December 9, 2005, Volume 5 Number 48
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
It has been a phenomenally busy week!! My Saipan trip was enough adventure for three newsletters and quite frankly, it is because of my intense work schedule this past week that this will be an abbreviated newsletter.
The big story this week is the long-anticipated re-opening of Genji, the legendary Japanese restaurant at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa that was closed by Super Typhoon Pongsona three years ago. The Thursday VIP Reception at Genji was the official "welcome back" appreciation party for the island's "A" list and the media. It was a festive occasion, with shochu cocktails and teppan chasers galore, as well as shabu-shabu, tempura, sushi, and fresh sashimi.
The Genji re-opening represents a milestone and a major turning point for our island's hospitality industry, which will start to see some significant investments in re-furbishing properties and in the creation of new restaurant outlets and other facilities. It has been a tough time, and the Hilton team is to be commended for bringing us back the Genji. In fact, it's not the same Genji, so we may need to call it the new and improved Genji, since even the logo and identity has been updated.
This week's review is on a dinner we had at the Genji on a previous Friday night during the soft opening week. It was easy to notice the difference between old and new, from the past to the present, and to register new taste and flavor sensations. This new Genji offers more than the old Genji, with a menu featuring teppan creations and sushi flights that reflect the stylistic presence of Genji's Chef de Cuisine, Kunihiko Hamada. What really excites those in the know are the new items that Chef Hamada will be adding to the menu in the near future. It's really a matter of waiting, even for just a few weeks, which is nothing compared to our long three year wait! Welcome back, Genji!
Ken, The Guam Food Guy
In Today's Issue:
- Wedding in Paradise - Hospitality Couple Wed in Saipan
- Roy Yamaguchi's Visit - Special Dinner Menu and Cooking Class
- Christmas Specials - Palm Cafe and Sereno's are First
- This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter
- Genji Returns - "New" Legendary Japanese Restaurant Dazzles Diners
Wedding in Paradise - Hospitality Couple Wed in Saipan
It was a picture perfect day in paradise which bode well for Yoshimi Kodama and Ken Yanagisawa, who were recently married at a private wedding service and reception at Saipan's Aqua Resort Club. Family and friends travelled from various parts of the world for this special wedding, which is the culmination of a blooming romance between two people who can honestly say they've experienced "love at first sight". Yoshimi has been with Aqua Resort for a few years serving in the Food & Beverage Department before taking on a Sales & Marketing position. Ken is a director with the Ken Corporation, which acquired the Aqua Resort Club as well as Guam's Pacific Island's Club. The two met in Saipan and were immediately "smitten" with Cupid's arrow! We were delighted to have been invited to attend. (The photo taken includes the bride and groom along with Ken's father, his nephew, and Yoshimi's mother.) We wish them a lifetime full of love, laughter, and an ever-deepening bond that connects them together as one.
Roy Yamaguchi's Visit - Special Dinner Menu and Cooking Class
The legendary Roy Yamaguchi, founder of Roy's Restaurants and one of the original pioneers of the Hawaiian Regional Cuisine movement, is back on Guam to share some of his culinary creations in a series of Special Dinners December 8-10. Also scheduled for his visit is a Cooking Class and Lunch on Saturday December 10, from 11am- 2pm. The cost for the class is $50 per person ($45 for Special Premium Club Members). For more information, call 646-DINE
Christmas Specials - Palm Cafe and Sereno's are First
We expect many more Christmas specials to be added in the next few days so be sure to check back at the site to see more offerings. Not missing a beat, the Outrigger Guam and Sereno's Italiano Ristorante are first with their various specials including Champagne Brunch Buffet and a Christmas Prime Rib & Crab Buffet at the Palm Cafe. Sereno's which has such a great view of Tumon, will offer a special menu which includes such Holiday specialties as Peppercorn Steak or Stuffed Chicken with Goat Cheese, Mushrooms and Spinach. Their ala carte menu will also be available.
This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter
December 10 2004 Vol 4 No 50
Restaurant Reviewed: Tian Tian Chinese Restaurant - Where Two Wongs Make it Right!
Guam Girl Scout Tree Sale Starts This Weekend
Tulong Kabayan Guam - Typhoon Relief Organization Accepting Donations
Genji Returns - "New" Legendary Japanese Restaurant Dazzles Diners
The wait is over! Genji Japanese Restaurant at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa has re-opened its doors to local residents and visitors in what has been the most anticipated restaurant return in memory. Although the Hilton maintained a hybrid version of Genji in Roy's for lunch service, it could never replace the true Genji experience. Everyone knew that it was just a matter of time until Genji re-occupied its original location, yet no one would know until now the degree of Genji's restoration, which is a transformation from a more traditional Japanese aesthetic into an streamlined and modern upscale look.
It's not just a new look that Genji sports...it has a new "feel", which has more to do with one's inner senses. A soothing power emanates from the concentric patterns on Genji's walls, much like pondering life while in a Japanese rock garden. There are many design elements using light, color, stone, and wood, that also contribute to this new look and feel. Upon entering Genji, you have several seating options. You can sit at the elevated sushi counter which is just to the left of the entrance, or you can sit in one of several dining areas that have tables and chairs (one is in the front and another is in the far back of the restaurant). There are also elegant private dining rooms. The most popular spots are at the Teppan counters, of which there are three (each seating as many as 16 people). The sushi counter also serves as the bar, and has the island's largest selection of premium sakes and shochus, as well as a selection of fine wines.
I don't usually do reviews for new or newly-re-opened restaurants since they usually require time to work out their weaknesses. However, despite some understandable service problems, Genji has much to recommend to people, with strengths far exceeding anything not yet up to standard. We were invited to try out some of Genji's teppanyaki dinner offerings, which were listed in the menu as the Teppan Grill Special Course. This included several set menu full course selections that had Japanese names with English translations. At the top of the list was Mori (Forest), which offers a combination of Maine lobster and US Kobe beef or US Angus beef ($118). This was followed by Oto (Sound), which is a seafood course with lobster, salmon, scallops, cuttle fish, and white fish ($89).
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