Roka Akor is many things to many people. To some, it’s a sushi joint. To others, it’s a place for robata-grilled stuff. To most, it’s a place for shochu and sake. But for the rest of January, it’s a meat palace.
To celebrate what is now National Meat Month, Roka Akor is offering two special meat-flight menus. For the next couple weeks, you can choose to gorge on a Greater Omaha Prime Beef Tasting for $65 or dive into a delectable Wagyu Flight Tasting for $95.
The Omaha deal comes with four ounces each of prime filet, prime ribeye, and prime New York strip. They’re sliced up perfectly for table-sharing and come with a pair of sauces that you won’t really need. The Wagyu flight lowers the portion size to three ounces each but ups the quality ten-fold. You’ll try a Wagyu of the Japanese variety and another from New Zealand. The latter is a grass-fed ribeye cut that tastes, for lack of better words, clean and perfect. Chef Jason Alford says: “the only things that go into those New Zealand cows are water, sunshine, and grass.” And it tastes like it. Japanese Wagyu, on the other hand, simply melts in your mouth like butter. It’s as soft as sashimi, but you might feel an artery react once the fat kicks in. Again, both cuts are sliced up for sharing, but this flight comes with three salts for light coating (a little goes a long way).
So we went in to try these two flights and figured, hell, we’re here, we’ve got Chef Aaron May as our third wheel, we might as well make an event of it. As you can see from the picture, we were excited to be back after a long hiatus. Of the items we had, here are some standouts:
Grilled Kurobuta Pork Belly with marinated baby gold beets
At $12.50, this was the best value and possibly the best item that came to the table.
Japanese Wild Mushroom Rice Hotpot with shaved truffle
Let’s say we get another cold spell in AZ, then rush in for this $11 hotpot. Make a note.
Crispy Brussels Sprouts with housemade Japanese mustard and bonito
At $7.50, another value, and strangely a tie for best item.
Wagyu Gunkan with spring onion
You’ll get two pieces of the Wagyu sushi-type roll for $18. Not only is it delicious, but you’re just not going to get this anywhere else, so get it. Don’t let the whole raw meat thing scare you off. It’s good, trust us.
Shishito Peppers in housemade ponzu, topped with bonito
We say forego the $4.50 edamame and up the table snack $2 for these babies. They last longer and make the perfect in-between-bite bite.
Wagyu Beef and Kimchi Dumplings
Because what’s a meal without dumplings?
Rock Shrimp Tempura with sweet chili aioli
So, we debated between this $11 item and the big upgrade to a $60 Tempura Lobster. Although we’re sure the lobster’s delish, we went shrimp and we’re glad we did. These lightly fried fatties went down like popcorn, ironically.
Final tip: No matter how you order at Roka Akor (all sushi, all steak, all tempura, a mix), if you want to upgrade your meal to stratospheric levels, add a tuna flight. Start with it, end with it, or put it in the middle like we did, you’ll try all three Toros (O Toro, Chu Toro, and Toro) as well as Maguro (the non-belly one of the group). Adding this item is not only raises the quality level of your meal, it again, is the type of thing you’re just not going to do on a nightly basis. So do it!
Roka’s been around for ages, so we don’t have to describe the room or tell you that they’ve got shochu, but two things you should know: 1) the meat flights are only around until January 31st, so keep that in mind; and 2) if that’s too rich for your blood, they’re now doing all-you-can-eat grilling parties on the patio every Thursday for $25. Hit up their Facebook page for details: https://www.facebook.com/rokaakorscottsdale?fref=ts
7299 N. Scottsdale Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85258
Reservations avail thru CityEats: www.cityeats.com/phoenix/restaurants/roka-akor-scottsdale-phoenix
Courtesy of Eater AZ