We lived in Columbus for 17 years. While there are a lot of great memories and great friends there, I don’t miss it. I miss seeing J-Dub every week and having lunch or shopping with her, but it never really felt like home. I do miss some of my favorite restaurants. Out here in the “almost” country, there’s no replacing some of them. Especially House of Japan. My husband and I were regulars there. The chefs knew our orders by heart. We were talking about dinner ideas for the coming week and I mentioned making fried rice one night. Suddenly he blurted out, “You know what I would love for you to make more than anything? That salad dressing from House of Japan.”
Me: “Really? What about those spring rolls? Best spring rolls ever. You choose salad over those?”
Him: “Okay. No. I would choose the spring rolls.”
Me: “Maybe I could make them, but it would be a lot of work, mess and expense for two people.” (These spring rolls have filet in them. They’re hands down the best I have ever had). “That dressing is really amazing. I bet I can re-create it. I’ll see if I can find a recipe. Then we can have hibachi steak with fried rice and salads.” Challenge accepted!
Thus began my search for a similar recipe. The closest thing I found was Benihana Ginger Salad Dressing. I adjusted it a little. We’re not having “House of Japan” night until tomorrow, but my husband couldn’t wait to try the dressing. He said, “OMG that is the best thing I have ever tasted. It’s butta.” Not sure where the “butta” came from, but apparently it’s pretty damned good and he was at a loss for words.
1/4 of a medium-sized white onion
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1/3 of a stalk of celery
1 tablespoon ketchup
4 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
DISCLAIMER: As opposed to using fresh garlic and ginger, which I don’t believe was used in the House of Japan dressing, I used the minced fresh garlic in a jar and the squeeze bottle of fresh ginger from my produce department. If you’re not using celery and onion for any other upcoming recipes, just get them from the salad bar. You don’t need much.
Put all the ingredients above into a food processor and mix for one minute. This recipe made enough dressing to fill a medium-sized mason jar about 3/4 full.