Niwa Japanese BBQ is one of the newest additions to the Deep Ellum streets of shops, restaurants, and bars. I've always been a fan of Korean BBQ, so once I heard that a Japanese BBQ joint was opening down the street, I was itching to check them out as soon as they opened their doors.
For starters, the waiter recommended the Tonkatsu, a panko fried pork tenderloin with tonkatsu sauce and a side of cabbage. We were SO glad we ordered it. The crispiness was on point, and the sauce and side were AMAZING with the pork.
As far as the BBQ goes, they have a wide variety of meats and veggies to choose from. For meats, we got the Outside Skirt (miso marinade), Short Rib (karubi marinade), and Chicken Thigh (soy ginger marinade). Definitely get the short rib, it was the most flavorful of all! While we didn't get to try everything, there were a number of other options that caught our attention - Calamari (shallots, garlic, tomato, EVOO), Pork Belly (lettuce cups with green onion, kimchi, soy bean jam), and the Tongue (shallots, green onions, garlic, lemon). If you've had any of these leave us a comment below! We'd love to hear your thoughts.
On the veggie side, we got the Sweet Butter Corn (soy butter) and Mushroom Medley (soy butter, lemon). Yes, you read that right. SOY butter. 100% lactose intolerant friendly. Our waiter also recommends the Spinach (garlic butter).
We had so much fun cooking up our food right in front of us. For one, your food will definitely be hot; and two, it's an entertaining experience! Niwa would be the perfect place for date night or to catch up with an old friend. The waiter will also let you know how long to cook everything to make life that much easier.
Overall, the food at Niwa is decent. However, it is on the pricier side. You'll have to drop a good chunk of change to walk out feeling full and satisfied. Keep that in mind going in!
Love the interior of the restaurant! You can definitely tell you're in Deep Ellum.
Parking near the restaurant is free before 6pm, so it's the best place to go for an early dinner.