Walt Disney World has introduced a brand new restaurant coming to EPCOT in 2023. This publish covers every thing we all know concerning the eating location, with meals pictures, tentative timeframe, and our commentary about this addition to the culinary panorama of World Showcase.
For starters, this new restaurant can be situated within the Japan pavilion in EPCOT’s World Showcase, and can be referred to as Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya. This table-service restaurant will provide a festive eating expertise in a sharable Izakaya-style so that you can create reminiscences and good instances by means of flavors.
At Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya, you’ll be capable of expertise the essence of Japan’s seasonal festivals, the place every month brings a brand new celebration to your desk. From hanging tanzaku to rejoice Tanabata in July to savoring moon-viewing dumplings in September, a cultural consultant from Japan will information you thru every distinctive competition expertise, one chew at a time.
The environment at Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya will embrace the festivals of Japan, with the environment that includes lovely, hand painted art work and lanterns highlighting a few of the pure wonders of Japan. Every go to is designed to create unforgettable reminiscences that seize the spirit of Japan’s vibrant seasonal festivities.
Along with a full menu crammed with Japanese delicacies, Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya will function an open sushi bar and grill. Situated on the second ground of the Japan pavilion’s Mitsukoshi Division Retailer, Shiki-Sai gives gorgeous views of EPCOT, World Showcase Lagoon, and fireworks.
Sushi lovers will benefit from the first-hand have a look at sushi being made proper earlier than their eyes by the cooks when sitting on the bar. This distinctive spot offers a novel eating expertise together with a trellis impressed by the roof of the Phoenix Corridor at Byodoin Temple in Uji, Japan.
Should you fancy your self a sushi aficionado otherwise you’re seeking to develop your palate to a brand new chew, the Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya menu has no scarcity of dishes so that you can attempt. Highlights from the sushi bar embody the Kobore Sushi, Tokyo Negi Roll, Funamori, and The Monster Roll.
Kobore Sushi interprets to “overflowing sushi” and this merchandise options negi toro and nakaochi tuna elegantly paired with salmon roe and inexperienced onion. The Tokyo Negi Roll combines inexperienced onion tempura rolled with tuna tataki and topped with jalapeno aïoli, shredded carrot, and sliced jalapeno for a pleasant roll.
The Funamori options sashimi and sushi organized on a boat-shaped platter. This iteration of Funamori is even served with the festive pomp and the boat procession of the well-known Tenjin Matsuri.
You’ll additionally be capable of pattern dishes from the scrumptious world of Japanese Izakaya, a kind of informal pub-style restaurant. One of many important highlights of Izakaya tradition is the emphasis on sharing plates of meals whereas having fun with drinks and dialog with associates.
The menu at an Izakaya sometimes options a variety of small dishes, and Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya at EPCOT isn’t any totally different. From savory Karaage Hen to succulent Salmon Misoyaki, even a refreshing Tomato Salad with Avocado, Izakaya delicacies is all about providing a wide range of scrumptious small plates that may be indulged in a social and relaxed environment.
Not solely are you able to get dishes from the sushi bar, however the grill may also be serving up scrumptious choices generally present in Japanese delicacies. Among the many grilled gadgets at Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya, okonomiyaki is a spotlight. This Japanese savory pancake is made with a batter of flour, eggs, and water, after which crammed with shredded cabbage and bacon, and topped with tangy okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, aonori, bonito flakes, and pickled ginger.
Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya is tentatively scheduled to open at EPCOT in Summer time 2023. Walt Disney World has not introduced a particular date, or if/when Advance Eating Reservations will open. At present, the schedule exhibits “no instances out there” by means of mid-July 2023 at Tokyo Eating, however that doesn’t essentially imply something. We’ll replace this accordingly as soon as we be taught extra.
Though unspoken within the official announcement, Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya will essentially be a part of or a alternative for Tokyo Eating. That restaurant has been closed since final November for a significant reworking and reimagining, and it will appear that Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya is the fruit of that undertaking.
Our preliminary inclination was that Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya would take over a portion of Tokyo Eating, because it’s already a bit subdivided with an open bar space and the desk service restaurant on the opposite aspect of that. Nevertheless, the suggestion that Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya will provide lagoon and fireworks views suggests in any other case, as you’ll be able to’t see a lot of something from the lounge space–it’s nestled in the midst of the constructing, between the seating for Tokyo Eating on the window aspect, and Teppan Edo on the opposite aspect (separated by a wall).
We’re completely nice with Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya changing Tokyo Eating fully. We ate at Tokyo Eating final fall a number of weeks earlier than it closed, and it was simply one of many worst meals we had at Walt Disney World within the final 12 months. (And I say that as somebody who has been lately revisiting counter service choices that I hate in Magic Kingdom, consuming extra sizzling canine, burgers, and flatbreads than anybody ought to eat in a lifetime!)
That’s not us being snobbish about Japanese delicacies, both. We’re large followers of Katsura Grill, and even like Teppan Edo for what it’s. However it’s been some time since we’ve had something that impressed at Tokyo Eating. The restaurant itself was nothing memorable, particularly should you had been seated away from a window and caught in the midst of the big and boring room.
To that time, it’ll be attention-grabbing to see how the inside of the restaurant adjustments. There was nothing essentially dangerous concerning the look of Tokyo Eating earlier than–it had an genuine however primary ‘trendy’ look much like what you’d see on the higher ranges of malls. It wasn’t good or dangerous…or memorable.
A extra visible partaking fashion for Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya would undoubtedly be welcome. Imagineering did an awesome job with Takumi-Tei (beneath), and this sounds equally promising. Drawing inspiration from Byodoin Temple (above) is an efficient transfer, and means that Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya will use types that evoke a extra conventional Japan. (The festivals talked about within the press launch additionally reinforce this.)
We additionally love the concept of a restaurant with a menu that guarantees to alter with the seasons. All through Japan, however particularly in Kyoto, seasonality is large. Many eating places serve omakase menus comprised of seasonal greens and fish obtained from the wholesalers round Nishiki Market.
The presentation can be extremely necessary, from the colours of the components and garnishes proper all the way down to the dishes. We’ve dined at some eating places in Kyoto that change the menus–and plating–on a weekly and even every day foundation. We’re not anticipating that degree of consideration to element at Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya, however celebrating festivals and following normal seasonal developments can be an enormous win. (Though it began out promising, I don’t suppose Takumi-Tei even does this anymore.)
As for the menu at Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya, coloration us intrigued.
It ought to go with out saying, however the sushi counter will most likely be costly. Each as a result of that’s the trajectory of latest issues at Walt Disney World, and given the pictures and descriptions. Nevertheless, the standard izakaya delicacies must be comparatively cheap and approachable, as that is mainly bar meals. They often provide scrumptious homestyle cooking and comforting delicacies.
Personally, I’m far more excited concerning the Karaage Hen than the sushi.
There are few meals I like in Japan greater than rooster. I all the time order the karaage at ramen outlets and izakaya, and comfort retailer fried rooster has change into a go-to breakfast when consuming at 7-11 or Household Mart. (No joke. Famichiki and Seven Hen are each top-tier; if the choices at Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya are half nearly as good as these comfort shops, Walt Disney World company are in for a deal with!)
We’re additionally excited that okonomiyaki is lastly coming to EPCOT. We eat okonomiyaki steadily as a result of it’s low-cost, enjoyable to see being ready proper in entrance of you, tastes nice, and is very customizable. Throughout our final go to to Japan, we dined at an okonomiyaki restaurant and solely paid about $5 for every of our entrees. Granted, we needed to cook dinner them ourselves (a comedy of errors) and the alternate charge could be very favorable proper now, however nonetheless. The purpose stands that it’s an extremely cheap meal.
We’ve been begging for EPCOT to do okonomiyaki (and ramen) for years. In a publish a pair summers in the past, we wrote this: We’d love Teppan Edo to do an okonomiyaki lunch menu; it’s approachable, enjoyable, and Walt Disney World might overcharge for it with out most company realizing it. (We’d gladly overpay for the okonomiyaki expertise!)
It now feels like we’ll be getting the chance to eat and overpay for an okonomiyaki expertise at Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya!
Finally, we’re actually hyped for Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya opening at EPCOT in Summer time 2023…as you’ll be able to most likely inform. Tokyo Eating was lengthy overdue for a refresh to each the menu and inside, and it will hopefully give the restaurant a shot within the arm. The idea of a sushi counter and izakaya is a good one, particularly if Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya follows by means of on the promise of seasonality. If all goes properly, Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya might rework a middling World Showcase restaurant and switch it into an asset–one that’s each a memorable culinary and cultural expertise.
Our solely actual concern is pricing. Clearly, there’s going to be a big Walt Disney World premium; that a lot goes with out saying. It’s additionally possible that the sushi bar could have some absurdly costly choices aimed upmarket; that additionally looks as if a given. Nevertheless, our hope is that the restaurant stays true to the izakaya idea and gives reasonably priced and shareable dishes, with costs a lot nearer to Spice Highway Desk than Takumi-Tei. Our concern is that it’ll skew extra in direction of the latter, aiming for a higher-end viewers throughout the board. Right here’s hoping that Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya delivers on its promise and potential with out breaking the financial institution. We can’t wait!
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What do you consider the idea for the brand new Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya coming to EPCOT? Suppose this might be alternative or complement to Tokyo Eating? Did you dine there any time within the final couple of years? What did you consider your meal? Excited for a sushi counter and pub-fare coming to the Japan pavilion? Agree or disagree with any of our assessments? Any questions we might help you reply? Listening to your suggestions–even once you disagree with us–is each attention-grabbing to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas beneath within the feedback!