A friend and I made a visit on a recent Sunday evening to Miso Teriyaki House near the Kroger grocery store in Johnson City.
We were seated at one of the restaurant’s large, comfortable booths and were provided menus, as well as two complementary bowls of Miso Soup. This traditional Japanese soup consists of a stock called dashi into which softened miso paste is mixed. The miso paste is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting rice, barley and/or soybeans with salt and a fungus known as kojikin. The version at Miso Teriyaki House features a flavorful clear broth with a few pieces of tofu and snippets of green onions added.
A server soon arrived to take our drink orders. The menu at Miso offers a variety of teriyaki favorites and chef’s specials, as well as maki rolls, sushi platters, sashimi and nigiri.
The interior of the restaurant is intimate and stylish with walls painted in earthy tones of red and gold accented by black trim and black fabric curtains. Seating is provided at both tables and booths, as well as some chairs at a sushi bar. There’s also a covered dining terrace for outdoor dining which can also be enclosed for dining in inclement weather. Ornamental touches include framed calligraphic characters, a sculpture of a sumo wrestler, various wall hangings and a floral display arranged from bamboo sticks and cherry blossoms. Most of the decorative items are currently secondary to a festive arrangement of artificial cobwebs and other Halloween decorations.
We began the meal with some appetizers. Some of the selections listed on the menu included Crab Rangoon, Tempura Shrimp and Vegetables, Gyoza, Soft Shell Crab, Edamame and Tuna Tataki.
A number of maki rolls are also available, including Spicy Salmon Roll, Eel Roll, Spicy Crab Roll and a California Roll, which consists of a crab stick, avocado and cucumber.
The restaurant was offering some “Happy Hour” specials on its maki rolls, so we decided to try a couple of these as our appetizers. I chose the Philadelphia Roll, which consists of smoked salmon, cream cheese and avocado. My friend ordered the Spicy Yellowtail Roll, which features raw yellowtail, spicy mayonnaise and cucumber. Yellowtail, which is a type of fish also known as Japanese amberjack, is a highly regarded ingredient for sushi. We both sampled each other’s rolls and found them a great way to begin our meal.
Choosing a main course involved some additional decision-making. The menu offers some Special Rolls, as well as teriyaki dishes, Chef’s Specials and Bento Boxes, which are full meals served in compartmented enamel box trays.
I considered the Teriyaki Chicken Bento Box, as well as the Big Shrimp Teriyaki Dinner. I paid particular attention to the Chef’s Specials, especially the Scallops and Teriyaki Grilled Salmon before I veered off into a different direction and ordered the Tonkatsu. This dish, another of the Chef’s Specials, features panko-encrusted cubes of pork that are stir-fried and served with Tonkatsu Sauce, Fried Rice, Stir-fried Onions and Zucchini and a House Salad.
My friend considered the Yakiniku Bento Box and several of the Special Rolls before he decided on the Hawaiian Red Snapper, another of the Chef’s Specials.
Our Miso House Salads consisted of a blend of iceberg lettuce, purple cabbage, shredded carrot and croutons. Our server recommended the Ginger Dressing. The ginger gave this refreshing dressing a mild bite, which went really well with the salad.
Our entrees arrived quickly, and we were both very pleased. My friend especially raved about the Hawaiian Red Snapper. This dish features a stir-fry made from firm cubes of snapper and a medley of vegetables prepared in a sauce that gave the dish a nice, mildly citrusy tang. The fish was also seared on the outside to provide some additional texture. This dish also came with Fried Rice and a House Salad.
I also liked the Tonkatsu, and found that the pork had been very well prepared. As a final touch, both our dishes had been sprinkled liberally with sesame seeds and green onion snippets.
We decided to indulge in a dessert. The sweet options available included Fried Banana, Devonshire Cake and a variety of ice creams and cheesecakes. We ordered a slice of Dulce de Leche Cheesecake — a favorite of our server’s — to share. While this fusion of a Latin American- and European-styled dessert was perhaps an unusual offering at a Japanese-themed restaurant, this delectable treat provided a wonderful conclusion to a meal at Miso Teriyaki House in Johnson City.
Throughout the meal, our server, Codie, gave pleasant, attentive care to our dining needs. She was also good at pacing the arrival of our appetizers, the main courses and the dessert. We left Miso Teriyaki House pleased with an excellent meal. For diners interested in teriyaki-style meals or in freshly prepared sushi, this is a destination worth a try. If you go, let them know they were recommended.
AT A GLANCE: Miso Teriyaki House, 1811 W. State of Franklin Road, Johnson City. 975-MISO. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, noon-10 p.m.; and Sunday, noon-9 p.m. Dinner entrees range from $8-$18. Credit cards accepted. Carryout available. Full service bar available.