White Day is upon us. That mysterious non-holiday where we men must reciprocate the chocolate our partners lovingly crafted (READ: bought) for us last month. And while a few venture into the kitchen, praying that some combination of ingredients, heat and cursing will produce an edible treat, the more practical may look for outside the home solutions.
In Nagoya there’s no end of swanky joints with small portions at exorbitant prices where you can wine and dine your lover. But if you’re on a teacher’s budget, the fine dining choices are far fewer. Where can you take your date for some fancy cuisine that will leave you with enough yen to pay the electricity bill? Take them to Sienna, Nagoya’s first west coast dining experience and your best chance to make a good impression without financial depression.
Opened back in December, Sienna is an elegant, intimate establishment located near Takaoka Station on the Sakura-dori Subway line. The atmosphere certainly meets the requirements for romance. The candle-lit tables are spaced far enough apart so you’re not talking over your neighbors, and the soft-music in the background further adds to the almost dreamy atmosphere that Sienna exudes. As for comfort, you can try their extra plush sofas, though you might find yourself drifting off especially if you sample from their impressive drink menu.
From the wineries of Napa Valley to the microbrews of Washington, those west coasters know how to get drunk in style. Sienna keeps up this tradition with a wine list that would impress even the snootiest of sommeliers. And speaking of snobs, the selection of craft beers, included Rogue and Mad River, would give even the most pretentious of hipsters pause. You have to try the Nagano-based Minami Shinshu. Japan’s finally getting into the craft beer business, and their doing some damn fine things.
Any restaurant lives and dies based on its menu, and Sienna’s owner, Rob Shannon, knows food. A native of Vancouver, Rob has spent most of his life in the hospitality industry, honing his skills in restaurants and hotels back home and here in Kyoto and Nagoya. His goal with Sienna is to offer Japan a fusion of foods made famous in cities like San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Vancouver.
“There’s not really any rules with fusion cuisine,” explains Rob. “Except for good food.”
And he backs that up with impressive recipes that seem familiar yet each with a unique spin. Take the newest addition, fish tacos, for example. Made with their hand-crafted flour tortillas, a tempura-fried fish, fresh guacamole, salsa and cabbage, it’s easy to see why the local crowd will love it.
According to Rob, “It’s a staple of the West Coast and it lines up with Japanese taste. It’s the epitome of fusion cuisine.”
And it’s an excellent example of Sienna’s other rule: everything made fresh. From their baked bread to fresh pasta, everything on the menu is carefully hand-made by Sienna’s classically trained chef. They’ve even got their own in-house smoker for salmon, bacon and other delicious meats.
Meat is something that Sienna does very well. Sienna has roasted pork belly that they simmer for 8 hours. You don’t chew it as much as savor it until it’s all gone. Sienna’s craft burgers are a real treat. The Five Alarm Burger, which is not for the faint of heart, is an all American beef patty made from a perfect blend of sirloin and chuck steak, a generous slice of habanero jack cheese, diced jalapenos, habanero mayonnaise, all between their fresh-baked buns. It comes together into a fiery yet juicy masterpiece that is quite possibly the best burger in Nagoya. But do NOT touch your eye while eating it!
Fine-dining isn’t just for the carnivores, and any West Coast establishment worth its weight in kale is going to have meatless options. Sienna caters to the vegetarians with crisp salads, a four cheese flatbread pizza and their homemade pasta. “We are very flexible with the menu, and can fulfil most special requests,” Rob shared. “If we have access to the ingredients, anything is possible.”
And it just isn’t a romantic dinner without desert. Of particular note is the vanilla tart, a rich filling topped with whipped cream and slices of fresh fruit; it’s perfect for splitting with your date or devouring on your own.
Sienna is an ideal location for a special night out with your boo this White Day, or a chill place to tie one on with your boys any day (except Mondays). They are also available for parties and weddings, and have several exciting events coming up this month.
From the aperitifs to the afters, Sienna will have you dining in style, and you’ll still have enough money left to get home.
ACCJ Winter Meet and Greet
Friday, March 13 at 19:00
A chance to join the movers and shakers of the Aichi scene. ¥4000 for all you can eat and drink for 2 hours
PDL Wine Seminar
Sunday, March 22 at 15:00
A taste of the west coast, wines from California, Oregon and Washington with local expert Paul Lobosco
Sienna West Coast Dining
ISH Izumi Bldg. 2F
Open: 17:30-1:00 Tues-Sun / Closed Mon.