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For this year’s Mothers Day celebration, I took my mom and my grandmother to lunch in Mishawaka, IN. We headed to Carrabba’s Italian Grill, but, of course, everyone did to. There was a 55-minute wait to dine in the Italian restaurant. Lesson learned, right? Book ahead.
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It’s lunch time and everyone’s hungry. Mom would even settle for the Steak and Shake across the road. As much as I love their shakes, not on Mothers Day though! So, I pulled out my phone and used the Yelp app. We scouted for nearby alternatives to fill our stomachs with yumminess.
Koto Casual Asian Dining is located in the corner of Main Street and Day Road where the former Daihido restaurant was. The ladies like Asian food. We haven’t tried it since it reopened. No brainer.
The establishment has a dedicated parking lot for its clientele.
As mentioned, Koto is now in the former Daihido building. Koto have utilized much of the existing decor including the Asian-inspired elephant statues.
Outdoor seating is also available if you want to enjoy your meal and the beautiful weather.
We were greeted by the hostess as soon as we walked in. The foyer is decorated with a lush pond with some gold fish in it. Having a water feature in the entrance of an establishment is believed to bring good luck in Asian culture.
It was a busy day for restaurants in the area but they were able to sit us within 5 minutes of being there. Although, we did not opt in for a Teppanyaki experience. There was only one other family waiting to try the Teppanyaki Grill and they were able to be seated within 10-15 minutes. All Teppanyaki Grill are full and several families were having fun.
The interior decor is pretty much Asian contemporary.
As soon as you walk in, you can smell yummy teriyaki meals being cooked in the Teppanyaki grill which is located in the first room. This is different from the former Daihido. They added 4 Teppanyaki grills in the front area. You can hear the chefs entertaining their guests while flinging their utensils midair.
We were seated in a booth and were still able to watch the ongoing Teppanyaki in the main room. The rooms are divided by a half wall of shelves adorned with tasteful Asian accents like bonsai and mini statues. The booth we were in was very comfortable and the table is huge. The lights were dim throughout the restaurant with 1 little lamp to add illumination hanging over our booth.
Most of the workers are of Asian descent, nicely groomed and courteous. Our server was prompt. However, it did take few moments to clarify certain things since my grandma orders hot water with lemon for her drink. Most patrons probably don’t. There was a little communication mishap there since he is not a native speaker of English nor are we. His patience and attentiveness without being intrusive was enough to make up for it. Overall, good service.
Either the owner or the manager is seen overlooking the operations. He did come by our booth to remind us of to be careful of Andy and the statues on the shelf. For those with kids, most of the statues are glued to the shelves.
Their bathroom facilities are similarly decorated, spacious and clean. A handicap stall and a baby changing station are available for those who need it.
For Mothers Day, they were only serving dinner. A lunch variation, which is half the cost of dinner, of their food is also available in the regular days.
The menu features usual favorites like hibachi, teriyaki and bento boxes. However, it does strike me as more of a Japanese restaurant than a fusion restaurant.
I was impressed how they also have a children’s menu available. Other Asian restaurants in the area don’t offer such even if the vast majority of people here are families. The kid’s menu offer chicken tempura and shrimp tempura with a side of fries. Milk or chocolate milk is included. I ordered chicken tempura with fries and choco milk for Andy. Mom ordered the steak teriyaki. Grandma wanted the shrimp tempura. I had the salmon teriyaki.
We each started off with the Asian Ginger Salad. The serving is smaller than we expected but was tasty. The sauce has the right tanginess and creaminess and not too overpowering. The greens only included lettuce and carrot shreds. I would appreciated it more if it has like cucumbers or green beans.
We ordered a Pearl River Roll. They wanted to try a sushi with cheese in it. This was made with shrimp tempura, eel sauce then cream cheese wrapped in seaweed. It tastes good but still doesn’t topple my go-to sushi Dragon Roll. Will I order it again? Sure. I’m disappointed with how it falls apart the moment you try to pick it up.
Then came our main dishes. Both teriyaki meals have the meats on a bed of sautéed shredded vegetables. The steak was perfect and tender yet juicy. The salmon came with 2 huge fillets. The shrimp tempura came with like 5-6 tails compared to the kids version which was 3.
The food was a great improvement to its predecessor Daihido, which I didn’t care for because of its cost. I only ate there once.
It’s location makes it easy to access and offers more than enough seating for its patrons however intimate or large your party is.
Koto Casual Asian Dining is a welcome addition to the growing culinary scene in Michiana. I will definitely be back to satisfy my sushi cravings.
Have you dined in this restaurant? How was your experience? Share in the comments below.