Guam Diner Bytes: Issin Japanese Restaurant
We want to thank you for your continued readership and continuing interest in our restaurant commentaries and updates on Guam’s culinary scene. We hope all of you celebrated an awesome New Year and that you reveled in the fireworks displays that ignited the skyline and launched the New Year.
This year marks the turning of another page in our journal as we embark on another chapter in evolving saga of the island’s eateries. For those who are new readers, please browse through the vast archives of newsletters on our website to see past reviews and events that will bring you up to speed recent developments. It’s also a great way to take a virtual walk down our Guam Diner “Memory Lane” where you can get some historical perspectives.
Once again we welcomed the new year by observing a centuries old Japanese custom – eating a bowl of ozoni, the traditional “mocha” soup garnished with “yuzu” peel and “mitsuba.” Ozoni has the glutinous mochi rice cake in savory soup stock along with mushrooms, carrots, onions, and chicken.
The mochi is grilled in a broiler to soften it up and brown the outside, giving it a distinctive toasted rice taste. The bowls of ozoni cost $7.00 each. As this is not on the menu, it is a special they should have available. I had contacted Issin’s owner, Tom Iizuka, to order our ozoni for New Year’s Day lunch when making our reservation.
Zee ordered the Issin Bento ($25.00) and I decided on Issin’s Lunch Special Angus Steak & Shrimp Teppan-yaki ($25.00). We sat at a table in the sushi counter section that still afforded a view of the azure waters of Tumon Bay below. We sipped sake and marveled at the gorgeous orchids on the tables adjacent to the windows.
Our long time friend, teppan chef Jesse Borja, stopped by briefly and greeted us. It was deja vu! We munched on his crispy garlic chips and I savored the medium rare sirloin steak and juicy jumbo prawns. He takes such pride in his work and you can taste it with each bite!