Published: Monday, January 14, 2013
Updated: Monday, January 14, 2013 16:01
Some may find the trendy “Asian-fusion” themed restaurant sort of stale, but think twice before writing off Accent. Walking in is like being transported into an edgy science fiction film. With soft ambient light and linear, blockish interiors, the restaurant encompasses much Asian chic in its cocktail style dining.
The newly opened establishment claims to mesh new Asian tastes with modern style and traditional quality, and they back up this claim in two distinct ways. The first is their Robata style grilling, which literally means “around the fire” in Japanese. The grilling is unique for its ability to reach temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees, which ensures crisp outer texture without overcooking the interior. The second is the Josper Oven. It’s a juggernaut that combines charbroiling characteristics with the traditional charcoal oven — giving food a rich flavor, and it’s the only one in Cleveland.
French fries may be a surprise to find on a fine Asian menu, even as an appetizer. But the Sasa Fries, borrowed from Sasa Matsu, Accent’s sister restaurant, are full of flavor and surprises. They are thickly cut, fried lightly, seasoned with salt, cayenne, dried seaweed flakes and served with chipotle apple ketchup and smoky wasabi mayo. They possess every characteristic of a french fry, but the subtle addition of seaweed and their light, robust sauce combination adds a pleasant twist.
As an entrée, the pepper steak is an exceptional beef dish. The character of the Josper charbroiling method is truly portrayed as if the beef simply fell apart at the touch of a knife. On the side, there is a brown rice and bean ball that mildly complements the intensity of the filet. The wok sautéed pepper sauce ties the whole thing together as it is colorfully placed on top.
Though most of their menu does well to include equally American and Asian influences the Accent Sashimi Trio is a suitable choice for something a bit more familiar. Portions of tuna, hamachi and salmon are served on a bed of julienned carrot and a cucumber slice with bean sprouts on top. It’s a simple sushi classic with a crisp and chewy texture, and a refreshing taste.
For those with a sweet tooth, Accent delivers a straightforward s’mores dessert that may not go all out in aesthetic flare, but does not lack in taste. The marshmallows are flash cooked in the Josper oven, coated in milk chocolate, dusted with graham cracker crumbs, and served on bamboo skewers. They are like pillows and require a lot of effort not to eat in one bite.
While a trip to Accent may cost quite a bit more than an order from a Chinese carryout, at an average price of $25 it doesn’t break the bank. The space is very open, with no harsh lighting — it seems like a great place to socialize on a Saturday night, or during the week between 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. for their $5 happy hour.