Happy Teriyaki in Lakewood reopened last week, two years after a fire destroyed the building in 2015.
I’ve had quite a few curious diners ask about the reopening of that city’s beloved teriyaki restaurant.
Here’s a quick look and a first-bite report. It’s this paper’s policy to skip criticism of food and service in a restaurant’s first month.
Concept: Whoa, Nelly! It’s among the fanciest teriyaki restaurants in the area.
This is not your typical fast-food teriyaki joint, at least not on the surface. If we’re talking menu, it’s just like many other local restaurants offering a hodgepodge of Japanese, Chinese, Korean food.
Dining room: The front door opens to a small sushi counter, with no seating, and an overhead menu behind that counter. Don’t fret, you don’t order at the counter unless you’re doing takeout.
Table service: Take a seat or a host will show you to a comfy booth along the front window or one of the two-and-four-seat tables spread across the dining room.
The decor: The dining room carries that industrial modern look that’s the trend of the moment.
There’s a very tall ceiling and what looked to be polished/etched concrete floors (warning: that style also tends to up the noise volume when a restaurant is at capacity).
Hanging paper lanterns give the impression that the lighting is a series of floating orbs.
It’s quite a dramatic look in concert with the dark-and-wavy accent tile that extends around the room along with oversized artwork.
A private-ish dining space with banquette seating at the back can seat about 18.
The eats: A broad something-for-everyone menu. Similar to the menu before the fire with a mix of fast-food teriyaki, a few classic Japanese entrees, bento, Chinese wok dishes, a long sushi menu and Korean soups.
Teriyaki: Seven versions. Standard chicken or chicken breast ($8.99 to $10.99), beef ($10.99), short ribs ($14.99), pork ($9.99), salmon ($14.99) and tofu ($9.99).
Appetizers: 20 choices ranging from barbecue pork ($6.99) to gyoza ($4.99 to $6.99) and tempura ($6.99).
Bento: Fusion mash-up. Bento comes in two choices, $13.99 to $15.99, with myriad mix-and-match items ranging from sushi to Chinese food.
Chinese: 14 wok dishes, plus combination meals with wok additions ($10.99 to $11.99), including almond chicken, honey garlic chicken, General Tso’s chicken, Szechuan beef, orange chicken, sesame chicken and more. Also, Chinese combination meals ($35.99, serves 3-4).
Sushi: More than 50 maki choices of cooked or raw sushi rolls ($5.99 to $13.99), plus nigiri and sashimi ($4.99 to $9.99) and chef selections of all of the above ($21.99 to $99.99 and up).
Korean: Bulgogi ($10.99), plus soon dubu ($8.99 to $9.99).
Lunch specials: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, $7.99 to $10.99 with 14 entree selections that includes chicken teriyaki ($7.99), yakisoba ($8.99), orange chicken ($8.99) or a bulgogi bowl ($9.99).
The owners? I left messages, but wasn’t able to verify if the owners are new or the same.
On a first visit: Try the sushi.
Tuna nigiri arrived as two fresh slices of raw tuna draped over rice ($5.99). A rainbow roll was built with a California roll base topped with fresh raw tuna, salmon, cooked shrimp and yellowtail in between slices of fresh avocado ($10.99).
A Dragon roll also paired a California roll at the base with a topper of cooked eel and the traditional unagi sauce ($12.99).
Chicken teriyaki was straightforward, as expected, and a dining bargain served as lunch combo with an egg roll ($7.99).
From the Korean menu, the grilled beef bulgogi bowl was a tangle of grilled beef flavored with a sweet-and-salty bulgogi marinade with stir-fried carrots and green onions over rice.
Where: 6007 100th St. S.W., Lakewood
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays