February 26, 2021


All Things Delicious

Cafe Critique: Chattanooga’s Flying Squirrel provides more Japanese fare to its menu

4 min read

This tale was current on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021 at 6:46 p.m. to reflect that Traveling Squirrel has resolved in opposition to briefly rebranding as “Flying Squid” as formerly described.

Traveling Squirrel is a culinary chameleon, changing its menu with the season. In this scenario, the Southside eatery will be introducing much more Japanese favorites in addition to its regular menu.

Even though restaurant officials deemed briefly transforming the identify to the Traveling Squid, they later explained they decided not to above anxieties it would result in confusion and guide to limitations.


THE Food stuff

Japanese meals is an experience. For starters, the names of dishes are unfamiliar to most of us in the area and largely tough to pronounce unless of course you are fluent in the Japanese language. But when you get beyond that, you’re in for food that excites the palate. The substances complement just about every other for explosions of taste.

I was in particular amazed by the ramen, the very best I’ve at any time experienced. Executive chef Sanders Parker suggests he took the “If at very first you you should not do well, check out, try out once more” tactic when coming up with the recipe. He tried using a dozen instances ahead of it arrived out proper, with the precise blend of seasonings and heat to deliver it to perfection.

Contributed Photograph by Anne Braly / Traveling Squirrel’s ramen, developed by government chef Sanders Parker, has a shiitake-seaweed base seasoned with tare (a mix of soy sauce, mirin, sake and sugar), then topped with mushrooms, kale and pickled bean sprouts. A marinated 6-moment egg is optional.

The shiitake-seaweed foundation is seasoned with tare, a mix of soy sauce, mirin, sake and sugar. The ramen alone is manufactured in-residence. When mixed with the scrumptious broth and topped with nearby mushrooms from 2 Angels Farms, a tiny kale and pickled bean sprouts, together with a marinated 6-moment egg — or not, if you are vegan — it is really a thing of speculate.

At Flying Squirrel, the dishes are intended for sharing. Way too terrible I was on my personal, since 50 % the pleasurable is looking at the expression on your mate’s facial area when he or she tries different foods for the to start with time, these kinds of as the Japanese pancake — okonomiyaki. It interprets basically into “grilled how you like it.” Seems like comfort food items to me.

At Traveling Squirrel, it can be assembled like a pizza, with a “crust” of cabbage and onions battered and grilled then topped with oko sauce and a lot of enjoyment points, like toasted sesame seeds, glazed shiitake mushrooms, orange peel, pickled ginger and far more.

Though on the topic of convenience food, what about fried rooster? In Japan, they simply call it karaage. I just simply call it wonderful. For a neighborhood touch, Springer Mountain rooster is marinated and dredged in a batter of egg and potato starch, then fried 2 times to get it definitely crispy. It will come on a plate with Japanese mayo and a drizzle of black garlic molasses.

I’m telling you, this is my new preferred foods.

If you go

The place: Flying Squirrel, 55 Johnson St.

Hrs: 5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 5-11:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday

Alcohol: Complete bar

Get in touch with: 423-602-5980, flyingsquirrelbar.com


THE Area

Apparently, the first architecture at Flying Squirrel provides nature into perform, considerably like structures in Japan do. So the house enhances the temporary change in menu.

Booth dividers have glass embedded with a natural layout, and the expansive flooring-to-ceiling windows convey the outside the house in.

The extended bar at the front of the restaurant, substantial booths together the wall and lots of outdoor seating with heaters let for great social distancing.


THE Services

No grievances. To meet up with pandemic guidelines, the restaurant is at confined capacity for seating, and servers wore masks at all occasions. To completely respect social-distancing guidelines, my server placed my drinking water glass on the desk future to me to enable me to get to for it soon after she walked off. She designed absolutely sure there was plenty of place amongst us. I respect that.

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Contributed Picture by Anne Braly / Traveling Squirrel’s fried chicken, identified as karaage, is fried two times for excess crispness. It really is served with Japanese mayo and a drizzle of black garlic molasses.



You can find a rationale why Traveling Squirrel has turn out to be a go-to location for persons on the Southside and many others wanting for a fantastic bar scene and great food items. It is all about regularity — food, support and ambiance. And now that Traveling Squirrel has new fare — at the very least until finally the to start with local strawberries and other produce get started ripening across the Tennessee Valley and the cafe goes back to its primary offerings — patrons have a new menu to get fired up about.

Email Anne Braly at [email protected]

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