"MEI", Japanese Restaurant, located at 8608 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, OH 45242 (513) 891-6880 has been in business for almost 10 years but it wasn't until last night, when we went with friends from the neighborhood, that we had heard of it, or given it a try.
This clean, bright, minimally decorated place in Montgomery has several dining spaces. The largest contains 4 Hibachi tables with flat tops and counters seating 8 or 10 while the other area has the entrance, a Sushi Bar, and one section with tables and another with 3 or 4 booths.
Our server a very worldly Caucasian( teaches at UC, English as a second language) was pleasant, knowledgeable, patient and accommodating.
The menu is large and there is a separate listing of house specials and one of Sushi combinations.
We came from having drinks and nibbles at the other couple's house and so the four of us opted to split several small dishes and only one major "role". Each dish would easily serve as a first course for one, a decent split for 2 and a taste for three or more. Our selections were: Tempura( 2 shrimp and a selection of vegetables) all fried in a light batter and served with a very light sauce for dipping. Deep fried Smelts, crisp, warm and enough that we all had two or three. An excellent grilled duck slices(5) beautifully seasoned and done just right, firm and crunchy.
Meat filled Dumplings(5) which may have been the least interesting to me; Yakitori( slightly grilled chicken pieces on a skewer) and a Spicy Tuna Roll( 8 pieces) nicely put together but nothing special to distinguish "MEI" from other Asian spots. These dishes call for beer and we each had Kirin Ichiban, except for Marilyn. Total, before tip $58, for the four.
I was pleased that we went( always like a new place and someone else's suggestion) but if I do go again, I will explore some of the larger dishes and probably some that are less ordinary.
Also this week we have gone to two standbys. "Knotty Pine on the Bayou" where the best items remain their Grouper( excellent, possibly the best in the area) and the Etouffee, slightly spicy and very rich. Also the "Turbo Dog Ale" remains my favorite to accompany Cajun dishes.
The other evening we stoped by the Oriental Wok( Regency) before theatre, to help them finish the "flown in" "Laughing Bird Shrimp" which I, and the restaurant, originally attributed to Argentina but which actually come from Belize. Any way they served us a large platter, which a friend and I split, half prepared with whole pepper corns in a slightly sweet sauce and the other half prepared as we had last Friday, lightly stir fried in a Wok. Marilyn went with Pork Chow Mien which must have been good as she made "all gone"