I love a good salad, either as a light meal or a savory prelude to a grand repast. That said, however, salads do have a tendency to become boring: the same mix of greens, the same dressings, even the toppings can get more than a little tedious when they’re the same things over and over again.
Fortunately, giving salads a flavorful twist keeps them from becoming bland and uninteresting. Case in point are the appetizer salads over at Yabu: House of Katsu: they are anything but boring and throw both spice and excitement into your meal.
I’ve written about the wakame salad in a previous review: that nutty, crisp-chewy tangle of seaweed with a heady nuttiness from sesame oil and seeds, the flavors of the sea amped up by the sprinkle of tobiko [cod roe] on top which gives it a pleasant saltiness. But what really got my attention on this visit was the vividly red stuff in the bowl on the right: Yabu’s new iidako salad.
Iidako features baby octopus in a uniquely piquant dressing that gets much of its sprightly character from togarashi and a hint of shiso leaf. The dressing is sweet yet tangy with a nicely peppery finish that tickles the back of your throat a little as you swallow, but it’s not by any means an unpleasant sensation. The octopus itself is remarkably soft, tender, and its naturally sweet flavor goes beautifully with the dressing and the thin slices of crisp cucumber that go with it. Certainly something I’d order again. 🙂