Casa Urashima: Saipan’s secret dining lair

Avodado and yellowfin tuna wasabi cream

CHANCES are you would have passed outside this “secret” restaurant that look like any ordinary house behind the Kristo Rai Church in Garapan.

From the outside, you may never think that the brightly lit signboard on the gate, which says “Casa Urashima” is home to a list of delicious dishes that have had diners patiently waiting for tables and coming back again and again.

Cozy is the word that best describes the ambiance of this hidden paradise tucked in between residential houses and business establishments.

Several friends have already recommended  Casa Urashima for the past months but I only got the chance to check the restaurant on Friday evening upon buddy Eric’s invitation.

A cheerful food staffer led us into one of the rooms and seated us at a table for two beside a window.

foil baked mushrooms

Casa Urashima is just like dining in the comforts of your home. You can sit in loungers with matching throw pillows in the main hall right in front of the fully stocked bar, or go to any of the private dining rooms. Hanging on the walls are frames and decorations that complete the homey atmosphere.Our dinner started with the $8 serving of avocado and yellowfin tuna wasabi cream. Served on a green platter, the thin tuna slices topped with chopped onions and the avocado strips teased our tastebuds. The appetizer lived up to its name. We were ready for more.

spaghetti ala carbonara

I had never been much of a mushroom fan, but when the mushrooms wrapped and baked in foil were served with soy sauce and onion dip, my tastebuds simply watered. The heavenly aroma of rosemarie and thyme leaves incorporated with the juices of the mushrooms was too much of a temptation and I ate all the mushroom varieties I found there, and yearned for more.

Risotto

We also tried the risotto, a cheese lover’s choice for $9 which was served on a huge platter — rice cooked in broth and cheese to a creamy consistency which we consumed in world record time, and finally a serving of carbonara, crisp but tender pasta bathed in crispy bacon and white cream sauce.

We declined the temptation of a dessert. There was simply no room for it, and although dinner left me very satisfied, the tsunami warning was in full effect on island that evening and I did not feel relaxed.

A dinner set menu costing for two people will give you a taste of wonderful fresh spring roll Thai style, fried shrimp spring roll, Caesar’s salad, cold lobster with mango sauce or oven grilled lobster with lemon butter soy sauce, Angus Beef rib-eye steak, a selection of spaghetti, and two kinds of desserts. Add $45 for each additional person and you will have a feast.

You get more than what you pay for at  Casa Urashima. The prices are competitive and you can have your choice from a wide selection of beverages from beers, soft drinks, shochu, sake, coffee, tea, whisky, bourbon, brandy, and wine, or any of the dry, medium or sweet cocktails at fairly competitive prices.

Reservation is highly recommended. Casa Urashima is easy to find. Just drive up  Rosa Street beside the Kristo Rai Church and it is the first house you will see on your right.

Casa Urashima is open from 6 to 10 p.m., Monday to Saturday. All major credit cards are welcome. For reservations, call 233-3303 at nighttime, and 287-3303 in the daytime. This article was first published HERE)

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