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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Review of Ashibi Japanese Izakaya Restaurant Bangkok - Thonglor 18

Ashibi - Japanese Izakaya Restaurant Thonglor soi 18, Bangkok 

Overall Score  9.5/10
Taste   5/5
Ambiance  4/5
Service  4/5
Value   3.5/5

Ashibi - Japanese Izakaya Restaurant on BumRes.com

The Izakaya or Japanese Beer and Snack Shop in Bangkok – there are so many of them.  My favorite ones are Torajiro @ Sukhumvit 39, Nagiya @ Thonglor 13, and more.  After I have experience the Ashibi @ Thonglor 18, this Izakaya had just become the best one in Bangkok for me.  The food was delicious, nice presentation, good service, fast kitchen; everything was so great there.  Ashibi’s location is a bit out of place because the Soi Thonglor 18 leads to a dead end.  You have to know the place beforehand.  The Ashibi has been in business for 5 years and the place is still full every night.  The staff told me that there are 9 private rooms of different sizes.  Cheapest room cost 500 baht.  All of them get reserved every night, so reservation is necessary for big parties.  Ashibi has both smoking and non-smoking areas.  When I walked in there, I thought I was in Japan.  All the customers were Japanese.  I had to ask the staff; she said the restaurant only get about 5% Thai people.  Japanese knows well about what is best.  Ashibi must be the popular spot for Japanese people in Bangkok. 

The food at Ashibi @ Thonglor 18 is similar to any other Izakaya.  You will find all types of Japanese snacks; sashimi, frites, yakitori, etc.  If you saw the prices, you may think that it is expensive.  But, there is no vat or service charge.  And if you pay cash, you get 10% off.  Perhaps the Ashibi’s food is cheaper than other places.  Please see more details of food and price at the Ashibi in the tab menu. 

Prior to talking about the taste of the food, I want to say something about the choice of dishware to serve the food in.  I have gone to many restaurants that serve their small portion in huge plate for no reason.  Food container is definitely a factor for presentation and how customers enjoy the dish.  At Ashibi, dishware is specific for each menu.  And I think it had effect on how I enjoyed the food.  Anyways, I must say that every dish at Ashibi was super delicious.  A couple of them were extremely delectable – I was speechless.  Let’s talk about the greatest ones first.

Maguro Zuke (295 baht), which is the Blue fin tuna Sashimi with a special sauce.  I had no idea what it was; soy sauce and something else.  And there was quail egg and mountain potato (yamaimo).  Everything about this menu was perfect.  Each bite was memorable.  The fish was superbly fresh and the top notch preparation skill even made it greater – A-m-a-z-i-n-g !!  Second best was the Uzuku (220 baht), freshwater eel served with seaweed and other vegetable I didn’t know and some additional seasoning.  Again, super delicious – compare to typical fresh water eel in soy elsewhere, Uzuku was so much better.  Another speechless menu was also a fish menu (330 baht) with Japanese name.  Ashibi perfectly grilled this fish.  The fish was so fresh and so tasty.  Each chopstick bites were overly satisfying.  I normally order the grilled Hokke and this fish is more delicious than Hokke.   With the master grilling skill, this dish was “Oh So FIN!”

Other choices we had at the Ashibi were really enjoyable too but not as impressive as the first three dishes mentioned above.  Maguro Pepper Ponzu (395 baht) – at first glance, it looked a lot like beef carpaccio.  With the nicely seared technique and the delicious ponzu sauce with lime, this menu was also incredible.  Chikuwa Isobeage (160 baht) - I have had Chikuwa a few times.  Some were great and others were so so.  Chikuwa at Ashibi was too good to be true.  Next menu was the Nigiri Sushi (A) (1,050 baht).  Often times, I don’t expect much for Sushi at Izakaya because premium sushi bars usually serve higher quality fish.  Ashibi si an exception – their sushi was much better than any other Izakaya I have gone to.  Good portion of fish was given and the fish was quite fresh (however, not a great as premium sushi bar).  Last menu was the Omu Yaki Soba (200 baht), which was the most ordinary dish at Ashibi.  Presentation is like any other Izakaya.  And the taste wasn’t anything special, so this menu was just a filler of the meal.  

All in all, my dinner at Ashibi at Thonglor 18 was so magnificent.  The price was reasonable.  The service was above average.  The food came out quickly eventhough the place was full of customers.  I was there Wednesday night and the place was packed.  For any of you who love Izakaya style restaurants, Ashibi is the one of kind Izakaya that you can’t miss.  To be honest – in my Izakaya experience, I have had these menus at several places.  Ashibi surely served the best in town. 

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