* Click here for rating key
Cafe Japengo Restaurant Review: Rather than stick with the status quo, this Pan-Asian/sushi restaurant continually updates the menu to maintain its reputation. Chef Jerry Warner has been in the kitchen since 1990; his sushi bar offers traditional and Cal-modern rolls and sashimi utilizing the freshest ingredients and creative presentation. Hot food chef Jay Payne prepares unique fusion fare showing influence from France, the Mediterranean and Asia. Together they have crafted a menu with something for everyone, including an extensive saké and wine list, exotic cocktails and a wide selection of international beer. Sushi aficionados won’t want to miss the Hawaiian roll topped with crispy tempura flakes or the protein roll, which eschews rice altogether and wraps shrimp, tuna and scallop in delicate soy paper. On the hot side, we like the Tokyo bites, a visually pleasing tempura-crusted combo of shiitake mushrooms, spicy tuna and crab. From the wok section, we recommend the shrimp and scallops with glass noodles and spicy ginger-peanut sauce, but not the braised short ribs with saffron fettuccine, as the meat is not tender enough. The roasted coconut chicken with fried rice and green curry sauce tops our list of favorites. Japengo’s chocolate lava cake is well-loved but chef Payne’s pan-fried bread pudding with poached Asian pears, caramel sauce and vanilla gelato is our dessert pick.