3951 Summer Avenue
Before going to Nagasaki you must secure a copy of Friday’s Playbook (in the Commercial Appeal or free in dispensers downtown) and clip the “Buy One Get One Free” coupon. This will make the bill paying experience at the end of the meal much more enjoyable.
The monkeys (Satchel, almost 4, and Jiro, almost 2) get excited the minute we pull into the parking lot of Nagasaki. Once out of the car, they immediately begin to scale the diagonal beams that front the restaurant. Once dislodged, they head over to the bubbling brook and attempt to bathe themselves alongside the koi fish in the cool, clear water. Inside, they immediately begin negotiating for a giant gumball out of the machine by the front doors. The restaurant is usually full of other families and there is a nice buzz emanating from the tables. In other words, no one notices if the monkeys are a little wild from the get go.
Since Nagasaki is a Japanese steakhouse, there are a number of large tables that seat 8-10 people. While reservations are recommended, you are likely to get seated instantly if you are in a large group. Couples may have to wait for 6-8 other people to have a “full” table. There are a number of tables nestled into corners with low seats and seat cushions that are great for cornering the monkeys and reducing their natural instinct to climb the walls.
The main fare at Nagasaki is steak, chicken, or shrimp cooked on Hibachi grills by Tepanyaki chefs who entertain as they prepare the food. The “show” aspect of the meal makes it memorable to the monkeys—especially the finale where the chef sets the grill on fire.
Yes, on fire.
It’s not as scary as it seems, but beware, the Hibachis are on even before the chef arrives with the food. Luckily, I discovered this when my sister asked me to pass her a menu. I attempted to lob it across the table, but it landed flat in the middle of the grill. Within seconds it was sizzling. I removed it as fast as I could, but there was a layer of plastic bubbling when the hostess returned to our table. She gave me a mildly annoyed look before sending over one of the chefs to scrape the charred plastic off with a spatula.
“I take it this isn’t the first time this has happened,” I said to the chef who smiled knowingly.
The steak, chicken, or shrimp is served with miso soup, fried rice, grilled mushrooms, onions, and bean sprouts. The portions are hearty and delicious. My monkeys especially like the soup and the fried rice, but Warren and I are all about the meat—so succulent and tasty. The menu offers sushi and other Japanese favorites, but I have never strayed from steak, chicken, or shrimp. We only go to Nagasaki a few times a year, so I like to stick with their specialty.
My sister assures me that Nagasaki pales in comparison to other Japanese steakhouses in Germantown and Cordova, but I don’t believe her and I don’t plan on venturing out that way anytime soon. I’m a Summer Avenue girl.