Some We’ve Worked With
• AAA Baseball
• Al-jon/Vezzani Corp.,
• Bandag Manufacturing
• Brand Central Station
• Burlington (IA) Chamber
     of Commerce,
• Chiropractic Centennial
• Dahl Ford
• Deere & Co.
• Dubuque (IA)
• First Midwest Banks
• Galesburg (IL) Chamber
     of Commerce
• Galesburg Economic  
     Development Corp.
• Illinois Association of
     Public Health
• Iowa Development
• Kartridg Pak
• Life University
• MidCoast
• Mod-Form Manufacturing
• MPA Media
• National Seal Co.
• Palmer Chiropractic
     University System
• Quad-City Thunder
• Quad-City Times
• Quad-Cities Vision
     for the Future
• Sears Manufacturing
• The Marketing Advantage
• The Residential Specialist
• Today’s Chiropractic
• WDG Communications
• White Dog Studios




NOTE: Back in the day, a Shogun restaurant’s coming to the agricultural Midwest seemed an oddity. So this piece was really about the connection of cultures rather than the quality of food and service. The Oriental word-play would be politically incorrect these days, but at the time it was good fun. The mention at the end of “the River Centre sculpture” refers to another cultural issue in Davenport, a controversial statue that generated a lot of buzz in the media. Here’s another piece that demonstrates that there may be ideas to mine beyond the obvious.

Shogun Opens in Davenport

Japanese restaurant features cooking at your table
Konnichi wa, Quad-Cities-san.

Welcome to Shogun, serving food in Davenport fit for a Japanese emperor, bringing “a small part of the Orient here for your dining pleasure.”

Actually, Quad-Citians are getting beaucoup parts of the Orient for dining pleasure these days. Shogun is the latest in a spate of Oriental eateries bursting out like cherry blossoms in Kyoto.

The karma of Fred Feedlot and Polly Ester does not compel mixing Zen with the art of motorcycle maintenance. Still, their horizons are being broadened with cuisine of Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Thai restaurants, as well as this “steak house of Japan.”

The name Shogun bows to the cultural fascination triggered by the James Clavell novel and recent TV mini-series. Shogun, the steak house, stars hibachi cooking at your table by bona fide Japanese chefs.

Darrell Tsukiji, recruited from Seattle to manage the Davenport restaurant, says response so far has been gung-ho. “Our phones have been going crazy. People are telling us a restaurant like this was needed in this area. Now they don’t have to drive to Chicago for the experience.”

Located on the Harrison Street site that once housed A.B. Dick copy products, the restaurant is itself a copy of four others by the same owners—in Des Moines, Peoria, Oklahoma City and Avon, Colo.

In just over two months this spring, the 5,500 square-foot structure across the street from Lujack Schierbrock’s Honda dealership was transformed into a Japanese tea garden.

Dan Schlapkohl, president of Design Build of Rock Island, said his firm “recycled the old building” by constructing a kitchen in the shipping and receiving area, a bar and lounge in the offices and a dining area in the warehouse. Very ingenious, these Americans.

Schlapkohl said the toughest part of the deadline-racing project was running all the necessary lines through the floor to accommodate the grills at each of the 14 tables.

Not pretending to be fully traditional, Shogun stops short of having you shed your shoes and sit on the floor, but the atmosphere is convincing enough.

There’s a brightly colored samurai painted on the building at the entrance, and the hostesses, waitresses, chefs and bus boys are all costumed for Toranaga’s court. There are Japanese prints on the wall, rush-seat chairs and teak tables in the foyer and recorded koto or saimsen music.

The savory food would test the self-control of any samurai, about whom the menu notes, “when his stomach is empty, it is a disgrace to feel hungry.” That may have been the way of the warrior, but papa-san’s way was to quell the “feed me” croaks of kids and in-laws in town for the Memorial Day weekend.

Shogun seats about eight at a table, so our group of seven had one to ourselves. We also concluded we probably had the flashiest of the six chefs.

Very little was inscrutable about Tomoyoshi, from Osaka via Vail, Colo. He cooked us sole, shrimp and sukiyaki steak, but his specialty was ham.

The identical-sized shrimp slid onto the sizzling grill like Toyotas on an assembly line. Tomoyoshi chopped their tails and halved each shrimp lengthwise with impressive swordplay. Concern that he might commit Seppuku or amputate the mother-in-law proved unfounded.

Tomoyoshi’s running commentary—bean sprouts were defined as “Japanese sphagetti”—was only a prelude. With the cry “show time,” he bean twirling the huge salt shaker and pepper mill like a karate master’s nunchuks, incidentally pounding out an exotic rhythm on the table. The feat even brought applause from our cynical teen-ager. For once, the family had experienced something that wasn’t “stale.”

The chef’s skill didn’t happen by occident. Tsukiji said the chefs have to undergo a rigorous two or three years of training in the Teppanyakki style of cooking.

The seasonings and portions—in fact, everything about Shogun—shows the Japanese concern for cleanliness and having all the details just ah-so.

Before the meal you are offered a warm hand towel. Afterward you get a card to rate the food and the service. Everything our time out was most honorable, Shogun-sama, most honorable indeed.

The restaurant is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday, 5-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Besides excellent food and a fun time, Shogun serves up a cultural experience. It’s enough to make Fred and Polly go out and read the Clavell novel. Or try a little haiku. Let’s see:

Blooms on the plum—
and will acceptance also come
of the River Centre sculpture?




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