Cafe Assessment: Chattanooga’s Flying Squirrel adds much more Japanese fare to its menu

This story was current on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021 at 6:46 p.m. to mirror that Flying Squirrel has determined versus quickly rebranding as “Traveling Squid” as formerly reported.

Traveling Squirrel is a culinary chameleon, modifying its menu with the year. In this circumstance, the Southside eatery will be adding more Japanese favorites in addition to its standard menu.

When cafe officers deemed temporarily shifting the identify to the Traveling Squid, they later on stated they determined not to in excess of worries it would trigger confusion and guide to limitations.


THE Foodstuff

Japanese meals is an journey. For starters, the names of dishes are unfamiliar to most of us in the place and mostly challenging to pronounce except if you happen to be fluent in the Japanese language. But when you get further than that, you might be in for food items that excites the palate. The components enhance every single other for explosions of flavor.

I was specifically amazed by the ramen, the most effective I have ever experienced. Govt chef Sanders Parker suggests he took the “If at very first you really don’t be successful, consider, attempt again” approach when coming up with the recipe. He tried out a dozen instances prior to it came out correct, with the exact blend of seasonings and heat to convey it to perfection.

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Contributed Photograph by Anne Braly / Flying Squirrel’s ramen, made by govt chef Sanders Parker, has a shiitake-seaweed base seasoned with tare (a blend 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 itself is created in-dwelling. When mixed with the delightful broth and topped with regional mushrooms from 2 Angels Farms, a minor kale and pickled bean sprouts, together with a marinated 6-moment egg — or not, if you’re vegan — it is a thing of ponder.

At Flying Squirrel, the dishes are intended for sharing. Much too terrible I was on my personal, for the reason that half the enjoyable is observing the expression on your mate’s face when he or she attempts distinctive meals for the to start with time, these kinds of as the Japanese pancake — okonomiyaki. It translates basically into “grilled how you like it.” Seems like comfort food to me.

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

When on the matter of comfort and ease foods, what about fried hen? In Japan, they simply call it karaage. I just phone it astounding. For a community touch, Springer Mountain rooster is marinated and dredged in a batter of egg and potato starch, then fried two times to get it really crispy. It arrives on a plate with Japanese mayo and a drizzle of black garlic molasses.

I am telling you, this is my new most loved food items.

If you go

Where by: Traveling Squirrel, 55 Johnson St.

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

Alcoholic beverages: Complete bar

Contact: 423-602-5980,


THE House

Curiously, the unique architecture at Flying Squirrel brings nature into play, considerably like properties in Japan do. So the room enhances the temporary improve in menu.

Booth dividers have glass embedded with a all-natural style, and the expansive flooring-to-ceiling home windows provide the outside the house in.

The prolonged bar at the entrance of the cafe, huge booths along the wall and a good deal of out of doors seating with heaters permit for fantastic social distancing.


THE Support

No complaints. To satisfy pandemic pointers, the restaurant is at confined potential for seating, and servers wore masks at all moments. To thoroughly respect social-distancing rules, my server put my drinking water glass on the desk next to me to allow me to reach for it soon after she walked off. She built positive there was a good deal of house concerning us. I regard that.

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Contributed Picture by Anne Braly / Flying Squirrel’s fried hen, known as karaage, is fried twice for excess crispness. It is served with Japanese mayo and a drizzle of black garlic molasses.



There is certainly a explanation why Traveling Squirrel has come to be a go-to location for folks on the Southside and other individuals searching for a excellent bar scene and terrific foodstuff. It’s all about regularity — food, support and environment. And now that Traveling Squirrel has new fare — at the very least right up until the initial regional strawberries and other develop start off ripening throughout the Tennessee Valley and the restaurant goes back to its initial offerings — patrons have a new menu to get fired up about.

E mail Anne Braly at