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Teppo is Still on Fire

Teppo is Still on Fire

Stick It: The best way to enjoy Teppo’s binchotan grill is to assemble a sampler of skewers.

As a discerning friend noted, Teppo is about intangibles. The discreet, sleek Lowest Greenville mainstay has glowed like an ember for 20 years, embodying the simple and refined art of Japanese barbecue with warmth and atmosphere to spare. The list of what arrives on skewers from the binchotan grill is long. Assemble a sampler: juicy chicken meatballs with a quail egg wash; sweetly gushing bacon-wrapped grape tomatoes; beef tongue, marinated in miso, with a sweet lilt and perfect seared caramelization; a tiny fish, straight as an arrow, steam rising as you slide it from the skewer. On a quiet night, accompany dark Sapporo with a delicate fan of tempura vegetables or braised, bonito-flake-fluttered Japanese eggplant to dip in a smoky sauce. Vegetables achieve notable dignity here, and desserts like carrot crème brûlée round out a menu that’s remarkably polished. Some elements can be patchy: I’ve been disappointed by clams in a very salty miso broth; tough octopus karaage. The sushi rice is not warm enough, sticky enough, or seasoned perfectly enough to stand out. But you cannot deny the quietly luxe allure of two Teppo signatures: foie gras, its sweetness enhanced with miso, its profile completed with toasted pecans. And grilled miso black cod, sultry as the smell of smoke and good enough to drive you mad.

By: Eve Hill-Agnus