Hours: Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 10 p.m. Closed Sundays.
Atmosphere: Friendly, family.
Price range: Complete dinners from $6.50 to $7.95. A la carte items also available.
Credit cards: American Express, Mastercard and Visa.
Special features: Booster seats; two-door passage entrance; nearby shopping center parking lots.
Shogun, one of the better places to eat on the neighborhood restaurant scene, is easy to miss. It's in a little building on busy Arlington Road surrounded by construction and small shopping areas.
You should slow down and stop.
Shogun is a small restaurant with a few Japanese silk-screens decorating the walls. Colorful, bold purple pageantry lines the entrance and the back wall proclaims the majestic power of Shogun.
Only the owner, who infrequently appears from the kitchen, was clad in a kimono. Two young women pleasantly served us and willingly explained the menu. Teapots were not allowed to stand empty or water glasses unfilled.
Japanese dining is always a study in serenity and Shogun is no exception. Although diners sit on chairs rather than on the floor and all preparation is done in the kitchen, the real attraction is the properly prepared and delicately presented dinner items.
For novice and devotee alike there are a number of interesting possibilities. The uninitiated may enjoy sampling sushi or sashimi as appetizers. Seven special dinners are available, which include soup, rice, cucumber salad and green tea. The portions are large enough that young children easily could share.
The sushi ($2.75) was perfect hors d'oeuvres-sized bites of fresh tuna, Spanish mackerel and flounder atop individual rice mounds. Even if raw fish makes you squeamish, you could enjoy the visual appeal of these morsels of freshness.
Paper-thin sweet-and-sour slices of cucumber had a special taste that even a nonvegetable-loving child enjoyed.
Soups are the second course of the complete dinners. Both the chicken and soybean stocks were delicate delights.
Dinner was not rushed but arrived with proper spacing. With everyone selecting something different, we sampled the breadth of Shogun's kitchen performance. Each item earned individual top honors.
The a la carte item we ordered, donburi sukiyaki ($4.95), was paper-thin slices of shredded beef atop a mound of rice and accompanied by the crisp sukiyaki vegetables. The sauce was lightly sweetened.
The steak teriyaki ($7.50), medium-rare pieces of beef cut into small strips, was perfect for chopsticks but just as manageable with the requested knife and fork. The sauce was richly flavored but not overpowering.
Similarly, the chicken teriyaki ($6.75) had a delicate sauce, but the pieces were a little thicker than anticipated and not quickly stir-fried.
The dinner that evoked the "Oohs" and "Wish I'd ordered that" was the tempura ($7). It was a plate filled with green bean, zucchini, onion and green pepper slices alternated with jumbo shrimp. A gorgeous, greaseless, fanciful food, tempura was the clear winner of the evening's beauty contest.
Sukiyaki ($7.95) also was well-prepared. The children missed the traditional tableside cooking but enjoyed sharing the cellophane noodles.
Desserts are limited to ice cream: plain (75 cents) or topped with red bean sauce ($1.15). In a curious and experimental mood, we sampled zenzai ice cream. Our waitress smiled knowingly and echoed our refrain: "Too sweet."
Dinner with plum wine, Japanese beer and soft drinks was $52.21 for five. Shogun is truly a noble house worth the stop.