Guam Diner Bytes: Uomaru Honten
There are a number of good Japanese restaurants on Guam and I always enjoy going to a new one for the first time. Uomaru Honten Japanese Restaurant is actually a surprising find. We were told about this by our friends, Hideto “Pancho” Yanase and his wife Sue, who own Kai Japanese Restaurant. They told us to go here since it is one of the late-night places they can go to after they close their restaurant.
That night we were staying at the Westin and wanted to explore the neighborhood. I’ve always noticed Uomaru since they first opened. They have a unique and distinct appearance, which is actually part of their brand image as this is a chain from Japan. It is brightly lit up inside, almost TV studio bright, and there are banners written in kanji all around the top walls. The tables and chairs appear to be made from pallets and wooden planks.
This is another trademark look for Uomaru. It’s kind of an energized Izakaya (Japanese pub) with a very large and full menu of traditional Japanese favorites. The menu has full color food photos of each item listed along with the pricing. There is a main dining room as well as an upstairs loft section, which can accommodate small groups.
We ordered a selection of different items starting out with Today’s Sashimi ($15), which had saba (mackerel), salmon, squid, maguro tuna, and another fish type I’d not seen in most local sashimi samplers. Everything was fresh and I enjoyed the abundant perilla (shiso) leaves on the plank. We also received our cold tofu ($5) and edamame ($4). Both of these were typical. The presentation of the Japanese pickles ($8) was novel, with six different pickled vegetables laid atop a plant leaf that was centered in a narrow long china platter.
Our order of the Assorted Tempura ($15) was served. There was onion, green bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, eggplant, squash, and carrots. This was just so-so. For really good tempura, go to Kanda’s Corner at Tentekomai. I also ordered the grilled salmon ($8), which came with some grated radish and lemon. It did seem kind of small and skimpy, but it was well cooked.
Zee needed more vegetarian so she was able to get a plate of cucumber maki (not on the menu, but doable for $6. I wanted to try their yakitori ($6) that they call grilled chicken. It had a nice sauce on it and was well cooked. I am on a quest for the best yakitori. Still looking!
I also ordered the grilled pork ($6). It as also just the pork cubed on a skewer. I ate it and did enjoy the sweet sauce and actually was ecstatic over my green pepper paste. I’ve been looking for this special green pepper for a while. It is also used at Kanda’s Corner with his fresh tofu.
All in all, this is definitely a great place to come with a small group to eat and drink beer, shoju, or sake. The dishes are served quickly and the service is pretty responsive. The typical 10 percent service charge is applied to your bill. I do agree with the Yanases about this being a great place for a late night meal with friends. We’ll have to try it with them some night!
Ita daki masu!
Ken “The Guam Food Guy” Stewart