Check out our nominations for best fancy meal of the year, best ribs and best hunk of meat in Stu Helm’s 2021 Food Fan Awards!
“…I went to Ukiah for the very first time on my birthday, which is dicy AF! I usually go to someplace time-tested-and-true, and order something I’ve had before and already know that I love on my birthday. I don’t fuck around on that day, it’s too crucial. Buhhhht, in 2021 everything was already a mess, so nothing mattered anymore, and I had a feeling that Ukiah would not disappoint. Aaaand they did not. They sent a juggernaut of food to our table, and Dawn and I loved every bite. Plus, just about every person working there came by and said “hi” at some point. Yes, I was there as a writer, and we got the royal treatment, but that’s part of what makes this meal a contender for the meal of the year award: It was special! And you can do a tasting menu at Ukiah any time you want, for a similar experience…”
“….I know that I pay a lot of attention to Ukiah Japanese Smokehouse, but in my opinion, they deserve all the attention they can get. I really love their food. I’ve featured their crispy ribs, karaage chicken, and beech mushroom in my newsletter and social media, and I’m here to tell you that their amazing grilled Wagyu ribeye with shiso chimichurri, chili & wasabi paste, and pinch salt is also worthy of the highest praise. Dawn and I enjoyed it very much on my 55th birthday. It has a “wow” factor that brought back good memories for us of past experiences with simple, yet amazing pieces of seared meat. Awww! Meat as romance! When I was scrolling through the thousands of pictures of food I took in 2021 to prepare for these awards, I came across the one above, and I was like, “Oh feck yeah… that shit was amazing,” and so it is my fourth and final contestant for Best Hunk of Meat, 2021!…”
“….This one might surprise ya, but Ukiah Japanese Smokehouse has some of the best ribs in town! Their “crispy baby back ribs” are pretty much perfect in my opinion. They are smoked until the meat is just about coming off the bone, and then they are quick-fried to finish them off and make them crispy on the outside. They have a wonderful glaze, and come with sesame seeds and thinly sliced green onion on top. plus a grilled lemon. I love grilled lemons! These ribs are a dish I recommend to share with friends who love meat! Or not. ALL MINE!!! They are distinct, expertly prepared, and frickin’ delicious in my opinion, and the opinion of the dozens of people I’ve fed them to on food tours. BONUS: I also learned that “yakiniku” is a Japanese word that roughly means “seared meat.”