Thursday, March 18, 2010

Shono's Japanese Grill, Hoover

By Leigh Bratina

I recently had the opportunity to try out the new Shonos Japanese Grill located in the Old Walmart Shopping Center on Highway 31 (formerly Cici's Pizza was there). My parents had been telling me about the place and about Eddie, the owner. First, let me go on record as saying I LOVE Japanese food. I could eat it everyday, but in doing so I would break the bank. Why is Japanese food so expensive? I don't get it. However, at Shonos's, you and your wallet are in luck. Shonos is not the typical Japanese restaurant where you are seated at a large table with a bunch of strangers and the food prepared in front of you. AT Shonos Japanese Grill it is just that, a grill. Almost a Japanese Restaurant meets American Diner. When you walk in the door, you will first notice the grill in front of you, with owner Eddie carefully preparing orders. I went at lunchtime and the place was packed. We were seated in the back at one of the last 3 tables that remained. A quick look over the menu and I was relieved. Diners can order a la carte or as the entree. I stuck with my usual Japanese fair, the vegetable entree' for $5.50. Soon my garden salad with the ginger dressing was delivered. I found it to be very good, though somewhat heavy on the ginger, but very tasty. While I ate, I noticed the table next to me receiving their meals. I turned to my lunch companion and asked, "Do you get ALL that food?" "Yes!", she insisted. As I finished up my salad, our meals were brought out. It looked delicious. My meal of vegetables contained grilled teriyaki vegetables, containing zucchini, squash, mushrooms, onions and bamboo shoots. Also on my plate was a large helping of perfectly steamed rice. You have the option to order the steamed or fried, but I get the steamed because I am not fond of the egg in the fried. Though, I noticed my companions plate. Her rice appeared to not have any egg in it. She agreed that there was not any. I sampled hers....lets just say next time I will get the fried. It had a great flavor. She ordered the chicken entree at $5.95, and received all that I got on my plate with the addition of a hefty portion of chicken, for only 45 cents more. WOW!

If you are not looking for a large meal, as mentioned, al la carte is the way to go or there are some smaller dishes on the menu, such as the Teriyaki Bowls. The bowls are served with rice and the meat. The bowls are available in shrimp or chicken for 4.50 and 4.95 (shrimp) respectfully. The menu offers a great selection of choices. The only drawback to me was the absence of the ginger and mustard dipping sauces that you will find at the larger more upscale Japanese Restaurants. My friend did ask for a "white sauce". I tried it and found to be OK, but was certainly not the dipping sauces I craved. I do plan to go back.

When you do go into Shonos, be sure to chat it up with Chef Eddie. He is a funny man and has 27 years of experience in the business. He has lived all over, cooking up these delicious and affordable meals.

(If you are watching your weight, this is a wonderful place to eat, for the food is grilled and low in fat but not in taste. I highly recommend the vegetable entree')

*Leigh is a full time mother, a part time photographer and writer. Her photography and written work is featured in several professional business and local publications. She owns her own photography business, Photographic Memories. Leigh resides in the Alabama with her three children and husband "Big Daddy". You can read more of Leigh's daily adventures by visiting any of her three blogs: Tales from Bloggeritaville , Plates and Places , as well as Photographic Memories Shonos on Urbanspoon

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