1177 North Pleasant Street
, MA 

M-Th 11:30AM - 10:30PM, Fri-Sat 11:30AM - 11PM

(413) 549-3666


House of Teriyaki

By Joshua Pollock

If you can’t judge a book by its cover, you certainly can’t judge a restaurant until you walk inside – especially this one.  Faded awnings on the building hang over plain white siding with a brick front, and the stairs are covered in that fake grass carpet you normally find on a miniature golf course.  Yet while the exterior of the restaurant may present itself dismally, the words “sushi bar” glowing in a neon lights beckoned me to enter the House of Teriyaki.

Tucked away well beyond the north end of campus, House of Teriyaki offers a wide array of Asian foods.  Specializing in Japanese and Korean cuisine, not many people know about this hidden gem found on the outskirts of the UMass campus on North Pleasant Street .

Upon entering the House of Teriyaki during its peak dining hours, my girlfriend and I were greeted by our hostess and seated immediately.  Although there were quite a few people there, the restaurant was quieter than most I normally frequent; conversations were held softly enough to hear the classical music, barely audible in the background.  After being seated, we were served a bland green tea in a decorative ceramic cup.  The two of us searched for some sugar only to be disappointed that there was none on the table.  Fortunately our cold beverages, a coke and a diet coke, abruptly followed the tea.

After perusing their extensive menu, which was sectioned off into appetizers, soups and salads, specials, katsu and tempura, donburi, teriyaki, Japanese noodles, Korean food, and of course, sushi, we decided to order the spicy tuna roll to begin our meal.  My girlfriend, Jenn, ordered chicken teriyaki, and I chose bul go gi, a Korean dish.

As we waited for our soup, sushi, and salad to arrive, we took in the atmosphere of the restaurant.  We sat around shiny, green marble tables trimmed with wood, and obviously fake, plastic, vivid green plants lined the window sills.  The walls, equally as shiny as the tables, were a heavily shellacked pine, and were adorned with numerous intricate wooden lamps which provided a dim light that capped the aura of the restaurant.

Minutes after we ordered, our waitress, who was dressed in traditional Japanese garb, brought us fresh garden salads and soup.  Our salads, which were composed of iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, carrot, and tomato, had an appetizing salad dressing comprised of peanut oil and other spices drizzled on them.  After devouring my salad, I moved on to a concoction called miso soup.  A cloudy soup eaten with an interesting sort of ladle, I shoveled spoonfuls of scallions and feta cheese into my mouth in anticipation of my sushi.

The sushi bar was located directly to my left, and I couldn’t help but stare at the chef barricaded in working quickly and adroitly.  After finishing his orders, he placed his masterpieces on top of the bar to be served to awaiting patrons.  To my delight, our spicy tuna roll made its presence shortly after we finished our soup.  In a pathetic attempt at being cultured, I tried my hand at using the chopsticks found rolled into my napkin. 

After taking two minutes to separate the wooden chopsticks, it took me another three to be able to use them.  Jenn laughed at me as I tried weaving the wooden tools through my fingers.  I covered the bright red tuna, which was wrapped in a tight cluster of sticky rice, in wasabi and ginger before rubbing it in soy sauce and eating it.  After fumbling with that one piece, I decided to stick with the fork.

Before I could sit back in my chair, my main course came sizzling around the corner, followed by the chicken teriyaki Jenn ordered.  My entrée, bul go gi, is marinated, thin-sliced sirloin steak complimented by fresh vegetables such as bamboo, onions, carrots, broccoli, and celery.  Feeling confident about using my chopsticks again, I picked them up and had at the steaming meal, occasionally helping myself to my girlfriend’s plate as well.  After reverting to my fork midway through the hearty portion of food, I finished my plate with flying colors.  Jenn however had to pack up the rest of hers for the road. 

Our bill followed shortly, and after digging deep into my wallet, we left the House of Teriyaki satiated.  While the portions were generous, the prices were not quite what the average college student can afford.  Entrees do have a large range, but we indulged that evening, purchasing sushi along with our entrees. 

“I had a wonderful time that night,” said Jennifer, who didn’t pay a dime for the food she ate.  “House of Teriyaki is a restaurant I would like to go back to some time, but probably just for sushi instead of eating a huge meal.  While I didn’t pay for the meal, I think their prices are a little high for students.”

Another minor complaint I had was that the House of Teriyaki does not serve alcoholic beverages.  What I did however find interesting was that students who came to eat brought their own instead.  I watched three separate students walk in with brown bags, unhesitant to place beer on the table to drink with their food.  Finally, House of Teriyaki does not serve dessert, the only way to end a great meal.

While these shortcomings are notable, they certainly do not outweigh the quality of food and service offered by the House of Teriyaki.  After passing by this restaurant for three years, I am happy I finally ate there, and will likely make a return venture soon for another spicy tuna roll.  Maybe next time I’ll eat the entire thing with chopsticks.


This website was created by the students of Journalism 375 at the University of Massachusetts 2005