the glaze was nice and the meat was tender, but the green onion seemed to have absorbed too much liquid and was a little mushy.

The sushi was out next. Our first roll, the Washington was a crispy fried shrimp tempura, with crunchy cucumber, wrapped in rice, and creamy avocado and then topped with a flavorful and meaty octopus and crab salad. The topping made it hard to dip into the soy sauce, but the flavor was amazing. The Fire Roll was very nice as well. A California roll, topped in tuna and a dab of the chef’s “spicy sauce.”

Finally, came the moment of truth. The BBQ Spare Rib Bento Box and the Chicken Katsu Don arrived. The bento box was a very nice portion; a dozen meaty, bone-in ribs on one plate, a fresh salad dressed in ginger on another and a perfectly good California roll that now paled in comparison to what we just enjoyed on another.

 The Chicken Katsu Don arrived in a little pot with a lid, all its own. Not knowing what to expect, I lifted the lid to reveal what looked similar to an omelet.

Thin chicken breast was breaded, and sliced, mixed with green onion and fluffy egg and finished off with shreds of seaweed. The entire mix was then served atop a bowl of white rice. The dish itself was odd, but fun and interesting at the same time. Initially, the flavor of the rice tasted a bit too much like the container it arrived in, but as the rice-cooker taste wore off, the dish was quite nice. There was enough to take home. I think I enjoyed it better the second day.

We finished the meal with green tea ice cream, paid the $61 bill and were on our way. I look forward to going back to Harusame. The price was great, the portions large and the fish was fresh. 

Plus, I hear they have great lunch special.


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