Best Bet: Fried ice cream tempura

Green tea (left) and mango fried ice cream tempura at Osaka Japanese Fusion Bistro.

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

Green tea (left) and mango fried ice cream tempura at Osaka Japanese Fusion Bistro.

I was told to try the fried ice cream tempura next time I was at Osaka Japanese Fusion Bistro. I did, but I asked my server, Andy Fong, if he preferred the mango ice cream over the green tea ice cream.

“It depends on how I feel,” he said. “If I’m craving something sweet, mango.” Green tea has “more of an Oriental taste,” he said.

I asked him to describe the green tea taste. “For me, it’s ‘at home,’” said Fong, who is from Taiwan.

So I ordered both. They’re fantastic. My first thought was “crunchy ice cream.” It’s like eating an ice cream fried pie. It sells for $4.75. You also can get other ice cream flavors. The dessert also is available at the three Osaka Japanese Cuisine restaurants in the area.

The fried ice cream was topped with chocolate drizzles, whipped cream and a cherry, but I also ordered one without the toppings. I liked that better, but, either way, they taste exactly the way Fong described them. The mango is sweet, but very good. The green tea reminds me of Japanese dishes I’ve eaten.

Osaka manager Manuel Martinez and Fong told me how to fry ice cream. You cover a scoop of ice cream with butter pound cake. You then wrap the cake-covered ice cream in cellophane and put it in the freezer overnight so the cake will harden. The next day, you remove the cellophane and drop the ball of cake-covered ice cream in tempura batter, then quickly fry it. Then you take it out, cut it in half and serve it with or without the toppings.

I began eating the ice cream with a fork, but I switched to an iced-tea spoon when it began melting. It’s one thing on the menu you can’t eat with chopsticks.

Osaka Japanese Fusion Bistro is at 3402 Poplar; 901 249-4690

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