Raw fish in the desert seems to scare some people, but with today’s fast deliveries and overnight express options, getting fish direct from the fisherman to the desert is no longer an issue.
For a long time, most sushi restaurants have been small mom and pop kind of restaurants; some tucked away in strip malls or smaller places with just a few tables.
Then Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise arrived in downtown Palm Springs. Owned and operated by Ramla Inc., which was founded in Tokyo in 1980, Ramla has grown into Tokyo’s third largest restaurant operator. First and foremost it is traditional but an Izakaya style Japanese restaurant: a place to unwind, have a drink, and a bite to eat after work with friends, family and business associates. To this end, Gyoro Gyoro is large, upscale, noisy and fun; filled with wood pilasters that make it feel warm, open, yet providing a very cool vibe.
Every time I go, I have a great time. The food is always fresh, inventive and more expansive than a traditional sushi restaurant. The service is attentive and welcoming; from the hostess out on Palm Canyon to the staff inside.
On a recent visit I noticed that they had changed up their menu a bit, but all of my favorites; along with a few new items were still available.
Since drinking is a part of the ‘Izakaya’ experience some hot Saki was a great way to kick off our evening. Normally we order the Chargrilled Shishito Peppers ($7.50) to start, but this time we went with the Shishito Peppers Stuffed with Spicy Tuna Tempura ($6.95). Wow. Three large Shishito peppers were stuffed with ground tuna and deep-fried with a light crispy tempura batter. Absolutely the right amount of spicy heat, creamy tuna and crunch.
In addition to the peppers we also shared the ever-popular Portobello Fries ($8.95). These are really delicious with strips of Portobello mushroom battered and deep-fried served with a nice wasabi mayonnaise. Plenty for two or more.
Wanting to try something new, this time I went for the Palm Springs Roll ($15.50) filled with Tuna, Crab, Avocado, and rice, served over a bed of arugula, scallions and chopped dates, drizzled with a spicy garlic sauce. This too was indicative of the quality of seafood used. The tuna and fresh real crab really complimented the avocado with just a little bit of the fresh scallions, while the arugula and dates made the dish taste like a Japanese take on a popular local salad.
My husband went for the signature Monrovia Roll ($14.50) that was filled with Tuna, Yellowtail, Salmon, Shoso Leaf and rice wrapped with a thin slice of cucumber. It had a wonderful light refreshing exquisite taste that burst in your mouth with a little crunch from the cucumber.
The servings are very ample, but I almost always want something sweet, and my husband just loves the Mochi Ice Cream ($5.50) so we indulged. He went with strawberry, chocolate and green tea ice cream balls that are served slice in half. Just a bite with the creamy ice cream filling the chewier mochi outer ring.
I had the freshly baked Miso Butterscotch Cookie ($5.50) that was topped with a scoop of sweet potato ice cream. Yum. It filled the spot.
On other occasions I’ve enjoyed Gyoro Gyoro’s Rice Clay Pots, Yakitori, Sashimi and soups. I’ve never been disappointed. With tables for two, a long sushi bar, and semi-private rooms for large groups, I’ve always had a great time at Gyoro Gyoro; my go to place for Japanese food in the desert.