Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Tokyo Teriyaki
6860 Austin Street, Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 997-1601

Review by Diana, Snorrlax

It seems that a lot of people are worried about "authenticity," as in: are they getting the real-deal? But what is real? "Reality" television is not real, but it feels like it. Maybe it addresses that fact that the people in the shows are not supposed to be actors. But is it less real just because it's on television?

Japanese joints abound, and most serve sushi, even though "authentic" in Japan is less about sushi, and more about ramen. "Expensive" is also not of primary concern to the average Japanese person looking to grab a bite to eat; like anywhere, cheap and delivered quickly, are important considerations.

Having visited Japan several times, this place — tucked next to and behind the local police precinct — seems to be too dingy and limited. But it's very much like the grubby places in Hawaii frequented by Japanese-Americans, and even some back-alley places in Japan, too. They don't serve sushi — instead, they serve comfort food. It's primarily kara-age or marinated fried boneless chicken thigh pieces, and katsu curry, a breaded and fried pork cutlet served over rice and ladeled over with Japanese curry sauce. There is also the notorious Hawaiian speciality, Spam musubi — a thick slab of spam resting on a pad of rice, the whole wrapped in nori, a strip of seaweed paper.

There is also other stuff you'd see that can be described as "skater boiz" food, a reflection of the food of surfers: high in carbs and calories, instensely flavored, cheap. It's all produced by the elderly couple who own the place. It's truly a mom and pop place. They've added a delivery option, and you can call your order in — this is important because they make the food to order, and you might have to wait.

It's kind of divey looking, but there was an interesting cross section of people coming to eat, including a mom with a baby in a stroller, a bunch of local teens pretend to chat in druggy-speak, several non-white customers who ordered the spam musubi, a mixed race couple (one of them was Asian). There were no cops, despite sharing an alleyway with the local precinct.

There are tables and chairs in the alleyway, which is currently covered with a construction scaffold. There are only one or two small round formica tables and padded stools inside the place itself. It really is a hole in the wall, which many people seem to love.

As for us ... well, it was okay. It's better than some other options when hungry and wanting something relatively fresh. The aforementioned meats came with lettuce, a lemon wedge, some miso-based salad dressing, and steamed rice which was too soggy (even for Japanese rice). The meats were overcooked, maybe because the pieces were too small. But at $6 for a filling portion in a styrofoam clamshell, you do get what you pay for.

We overheard one guy say this reminded him of the food his Japanese grandmother used to make for him. But you konw, sometimes "authentic" means "not so good, just like at home," too.

Disclaimer: The opinions and observations noted are the property of the author. Neither Wookieehut nor any associates makes any claims or lucre from the posting of this report or review. This webpage is presented by Wookieehut.com. Enjoy!