[ Japan ]

Japanese fare (and non-stop piano entertainment)

If you’re looking for a place to eat and at the same time give your senses a chance to relax to the wonderful strains of music from a piano, the right places to go to are Don Buri restaurant a few meters across Palasia hotel, and Teppan Dragon at the Topside.

From the various selection of delectable Japanese cuisine (Don Buri dishes), we sat down to sample Fry Fish Don, which turned out to be rice placed inside a buri (bowl) and topped with eggs, onions and crisply-fried fish. The order, which came in an average portion came with Miso soup, enough to fill in a regular hungry stomach but for an additional dollar, it can be added unto to make a generous serving.

A customer feels immediately at home when entering Don Buri and Teppan Dragon. These restaurants, owned by Yuriko Cho Irikedamoto (including the Dragon Tei) are the only places in Palau which offers non-stop playing by pianist Robert Hernandez, pianist and disk jockey at the Image Restaurant for the past 13 years.

Hernandez’ repertoire is composed of almost 2,000 songs from different countries- Japanese, Filipino, Greek, Spanish, Italian, Chiamorro, Chinese, French, Arabic, Palauan and English songs. He makes the customers feel at ease and relate by playing songs from their countries.

As an added appeal majority of the customers (Japanese), Hernandez enjoys playing the most requested songs like Itoshino Ely, Oribia O kikingara, Subaro, Kimito Itsumademo, Kita Sabaka and Tsunami.

He also plays more than 30 Palauan songs and is gaining popularity with the locals. His favorites include Ngesuas, Kaneohe, Odasangel, Omruud A Reng and Betik A Renguk A Lebekil, a beautiful Palauan love song. He also adjusts his songs to the age bracket of the customers.

The lounge/piano bar at the Teppan Dragon is an ideal place to relax, chat with friends or simply enjoy coffee or cocktail. Bartender Freddy Gloria whips up fantastic cocktails which would fit any mood or occasion at affordable prices. He whipped up Monkey Magic for me and Ever Green for my buddy, and a special “BlowJob” for us, four layers of different spirits in a jigger with actual flames on top. You have to sip it in straw real quick (or else your straw will melt). This is going to be in the market soon.

Hernandez plays the piano non-stop at the Don Buri from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Mondays, and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays to Saturdays. He plays at the Teppan Dragon from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. every night, except Mondays.

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