Dinner and a DVD

Daniel Davis


66 E Lancaster Ave

Ardmore, PA 19003


As if the water flowing through bamboo and the kimono-wearing waitresses don’t translate into an effort to duplicate an authentic Japanese eatery, “Mikado’s” tastefully sculpted interior is a nice fusion of an old-fashion Japanese eatery and a modern-time wooden bar setting. In Ardmore, you can locate such an environment on 66 East Lancaster Ave at “Mikado,” a tasty Japanese restaurant.

The menu offers a wide variety of Japanese-tasting foods that will entertain any taste bud’s desires. After attempting to comprehend what the menu has to offer, you will have been overcome either by a rush of tantalization or confusion. The wide selection of Japanese cuisine is utterly delightful, and you will find yourself second-guessing. which item to finally order. The prices here are surprisingly low in comparison to many other Asian-type restaurants with which I am familiar.

Appetizers can range anywhere from Squid Tempura to Edamame (salted green beans), and the prices are between $5 and $7. Ah, and what would Japanese be without rolls, sushi and sashimi? If none of these diverse dishes appeal to you, perhaps the Udon or Soba noodle-soup dishes tickle your fancy, costing between $12 and $15. Then there are the entrees: a few tempuras and other traditional Japanese dinners, ranging between $12 and $25; these plentiful meals are not to be forgotten. Finally, you will notice several Japanese desserts worth indulging in, and they range from $3 to $5.

Upon entering “Mikado,” you will begin noticing an elegant flow of water, trickling from bamboo into a pool, setting a very tranquil mood from the start. Behind a wooden bar surrounded by well-crafted wooden chairs, you will notice chefs dressed in white prepared to hastily whip together sushi on command. The ambience is admirable; the well-lit eatery provides a luminous aura during entrance, enhanced by the pastel green walls and Japanese-esque windowpanes. If the smell doesn’t convince you to stay after arriving at “Mikado,” hopefully the waitress’s affability can convince you to take a seat. Wanting to ensure our seating upon arrival, I decided to call and make reservations (not that it would matter though). Tolerating their “cleaning” of a table, our patience was tested for ten minutes. Shortly thereafter, my guest and I were guided to where we would be dining.

After taking some time deciding on what options appeared best for me, I discussed certain dishes with the waitress and inquired about a few with which I was unfamiliar. My final choices were Miso Soup, Squid Tempura, Assorted Sushi and the Udon Noodles with Shrimp. My guest preferred the salmon; its description sounded absolutely delectable. After the waitress brought us our ice cold waters five to seven minutes later, she returned with a nice steaming bowl of Miso Soup. Mmm, very tasty; however, the main ingredients seemed to be lacking. I wonder if they were short on seaweed in the kitchen. Nonetheless, my salty soup satisfied my stomach, and as I finished, our waitress brought the assorted sushi and Squid Tempura.

The presentation of the sushi was very appealing and the taste was no different from any other good restaurant from which I have tasted sushi. The Squid Tempura’s appearance was similar to a basket of onion rings you would receive at In ‘N’ Out Burger. Their chewiness left my jaw tired, and the dipping sauce was a typical soy-based one. When dipping our tempura, our fried shells were parting with the actual squid, leaving some bites missing that extra flavor.

What an absolutely fabulous presentation of the Udon Noodles dish, piping hot, and such a beautiful display of various foods in a soup. The soup consisted of several items I was utterly unsure of, including this chewy monstrosity that almost broke my jaw. The noodles, egg, shrimp, seaweed and shitake mushroom tasted remarkable. The noodles would slither through my lips like the snakes of the Amazon. Mmm. And I could not have asked for a hotter meal; it was brought out scalding hot, as if meant to punish me.

My guest’s salmon was phenomenal as well, concocted in a manner that I have never seen or tasted before. Overall, the entrée made this meal and saved what could have been an otherwise lacking service nightmare.

Overall, the Japanese served here is top of the line for what I have tasted. So if you get a chance, take a trip to the Japanese-culture of “Mikado” where the service is slow, the meals are the perfect temperature and the diverse dishes can appeal to any curious appetite.

“Garden State”

Drama/RomanceStarring: Zach Braff and

Natalie PortmanR – language, drug use, sexualityRunning Time: 1 hour, 49 minutes

“I’ve never seen a movie more true about life in Jersey,” a close friend of mine murmurs during the movie. I agree; I can’t imagine Jersey (or its people) being any better depicted than in “Garden State.” If you are from New Jersey, you have probably lived at least some part of the story; if you want to learn about Jersey or try to understand the state and its people, this is an essential aid to the comprehension of the way of life there.

“Garden State” explains the story of Jersey-born Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff) who left home at age 16 to go to boarding school and hasn’t been home since. His psychologist, also his father, thought that boarding school and heavy medication would be the answer for his son’s “violent” nature. Andrew, an actor (and waiter) now living in Los Angeles, makes the return trip home nine years later for the funeral of his mother, who hadn’t seen him since he was sent away. After arriving home, Andrew runs into friends and acquaintances from his past and recognizes what direction their lives have gone since he moved to California. What ensues is the rekindling of friendships, a new love interest and the lesson that no matter how far away you run, life in Jersey never changes.

Samantha (Natalie Portman), an outgoing girl he meets at his doctor’s office, sparks Andrew’s interest. We watch the development of a relationship for an apathetic Largeman who has been living the past 16 medicinally skewed years numb to any emotion. Largely due to his sudden trip home, Andrew is without medication. He is able to better himself as a human in the next couple days by rediscovering emotions he did not think possible, such as the strength to confront his father and the love for Samantha that changes his life forever.

“Garden State” bears a close resemblance to “Donnie Darko” in several aspects and, as such, I would consider it as good a film. Zach Braff does a phenomenal job making the viewer question his character’s emotions or lack thereof, considering this is his silver screen debut. Natalie Portman plays an eccentric girl who is outgoing and playful, yet child-like and innocent, and who consumes Braff’s character with novel emotions such as love. The movie does an incredible job exploring the New Jersey lifestyle and the funny and awkward instances that happen when you return home after a long period of time. It includes parties, girls, and old friends in a place that never seems to change, and you cannot help but relate to Andrew in his many happenings.

I would give my utmost recommendation to get a nice dose of reality with “Garden State” if at all possible during your busy life, in New Jersey or not.

The “Garden State” DVD will hit stores on Dec. 28.