Meiji Japanese Cuisine

Modern Asian dishes blend local ingredients with high-grade imports

Posted: July 4, 2014 at 6 a.m.

Asian cuisine is prominent fare among restaurants across the world, but at Meiji Japanese Cuisine, customers are treated to authentic Japanese dishes with exceptional quality.

Meiji (pronounced may-jee) opened May 2010 in northeast Fayetteville in Signature Plaza near Joyce Boulevard and Crossover Road/Arkansas 265.

Meiji Japanese Cuisine

meijinwa.com

3878 N. Crossover Rd. #8, Fayetteville

(479) 521-5919

11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Mon-Thur, 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Fri, noon-10:30 p.m. Sat, 4-9:30 p.m. Sun. Family recipes with a fresh, modern flair. Authentic Japanese dishes featuring premium, sashimi-grade sushi, teriyaki plates, bento box combos, softshell crab tacos, sake cocktails and a refined wine list. Local vegetables, herbs and edible flowers used; sauces made from scratch.

Owner and lead chef, Darwin Beyer, was born and raised in Kansas City, Mo. He is closely connected to his Japanese heritage and combines modern culinary skills with traditional Japanese principles.

The menu features authentic Japanese dishes with housemade sauces and traditional recipes infused with inspired modern flair.

In addition to the lunch and dinner menu, a separate menu offers sashimi, nigiri and sushi rolls.

Appetizers included pan-fried dumplings (Gyoza), crab-and-scallop cakes, crab rangoon, marinated beef-and-chicken skewers (Robata), softshell crab tacos and Agedashi tofu.

The lunch menu is served from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and offers bento box combinations, which is a traditional Japanese plate served with steamed rice, edamame and a choice of house salad or soup. Selections for the bento box include popular sushi rolls, such as spicy tuna roll or shrimp tempura roll; sashimi; nigiri; half an order of crab rangoon; chicken teriyaki; and tempura vegetables. A choice of one item is priced at $8.50 and two items are priced at $10.50.

There are also numerous varieties of fried rice, chilled salads and housemade soups.

Sashimi refers to high-quality, sliced, raw fish plated without rice. Nigiri is sashimi with a molded ball of rice underneath. Sushi rolls, also called maki, is rice rolled up in nori (dried seaweed) with a variety of fillings and toppings.

Meiji also offers a soy paper substitute for the nori, as well as gluten-free soy and teriyaki sauce for customers with gluten sensitivities.

Owner and head sushi chef Darwin Beyer's Japanese heritage is a defining quality in his culinary creations, and frequent visits to purveyors and growers keep him connected to the source of food prepared at Meiji.

The sashimi-grade fish is flown in twice a week by importers who are personally selected by Beyer. Featured specials introduce exotic fish and seafood to guests, including Royal Miyagi oysters, Lehi (silver mouth snapper), seabass and French Laundry tuna.

He also makes use of the local growing community and incorporates vegetables and herbs grown in Northwest Arkansas.

The use of fresh ingredients and family recipes places Meiji in line with the most successful restaurants in the area.

"You'll also find a little something unexpected -- our intimate dining room features a projection screen playing vintage samurai movies ... In addition to our authentic Japanese menu items, we offer fresh oysters and inventive desserts," as stated on the website, meijinwa.com.

Renovations completed last year tripled the space and added a new sake lounge. The lounge has an 8-foot, L-shaped wooden bar with leather stools.

An extensive wine list complements the coveted sake selection. Signature drinks are featured as month-long specials, such as the Blushing Geisha with nigori sake, watermelon liqueur, a splash of pineapple juice and a maraschino cherry garnish.

There is also an outdoor patio trimmed with bamboo and potted flowers.

The artwork that decorates the interior breathes a minimalistic, Zen vibe. Japanese characters of the word Meiji hang behind the bar.

"It means enlightened rule," Beyer said.

Like many names, the definition or meaning can vary within different cultures. Through a stream-of-consciousness explanation, Beyer said it regards a time in Japan called the Meiji era, lasting from 1868 to 1912. It reflects the tradition of Japan in its modern form.

That combination of traditional and modern is the epitome of Meiji Japanese Cuisine.

More information is available online at meijinwa.com or by calling (479) 521-5919.

NAN Dining Guide Cover on 07/04/2014

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