What? A restaurant located within a retirement home? That is exactly what Hi Genki is. Hi Genki is a Japanese restaurant, which is part of the Fujiya umbrella, that is located in the lobby of Nikkei Home. To me, Hi Genki is a perfect example of a “hidden gem”. There isn’t much advertisement outside or in the surrounding areas promoting the restaurant so if you were just looking for a restaurant to eat in the area, you may have a little trouble finding the place.
Hi Genki doesn’t serve the typical items you would find in a Japanese restaurant. Absent from the menu are things such as rolls, sashimi (though I think that it is available, just not on the menu) and nigiri. Instead, you will see a lot of donburi, udon and rice plates. Hi Genki focuses on simple options instead of trying to wow you with specialty rolls.
For an appetizer, Sara ordered the agedashi tofu. Compared to the recent Sushi Den experience, the Agedashi Tofu at Hi Genki was a lot better. The tofu was soft and not overloaded with batter. The batter was rather subtle. The sweet broth (tentsuyu sauce) was a nice complement to the tofu. A really well executed and enjoyable dish.
Sara did have one complaint though – there was too much daikon. Hi Genki serves the tofu with a lot of minced daikon raddish. If you dislike daikon, be prepared to scoop all that aside.
Sara had the Oyako donburi, which is a rice bowl that is topped with chicken, egg, onions and a sweet Japanese sauce consisting of mirin and soy sauce. The Oyako donburi portion was fairly impressive, definitely enough to feed me. The chicken in the Oyako donburi was tender and not over-cooked. Over-cooking the meat in either an Oyako donburi or Gyudon (Beef) is rather easy to do. The meat is suppose to simmer in the sauce while letting the egg cook. If the temperature or consistency of the sauce is off, the meat can easily become dry.
One thing that we did notice of the Oyako donburi at Hi Genki is that the sauce was a little too runny. The sauce was too thin and the rice wasn’t able to absorb all of the sauce. The taste of the sauce was also lacking a little something. The sauce was definitely sweet, but kind of lacked a little of the soy taste in my opinion.
Salmon and Prawn Fry
The Salmon and Prawn Fry was my choice of the night. You won’t find this on the menu, but this dish is included in their fresh sheet. I’ve been to Hi Genki a few times in the past and the fresh sheet is in most part the same every time. Chances are you will see this when you visit.
In retrospect, the Salmon and Prawn Fry was a bad idea. As you can see, the dish is loaded with deep fried goodness. Most places, when you see fried food that big, chances are the batter is the culprit. In this case, those big rectangles of salmon is actually salmon, which only have a thin layer of batter. The server will also bring you tonkatsu sauce, so if you don’t want your mouth to dry up to fast from all the deep fried goodness, load up on the sauce.
The salmon and prawn wasn’t overly fried– the inside had moist and tender seafood. The only gripe I have with this dish is that there was too much food (I know. I’m complaining about food?). I managed to stuff it all down but I feel more compelled to exercise madly for 3 days to work off all the calories. If you aren’t following a diet, this is a good dish to go for. Comfort food is how I would classify this.
Overall, Hi Genki is a nice stop for a some cheap, Japanese comfort food. If you can get over the fact the restaurant is in a retirement home, then you will enjoy Hi Genki. The prices are all mostly under $10 and will result in a nice, affordable meal. The washrooms are what you expect in a retirement home– hospital-like, which only means it’s squeaky clean.