By Richard A. Dart, MD, Gifu
, November 2011
Traveling past many local stores and businesses along the highway, we soon arrived at the clean, modern and uniquely built Daijin restaurant. Fortunately, the parking lot was not full, but we also knew we’d arrived a bit early for any real possible peak of arrivals, also seeking to have lunch at this fairly new, refurbished restaurant. What was very pleasing was the clean and very inviting appearance of the outside, a red brick building with an unusual turret like area, which happened to also include a roomy dining area. The double entrance while not so important at this time, surely will be very welcomed for those who are coming in from any cold weather, as well as for those seated in the restaurant, not being blasted with cold air with the coming and going of patrons.
Roomy, high ceilinged and well lit from large, numerous windows, the most unique part of the Daijin are the individual table settings where a well is readily seen in the center of the table, above which is an individual chimney system, which then is connected to a large air conduction system, to pull off any smoke for foods prepared on charcoal grills that fit in the heating wells, at the tables.
In addition to Western-style chairs and tables, there is a traditional Japanese seating area which is also generous and pleasant for those accustomed to and preferring that sort of seating arrangement.
Another particularly nice aspect of the restaurant is the many windows which look out on the surrounding scenery which includes a particularly beautiful view back down the valley and many small farms across the highway, which itself, did not bother us either for any sense of marring the view or the moderate traffic, for there was no sense of noise or disruption of the ambience.
The bathrooms were spotless and fresh, although the dryer for the hands didn’t work in the men’s room, or didn’t seem to. But that was a pretty small inconvenience, per se.
Children’s high chairs were readily available, and as that was needed for one in our group, came in very handy.
In the evenings, Daijin is packed with local business people, families and groups just having a good time. The most popular thing to do at Daijin is a Japanese Barbecue which entails ordering meats and vegetables based on the number of people in your party and grilling it over a hot charcoal flame at your table by yourself. Much of Daijin’s meat is local with the beef being the regional Hida variety.
The waitress greeted us warmly as we began an eager discussion of which selections we might wish to try. For one of us, it was the pork dish, another, the beef and the third, a rice and shrimp dish. Within minutes, we were settled in, had used the fresh moistened towels to wipe up our face and hands and were also served water. Within no more than 10 to 15 minutes, after ordering, our very generous lunch selections arrived.
For the beef and pork eaters, thinly sliced, tender, succulent strips of meat, mixed with mushrooms and onions served on a hot plate were cooked to perfection in a delicious ‘barbecue’ sauce. Add a substantial helping of rice, a bowl of excellent miso soup, selected pickled vegetables and a side of shredded cabbage and tomato topped with sesame seed dressing, the lunch was not only very filling but very satisfying. For sure, one with a good sized appetite was going to find all they could want or need.
To top it off, a small cup of delicious egg custard, with a nice dab of caramel and a spritz of whipped cream making for a very tasty end-of-meal treat. Given the cost, this was a superb bargain for the price all the way around and was an another special place we’d return to anytime.