Aug 042012
 

Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi, Teppanyaki
Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking
Location: Roseville, MN
Address: 1675 County Road C West Roseville, MN 55113  651-633-3188

Hours:

  • Mon-Thurs  11am-2:30pm, 4:30pm-10pm
  • Friday 11am-2:30pm, 4:30pm-11pm
  • Saturday 12pm-11pm
  • Sunday 12pm-10pm

Links: Osaka Steakhouse Website * Osaka on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: The Roseville location of Osaka Sushi & Hibachi is located at the far end of the strip mall on the northwest corner of Snelling and County Rd C. (same strip mall as Byerly’s and ZPizza).  The restaurant is divided into three areas: the dining room, the bar area and the hibachi room.  The dining room is to the left when you first walk in, a contemporary space with tables and booths to seat about forty people or so, and a sushi bar at the back to accommodate another dozen.  The wall to the left side of the restaurant is interesting to look at, with floor-to-ceiling textured back-lit glass panels in a variety of patterns, nestled between columns of stone bricks.

The sushi bar is a good place to sit if you like to interact with the sushi chefs, or if you want a closer look at the TVs hanging on the wall behind.

The Bar area is the first thing you see when you enter Osaka, centered between the dining and hibachi rooms.  It has a contemporary feel to it with the under-bar lighting and hanging pendants above.

To the right of the main entrance is the hibachi room.  There are a handful of  hibachi tables, each of which seats about 10-12 people.  The hibachi chef stands in the center of the table and cooks at the grill built into either side of the table.

Menu: Osaka receives their seafood fresh on Tuesday, Thursdays and Fridays.

Appetizers include Edamame, Squid Ginger Yaki, Yakitori, Steamed Shrimp Shumai, Calamari, Gyoza, Age Tofu, Vegetable Gyoza, Beef Negimaki, Haru Maki, Soft Shell Crab and Tempura.

Salads at Osaka include Garden Salad, Tataki Salad, Avocado Salad, Seaweed Salad, Kani Salad, Seafood Salad Squid Salad, and House Salad.  Soups include Miso, Spicy Miso Vegetable, Onion Soup and Dobin Soup.

Japanese Entrees include Teriyaki (chicken, beef, shrimp, salmon, seafood), Tempura (vegetable, chicken, seafood), Yaki Udon Noodles, Yaki Soba, Nabe Yaki Udon, Seafood Noodle Soup, Una Don, Chicken Katsu, Pork Katsu, and Beef Negimaki.

Sushi and Sashimi selections come with two pieces in an order: Maguro (tuna), Toro (fatty tuna), Spicy Tuna, Hamachi (yellowtail), Ebi (shrimp), Sake (salmon), Smoked Salmon, Ikura (salmon roe), Hirame (fluke), Tobiko (flying fish egg), Unagi (eel), Hotategai (scallop), Amaebi (sweet shrimp), Tamago (egg custard), Kani (crab stick), Saba (mackerel), Hokkigai (surf clam), Uni (sea urchin), Ika (squid), King Crab, Live Giant Clam, Tako (Octopus) and White Tuna.

Osaka Sushi dinners are served with miso soup and salad.  Options include Sushi Entree, Sashimi Entree, Chirasi Sushi, Tri Color Sushi, Sushi & Sashimi Combo, Roll Combo, Vegetable Roll Combo, Tekka Don, and Tuna or Salmon Love.  You can also order Sishi for 2, Sushi and Sashimi for 2, Love Boat or Chef’s Special.

Rolls and Hand Rolls at Osaka include Avocado, Kappa Maki, Oshinko Maki, Asparagus Maki, Mushroom & Avocado, A.A.C. Maki, Califormia Roll, Boston, Crispy Shrimp tempura Roll, Philadelphia Roll, Eel Cucumber, Salmon Skin Roll, Spicy Snow Crab Roll, Lobster & Avocado, King Crab & Avocado, Dragon Roll, and Spider Roll.  Fresh fish rolls include Tuna, Salmon, Yellowtail, Toro, Alaskan, Spicy Tuna, Spicy Salmon, Spicy Yellowtail, and Rainbow Roll.

Osaka’s specialty rolls include Angel, Crazy, Black Dragon, Osaka, Spicy Girl, Crazy Tuna, Sweet Heart, Naked Girl, Salmon Family Roll, Alligator, No. 9, M.J Roll, Roseville Roll, Pink Lady, Yum Yum, B.M.W., Crunch Roll, New York, Dancing, and Sex on the Beach.

Hibachi dinners are served with onion soup, house salad, hibachi noodles, hibachi vegetable with choice of meats including Vegetable, Chicken, Salmon, Scallops, Shrimp, Tuna, Sword Fish, Steak, Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail.
Price guide: Appetizers $5-9  Entrees $11-24 Sushi/Sashimi $4-9 Specialty Rolls $13-17  Hibachi $15-31
What we ordered: My companion and I ordered a variety of rolls and sashimi, including surf clam, uni with quail egg, spicy tuna roll, spicy girl roll, and dancing roll.

The Spicy Girl roll had spicy tuna and spicy yellowtail with cucumber on the inside and then wrapped with rice and topped with spicy salmon and panko.  This roll had a fair amount of kick to it, as one would hope with a name like Spicy Girl.  I thought it was good but it didn’t blow me away.

We also tried the Dancing Roll, which turned out to be one of the favorites of both of us.  This roll had tuna, salmon and yellowtail on the inside then was wrapped with rice, escolar, a very thin slice of avocado and then topped with tobiko.  I loved the flavors of the different fish all rolled together, while the tobiko gave it a nice contrast in texture.

My companion was thrilled to see Uni on the menu and even happier when told it was delivered fresh that same day.  We initially ordered two orders with quail egg and later ordered an additional two orders.  I have not been a fan of uni when I have had it in the past, however this uni at Osaka looked very fresh so I wanted to give it another try.  While I can’t say I’ve grown to love uni, this was the best uni I’ve had to date.  The freshness gave it a more mild and less mineral-like taste than other uni I’ve eaten.  The creaminess of the egg and the uni was well complimented by the rice.

The Surf Clam was also fresh; pretty good if you like surf clam.
(I personally can take it or leave it.)

We went back to Osaka less than two weeks later and once again ordered the Dancing Roll and the Uni with Quail Egg, as well as the B.M.W. Roll .  The BMW Roll was really good; it had spicy tuna and avocado wrapped with rice and then deep fried.  It was topped with unagi sauce, spicy mayo and tobiko.  Very good!

Service: Our first visit was late on a Friday night, and while it was busy, we had missed the dinner rush and were able to get a nice booth.  Our server greeted us promptly and was very attentive throughout the evening.  Our drinks were brought and refilled when needed and the wait for the sushi to be prepared was minimal for all the items we ordered.
Overall Impression: We enjoyed the Osaka Seafood Steakhouse in Roseville.  It had a cool atmosphere and pretty good sushi.  The hibachi is reasonably priced in comparison to other Japanese steakhouses in the Twin Cities, I would like to give it a try with a group in the future.
Osaka Seafood Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Dec 312011
 

Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi
Restaurant Features: Bar
Location: Northeast Minneapolis, MN
Address: 330 East Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis MN, 55414  612-332-6278
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-12am, Fri 11am-1am, Sat 4pm-1am , Sun 4pm-11pm

Links: Masu Website * Masu on Facebook * Google Map


Atmosphere: Masu Sushi and Robata is located in Northeast Minneapolis, just a few blocks from Downtown, on Hennepin Ave and 4th Street. Inside the restaurant, you will instantly discover a wall bearing a large pair of painted-up eyes belonging to an unknown Japanese woman.  The remainder of the restaurant is very contemporary, accessorized in black, red and Masu’s signature lime green.  I was having a such a good time with my companions that I forgot to take photos of the restaurant.  I hope to remedy this asap with a follow-up to Masu ;) Pictured below is a photo taken by Shea Link.

Menu: Izakaya (Small plates) include Japanese Cucumber, Steamed Edamame, Ginger Duck Gyoza, Sauteed Shishito Peppers, Agedashi Tofu, Crispy Pork Kara-Age, Crab and Edamame, Avocado and Oyster Tempura, Crispy Fish Chips, Oyster Shooter, Otsumami  Snack, Tsukemono, Shredded Dried Squid, Oysters on the Half Shell, Beef or Tuna Jerky, and Miso Soup.

Robata are skewers that are grilled.  Options include Sweet Corn, Asparagus, Japanese Mushrooms, Japanese Eggplant, Zucchini, Grilled rice Ball, Chicken Breast and Scallion, Chicken Livers, Chicken Thing, Chicken Wing, Chicken Meatball, Beef and Burdock Roll, Glazed Pork Ribs, Pork Belly, Pork Loin, Jumbo Shrimp, Mackerel, Sardine, Marinated Cod, Salmon with Scallion, and Scallop.

Sushi can be served as Nigiri or Sashimi.  Selections include Akame (Barramundi), Tai Tai (Snapper), Suzuki (Striped Bass), Faux-nagi (Striped Bass) in the style of Unagi, Anago (Sea Eel), Iwashi (Sardine), Saba (Atlantic Mackerel), Aji (Horse Mackerel), Sawara (Spanish Mackerel), Shiro (Magura Albacore) , Maguro (Yellowfin Tuna), Sake (Scottish Salmon), Iwana (Arctic Char), Ika (Squid), Kani (Snow Crab), Hotate (Sea Scallop), Kaibashira (Cooked Scallop with Tobiko), Hokki Gai (Arctic Surf Clam), Ebi (Cooked Wild Shrimp), Amaebi (Sweet Shrimp-Spot Prawn), Awabi (Abalone), Uzura (Quail Egg), Uni (Sea Urchin), Ikura (Salmon Roe), Yuzu Tobiko (Citrus Flying Fish Roe), Masago Capelin (Smelt Roe , Habanero Masago Smelt Roe), Wasabi Tobiko (Japanese Horseradish Flying Fish Roe), and Tomago (Japanese Egg Omelet).

Sushi Rolls include Sake (salmon and cucumber), Kappa (Cucumber), Shinko (Pickled Radish), Takuan Tekka (Takuan Tuna and Pickled Radish), Sabakari Takuan (Mackerel, Pickled Radish and Green Onion), Dynamite (Tuna & Albacore Tuna with Avocado and Chili Sauce) , Spicy Iwana (Arctic Char with Chili Sauce, Burdock, Kaiware and Cucumber ), Yellow Submarine Mamenori (Soy Paper, Masago, Ikura, Burdock, Avocado and Quail Egg), BLT (Crispy Salmon Skin, Lettuce, Tomato, Basil and Spicy Masago Mayonnaise), Poke (Marinated Tuna, Wakame, Scallion, Avocado, Cucumber and Sesame), Spicy Tuna (Tuna with Chili Sauce, Burdock, Avocado and Kaiware), California Roll (Snow Crab, Avocado, Cucumber and Masago ), Firecracker ( Shrimp Tempura, Crab, Avocado, Cucumber with Spicy Tuna and Tempura Flakes), Masu Roll (Shrimp Tempura, Habanero Masago, Avocado, Salmon, Scallop and Unagi Sauce), Chicken Teriyaki (Chicken Teriyaki with Cucumber, Avocado and Sesame Seeds), Rainbow Masago ( Cucumber, Maguro, Suzuki, Iwana, Hotate, Ebi, Tomago and Avocado ), Iwana Arctic Char, Ao-jiso Salted Shiso Leaves, Maguro Yellowfin Tuna, Kani Snow Crab, Oshinko (Assorted Pickled Vegetables), Wasabi Tobiko and Ikura Wasabi (Flavored Flying Fish Roe and Salmon Roe, Kani and Sesame Crab with Black Sesame Seeds), Ume Shiso (Pickled Plum and Japanese Mint), Kinoko (Assorted Japanese Mushrooms), and Uni (Sea Urchin and Yuzu Tobiko).
Price guide: Izakaya $5-11 Robata $2-6 Sushi $6-16
What we ordered: A couple of my companions started with the Oyster Shooter; which included a fresh raw oyster,  raw quails egg, fresh garlic and scallions served in a shot glass, filled to the brim with Sake.  Very exotic and Wonderful!

We then tried the Japanese Cucumber Salad which was wonderful.  The cucumber was thinly sliced and arranged in a wavy pattern then topped with seaweed and a sesame dressing that was tangy and slightly sweet.

We also tried the Spring Rolls filled with crab meat and edamame.  It was served with a spicy ginger dipping sauce.  Each little crispy roll was about 2 bites but the texture was great.

One of my companions had an order of Miso Soup. I did not try this but it looked like ordinary miso soup.

For the Robata we tried four skewers, which we were told had about 5-6 bites each. All four were served on one plate which was passed around.  We tried one Bacon-wrapped Asparagus skewer, one salmon skewer, ( I tried neither)

We also tried the Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp and Shrimp Skewer.  The one bite of robata that I tried was the bacon wrapped shrimp.  It wasn’t the greatest due to the fact that the bacon was barely cooked except for a few char marks.  As much as I love bacon, I am picky about how it is cooked and like it crispy over fatty.  The robata was good but we were not impressed with the amount of food we got for $20

There were several of us dining on this occasion and we were hungry!  Our initial sushi order included a Masu Roll, a Firecracker Roll and a Spicy Tuna Roll (pictured left to right).  The Masu Roll had shrimp tempura, habanero masago, avocado, scallop, salmon and unagi sauce.  This was good but the Firscracker Roll was a huge winner.  It had Shrimp Tempura, Crab, Avocado, Cucumber with Spicy Tuna and Tempura Flakes on top.  The taste and texture of this one was great.  The Spicy Tuna Roll was also delicious and perfectly spicy from the chili sauce.

The first order did not satisfy our sushi craving nor our appetites so we ordered two more orders of the Firecracker roll and a Spicy Iwana Roll.  We loved the Firecracker Roll as much the second time around and the Spicy Iwana Roll was also very good.  It had Arctic Char that was spiced with chili sauce and cucumber, burdock and kaiware.

We continued to eat even after all the sushi had disappeared! We tried the Tonkatsu Curry Noodles, served with a panko-breaded pork cutlet and poached egg.  This had a distinct Japanese flavoring to it but was quite tasty.  The egg yolk really gave the broth a silky texture.

We also ordered the Shrimp Yakisoba, which is fried wheat noodles flavored with a sweet yakisoba sauce.  It had several pieces of shrimp in addition to katsuobushi, which are dehydrated fish flakes, as well as pickled ginger and mayonnaise.  The fish flakes were “waving” when the dish was first brought out to us; it was pretty cool to watch for a second before we dug in.  The mayo gave it a slight creaminess which was a pleasant to the crispness of the veggies.

Service: We had a reservation made a couple of weeks in advance and our table was ready for us when we got there.  I was fortunate to find a spot at a meter just outside the entrance to Masu, otherwise I am not sure where you can park.  Our server had some personal favorites to suggest to us, some we went with, but many we chose on our own.  The entire dinner experience was very drawn out, as we ordered many courses throughout the night.  Masu is the type of place where you want to take your time to enjoy the experience.
Overall Impression: I had heard great things about Masu so I had very high expectations.  I was not disappointed.  The sushi was delicious, with fresh, high-quality fish, albeit slightly expensive.  The Robata was also good but didn’t seem to be as good of a value, unless you plan to only eat a skewer or two.  My companions and I really enjoyed Masu, I will definitely be back.
Masu Sushi & Robata on Urbanspoon

Aug 252011
 

Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi, Teppanyaki
Restaurant Features: Beer, Wine, On-Site Parking
Location: Stillwater, MN
Address: 1491 Stillwater Blvd N Stillwater, MN 55082  (651) 439-1376
Hours: Closed Mondays * Tues-Thurs 5-9pm * Fri-Sat 4:30-9:30pm  * Sun 4:30-8pm
Links: Murasaki Website * Google Map

Atmosphere: Murasaki is located in a strip mall on Stillwater Blvd, just off Hwy 36.  The restaurant is split into two distinct areas, one area for Teppanyaki , and one with the sushi bar.  The Sushi Bar seats about eight people, and then there are a handful of other tables for dining.  It is simply but stylishly decorated, with cool green paint and Japanese screens covering the windows and walls.

Menu:  Nigiri/Sashimi offered at Murasaki includes Maguro (tuna), Hamachi (yelowtail), Sake (salmon), Smoked Salmon, Hirame (Fliunder), Tai (snapper), Saba (mackerel), Ika (squid), Ebi (cooked shrimp), Unagi (cooked freshwater eel), Anago (cooked saltwater eel), Amaebi (sweet raw shrimp), Tamago (sweet egg omelet), Kani (crab), Hotategi (scallop), Hokkigai (surf clam), Tako (octopus), Masago (smelt roe), Uni (sea urchin), Tobiko (flying fish roe), Wasabi Masago, Ikura (salmon roe), Spicy Scallop, Suzuki (striped bass), and Inari (deep fried tofu).

Specialty Rolls include Spicy Tuna, Spicy Salmon, Salmon Skin, Caterpillar (eel, cucumber), Number Nine Roll (shrimp tempura, salmon, avocado), Philly Roll (salmon, cucumber, cream cheese), Murasaki (tuna, salmon and yellow tail), Crunchy Spicy Salmon, Rainbow Roll (crab, cucumber, avocado), Shrimp tempura Roll, Dynamite Roll (yellowtail, jalapeno), Spider Roll (fried soft shell crab), Dragon Roll (shrimp tempura, eel, avocado), Red Dragon Roll (shrimp tempura, tuna).

Cold Appetizers include Kaiso Salad, Go Mae, Tuna Tataki, Beef Tataki, Kani Su, Ika Sansai, Ika Miso, Tako Su, Ebi Su, Hiya Yako, Oshinko Pickles.

Hot Appetizers include Shrimp Shumai, Wasabi Pork Shumai, Edamame, Shrimp Tempura, Vegetable Tempura, Yaki Tori, Beef Kushi Yaki, Soft Shell Crab, Kai Bai Shra Age, Pan Fried Ika, Grilled Ika, Grilled Ika, Spicy Broiled Mussels, Age Dashi Tofu.

Dinner Entrees include Teriyaki (beef, chicken or salmon), Tempura (shrimp, seafood, chicken, vegetable), and Katsu (pork, chicken or shrimp). Bento Box options include Murasaki (pork katsu, steak teriyaki and tempura), Seafood (salmon teriyaki, shrimp tempura, sashimi), and Vegetable.

Hot Pot Dishes at Murasaki include Sukiyaki, Yose Nabe, and Nabe Yaki Udon.

Desserts include Tempura Ice Cream, Japanese Ice Cream and Vanilla Ice Cream.

Price guide: Sashimi $5-10/order Sushi Rolls $9-16

What we ordered: We started with an order of Calamari. These giant, tender pieces of calamari were so big you could almost mistake it for fish, it was cooked perfectly so that the calamari had the right texture and the panko was golden brown. It was served with a creamy dipping sauce.Calamari at Murasaki Japanese ~ Stillwater, MN

We also tried the Korean BBQ Short Ribs.  The taste of these ribs was sweet and the meat was tender…. what little meat there was, that is.  The ribs were very small and had more fat than meat, we both decided these are more work than they’re worth.

Our Sushi Chef also gave us bowl of Kaiso Salad to eat while our sushi was being prepared. Made with seaweed, shredded cucumber and carrots in a sweet sesame vinaigrette sauce.  Very light.

We ate a lot of sushi and fish at Murasaki. First up was the Hamachi and Hokkigai Sashimi.  Hamachi, also known as yellow tail, is my favorite fish to eat raw.  Murasaki served us some of the best hamachi either of us has ever eaten.  The slices were giant and cut to perfection because it was incredibly smooth and tender, none of that stringiness that raw fish sometimes has, it practically melted in my mouth.  It tasted fresh and wonderful as well, without any hint of fishiness.  The Hokkigai (surf clam) was also very fresh.

The first roll we tried was the Crunchy Spicy Tuna.  This roll had tuna covered with spicy mayo, then paired with cucumber.  The roll was covered with crunchy panko flakes then drizzled with unagi sauce and spicy mayo.  Very good, I really enjoy spicy tuna and the crunch just gives it the extra oomph.

We ordered another specialty roll, the Vegas Roll.  This roll had salmon, cream cheese and cucumber, fried in tempura batter and hen topped with slice of jalapeno, spicy mayo and sriracha. This roll had just a little kick to it, which was offset by the smooth, cream cheese.

We had some of more of the delicious hamachi in a simple roll.  Delish!

We couldn’t pass up on the Murasaki Roll, a fine roll with salmon, tuna, hamachi and tobiko, wrapped in rice then covered with panko flakes, spicy mayo and unagi sauce. This roll was also great, I loved the combo of flavors of smooth fish with the contrasting texture of the crunchy panko flakes and flying fish eggs.

Last but certainly not least, as it was my favorite of all the rolls we tried, was the Red Dragon roll. This roll had shrimp tempura, then rolled with rice which was then topped with tuna, avocado, spicy mayo and unagi sauce.

Service: We didn’t have a reservation and knowing that Murasaki gets busy on the weekend,  we made sure to arrive shortly after they opened on a Saturday night.  There were a few tables available, as well as many seats at the sushi bar, so we opted to sit at the sushi bar.  We had a server checking on us throughout the night to refill our drinks, but most of our interaction was with the Sushi Chef.  As the restaurant started to quickly fill up, the sushi chef served most of our rolls one at a time, giving himself time to fill other sushi orders.  The whole dinner process took awhile because we ordered so much food, but we enjoyed every minute.

Overall Impression: Murasaki was one of the best sushi experiences I have had in the Twin Cities.  It may be located in a  strip mall but don’t discredit it, definitely worth the drive out to Stillwater for some top quality sushi.
Sushi Murasaki on Urbanspoon
Sushi Murasaki Reviews in Stillwater

May 122011
 

Cuisine: Japanese, Seafood, Sushi
Restaurant Features: AYCE Lunch Buffet, Bar, On-Site Parking
Location: Maplewood, MN
Addresses & Maps:

Coon Rapids- 12580 Riverdale Boulevard NW, Suite 101, Coon Rapids, MN 55448(763) 421-3356
Maplewood- 1900 County Road D East  #140    Maplewood, MN 55109 (651) 773 – 5258
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-2:30 4:30-10pm  * Fri-Sat 11am-11pm * Sun 11am-9pm
Links: Osaka Website *

Atmosphere: The Osaka location in Maplewood is inside a strip-mall across from Maplewood Mall and Toys R Us.  The inside of Osaka is much bigger inside than it looks from the outside.  There are several different dining areas, including the sushi bar  which is just behind the buffet.  This room has several booths in addition to seating at the bar.  Several Asian-Style lanterns hang from the ceiling, creating a cute look.

The bar area also has booths.

Osaka also has a room full of Hibachi tables. Get a party together and make a reservation!

The buffets at Osaka are set up in a central area near the sushi bar. All sushi and cold items are on the right side, hot items are on the left.  At the end of the hot items there is a cook manning a hibachi grill, with chicken, shrimp or beef to-order.  There is also another large dining room beyond the buffet to the left.

Menu: Seafood Appetizers include Yellowtail Jalapeno, Mago Lobster Tartar, Nigiri Appetizer, Sashimi Appetizer, Salmon & Salmon Roe, Tuna Dumplings, Jelly Fish and Spicy Scallop Tatasu.  Hot appetizers include edamame, squid yaki, Pork Gyoza, Beef Negimaki, Yakitori, Salt and Pepper Calamari, Shrimp Tempura, Vegetable Tempura, Tempura Combo.

Salads include Garden, Seaweed Salad, and Kani.  Soup options include Miso, Onion, and Dobin.

Sashimi and Nigiri sold a La Carte include Tuna (Maguro), Fatty Tuna (Toro), Spicy Tuna, Yellowtail (Hamachi), Shrimp (Ebi), Salmon (Sake), Smoked Salmon (Sake Kunsei), Salmon Roe (Ikura), Flounder (Hirame), Flying Fish Roe (Tobiko), Eel (Unagi), Scallop (Kaibashira), Red Sweet Shrimp (Ama Ebi), Egg Custard (Tamago), Crab Stick (Kani), Mackeral (Saba), Surf Clam (Mirugai), Sea Urchin (Uni), Squid (Ika), King Crab, Octopus (Tako), and Super White Tuna (Mutsu).

Maki and Tamaki Rolls include Acocado, Kappa Maki, Avocado Asparagus and Cucumber, Boston (shrimp, cucumber, lettuce and spicy mayo), Shrimp Tempura Roll, Philly Roll, Spicy Snow Crab, Lobster and Avocado, King Crab and Avocado, Dragon (smoked eel and cucumber), Spider (deep fried soft shell crab), Alaskan (salmon, avocado, cucumber), Rainbow, Tuna, Salmon, Spicy Salmon, Spicy Yellowtail, Spicy White Tuna, Tuna and Avocado, Salmon and Avocado, Futomaki (japanese vegetable), and Spciy Blue Crab Roll.

Specialty rolls include *Osaka (cucumber, tuna, salmon, yellowtail, crab meat and tobiko), *Scorpion (shrimp tempura, soft shell crab, crab, asparagus rolled in crunchy flakes), *Sumo (spicy tuna, avocado and cucumber), *Tom’s (shrimp, asparagus, crunchy flakes with spicy tuna on outside), *Sayuri (Spicy tuna inside with tuna and avocado outside), Spicy Girl (shrimp tempura and avocado with lobster salad on outside), *Christmas (shrimp tempura, spicy tuna and avocado), *Winter (tuna, salmon, yellowtail and avocado), *No-9 (shrimp tempura with salmon and avocado with spicy mayo and eel, *Osaka Dragon (shrimp tempura, avocado, spicy tuna and papaya), *Lisa Crunch (shrimp tempura, cream cheese and avocado), *Black Dragon (lobster and avocado with eel, avocado and tobiko with eel sauce), *Crazy (eel, crab stick, salmon and asparagus inside with salmon, salmon roe and avocado outside), *OC (spicy salmon and crunchy flakes inside with salmon, avocado and salmon roe outside) and the *Halloween Roll (spicy scallop and avocado inside and tuna, salmon, tobiko and spicy mayo outside).

Traditional Entrees include Teriyaki (chicken, beef, salmon or shrimp), Tempura (vegetable, shrimp or chicken), Yaki Udon, Yaki Soba, Nabe Yaki Udon, Seafood Noodle Soup, Miso Seabass, Pineapple Lobster, Hamachi Kama, and Grilled Saba Fish Filet.

Hibachi Entrees include Vegetable, Chicken, Salmon, Scallops, Shrimp, Seabass, Steak, Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail.

Price guide: Appetizers $4-12 Nigiri/Sashimi $4-15  Specialty Rolls $12-18 Entrees $12-29  Hibachi Entrees $15-31

Lunch Buffet:

  • Mon-Thurs 11am-2:30pm
  • Fri-Sun 11am-3:30pm
Happy Hour:
  • Mon-Thurs 8pm-Close
  • 20% off all Osaka Specialty Rolls
  • Appetizers $3-9
  • Rolls $3-8
  • Sashimi/Nigiri $1.50-5

What We Ate: My companion and I both had the all-you-can-eat weekend lunch buffet.  It was a chilly spring day so one of the first things I tried was the Hot and Sour Soup.  This was pretty good, it had a somewhat thick, somewhat spicy broth with a generous amount of tofu and all the other ingredients that typically go in this soup.

Once I was warmed up from the soup, I was all about the sushi.  There were at least 8-10 different types of sushi rolls and a couple varieties of sashimi.  One of the rolls that I tried was the Lisa Crunch, a tasty roll of rice, shrimp tempura, cream cheese and avocado.  The spicy tuna was decent, as were all the other rolls I tried, considering it was a buffet.  The rolls were heavy on the rice, light on the fish and veggies, somewhat loosely rolled but they all tasted great!  I am especially fond of the soft-shell crab, mmm.

We also tried a plate of Seafood from the hot serving line.  The mussels were very good, mostly tender and tossed in a savory yet slightly sweet black bean sauce.  The smaller clams were even better.  Extremely tender and slightly sweet.  Oh so good! I also tried one of their steamed crayfish, which wasn’t anything exciting.  It did not taste sweet like lobster, instead it tasted like what it eats at the bottom of the lake.  Would be so much better drenched in salted butter.

Another plate I tried came from the hot side of the Buffet.  I literally tried only one bite of each item, as none of it did anything for me in comparison to the sushi.  The fried pork in some kind of  spicy-sweet sesame sauce and was thickly breaded and extra hard and grisly, it looked much better than it tasted.  The fried rice was extremely boring, the chicken with broccoli was sogged out, as were the lomein noodles.  The spring roll was kind of boring with just a simple rice noodle filling and very little flavor.  My favorite thing on this plate was the Fried Potstickers which were small but filled with flavorful pork sausage.

The desserts were very undesirable for the most part.  I’d rather eat more sushi than waste the carbs on these stale cookies and pastries.  The  fruit was simply okay.

Service: Our server refilled our drinks when we asked, that was all the service we really got since we were eating the buffet.

Overall Impression: Osaka is the first sushi restaurant to hit the area, so it is a welcome sight to the many sushi-lovers like myself out in the eastern ‘burbs.  The restaurant is actually Chinese-owned so it isn’t authentic Japanese but the sushi lunch buffet is a great value if you can eat a lot of sushi.  (I definitely ate my money’s worth! )  I thought Osaka was a cute place and the buffet was decent, not to mention it is less than 15 min from my house.

Osaka Sushi and Hibachi on Urbanspoon

Apr 012010
 

Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi
Restaurant Features: Bar, Happy Hour, Zashiki Room
Locations: Minneapolis & St Paul, MN
Addresses & Maps:

St Paul- 465 Wabasha St N St. Paul, MN 55102 (651) 310-0111

Minneapolis- 600 W Lake Street Minneapolis, MN 55408

Hours:

St Paul M-F 11a-2:30p Mon-Sat 5-10p

Minneapolis Tue-Th 5-10p Fri-Sat 5-10:30a Sun 5-9p

Links: Fuji Ya Website * Fuji Ya on Facebook

Fuji Ya St Paul, MN

Atmosphere: The St Paul location can be found in downtown St Paul at the corner of 7th and Wabasha.  There is a small dining room with tables to accommodate up to 30, with additional seating at the sushi bar at the front of the restaurant.  There is also a private Zashiki Room behind the paneled doors pictured in the back in the photo below.  During the day the natural lighting is soft and calming, with fresh flowers adorning every table

Inside of Fuji Ya

Lunch Menu: Appetizers include Yakitori(chicken and green onions on swewer) , Harumaki (Japanese style eggrolls), Agedashi Tofu, Edamame, Gyoza, Tempura Appetizer, Soft Shell Crab, and Spinach Gomae.

Sushi options include 2-piece Nigiri or 3 Piece Sashimi: Akaza Ebi (Japanese Lobster), Ama Ebi (sweet raw shrimp), Anago (salt water eel), Ebi (shrimp), Hamachi (yellowtail), Hirame (flounder), Hokki (surf clam), Hotate (raw scallop), Ika (squid), Ikura (salmon roe), Inari (deep fried tofu), Kampachi (small yellowtail), Kaibashira (cooked scallop), Kaki (oysters), Kani (crab leg meat), Madai (japanese red snapper), Maguro (tuna), Masago (smelt roe), Mirugai (giant clam), Mutsu (white toro), Saba (mackerel), Shake (salmon), Suzuki (striped sea bass), Tai (red snapper), Tako (octopus), Tamago 9egg custard), Tobiko (flying fish roe), Toro (oily tuna), Unagi (fresh water eel) and Uni (sea urchin)

Specialty Rolls include Dynamite, Spicy Tuna, Spicy Salmon, Philly, Spider, Salmon skin, California, Tempura, Caterpillar, Crunchy, Wasabi Crunchy, New York, Dragon, #9, Winter and Futo.

There are also a handful of sushi lunch specials including Sushi Lunch, Sashimi Lunch, Makimono Lunch and Sushi Appetizer.

Noodle Dishes at Fuji Ya include Udon or Soba noodle soup served with choice of: Tempura, Vegetable Tempura, Sauteed Beef & Vegetable, and Sauteed Vegetables.  Ramen Noodles come with choice of Spicy Seafoos, Spicy Chicken, Yaki-Soba, and Yaki-Meshi.

Lunch Entrees include Teriyaki (chicken or beef), Bulgogi (chicken or beef), Katsu (chicken or beef), and Tempura.  Donburi “Bowl” Dishes include  Oyako Don, Chuka Don, Unagi Don, and Tofu Don.

There are three Bento Box specials including Fuji Ya Special, Reiko’s and the Vegetarian.

Fuji Ya also offers Hibachi, your very own personal teppanyaki choice of chicken, shrimp or vegetables.

Dinner menu offers same appetizers  from the lunch menu with the addition of the following items: Miso or Sumasi Soup, House Salad, Kaiso, Sunomono Salad, Tuna Tataki, Calamari, Sauteed Salmon and Sashimi Salad.

Dinner Entrees include Sesame Encusted Tuna, Seafood Doria, Black Angus Toban Yaki, Teriyaki Chicken, Roast Duck with Raspberry Teriyaki, Tempura, Salmoin Shio-Yaki,  Yose Nabe, and Sukiyaki.
Price guide: Appetizers $5-9  Sushi $5-9 per order Specialty Roll $6-17 Noodles $7-10 Lunch entree $9-15  Dinner Entree $17-23

Happy Hour: Mon-Thurs 5-7p $4-5 appetizers See Happy Hour Menu
What I ordered: I was very hungry and knew I could spend a fortune on sushi, which is what I really wanted to eat but did not have the budget for.  I decided to get the #9 Roll (knowing that it would not fill me up), which was 8 delicious pieces of  Tempura shrimp with cucumber and spicy mayo, wrapped with salmon and avocado, then topped with special unagi sauce.  I loved every bite, but was indeed still hungry after eating.

One of my companions ordered the Sushi Lunch special which came with 6 pieces of maki roll (tuna) and 5 pieces of chef’s choice nigiri, served with miso soup.

Another companion ordered the Soba Noodle Soup with Vegetable Tempura.  There was a generous portion of tempura-battered onions, shredded carrots, sweet potato, broccoli and parsley and a large soup bowl filled with wheat soba noodles and broth.

Another companion was trying Japanese cuisine for the first time and wanted to go with something a little “safe”.  The Oyako Don was a good choice: Big bowl of rice and noodles topped with sliced chicken breast cooked in a dashi sauce, eggs, and a few veggies.  Flavorful but on the mild side.

Service: My companions and I were all able to find metered parking nearby, which was very nice! Our visit was on a Friday during the lunch rush and it was busy as expected.  Our server was nice but we didn’t see much of her; she was the only server scheduled for the entire dining room and was very busy.  Drinks took longer than necessary to be refilled but food was reasonably fast considering the day and time.
Overall Impression: I thought the specialty sushi that I had was very good, but I was left hungry for the amount of money I spent (typical for a quality sushi restaurant!). Would love to see an all-you-can-eat sushi option at Fuji-Ya but know that is unlikely.

Fuji Ya on Urbanspoon

Feb 152009
 

Cuisine: Japanese

Restaurant Features: All-You-Can-Eat, On-Site Parking, Bar
Location: Woodbury, MN
Address: 779 Bielenberg Dr. Unit 106 Woodbury, MN 55125 (651)578-7888

Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-2pm 4pm-10pm  Sat-Sun 11am-11pm
Links: Google Map

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Atmosphere: Akita is located in the corner of a strip mall (NE Corner of Tamarack Trail and Bielenberg Dr) and is larger than I expected it to be.  In the center of the restaurant is a large wooden pagoda-type structure, which is where the sushi chefs work their magic, and the alcoholic beverages are made.  Along one side of the structure is a sushi bar that seats about 12 people, the other three sides have bistro tables that wrap around and can accommodate two to four people.

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Another view of the bar/restaurant

Akita-dining1000Akita also has several booths along the outer walls of the restaurant which seem to offer a little more privacy.

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Menu: There are three menu options at Akita: Habachi (which has a separate dining area), A La Carte and All You Can Eat.  You may order anything off the AYCE Menu (all food is made-to-order) including:

Appetizers- Seaweed Salad, Edamame, Flying Fish Egg Salad, Miso Soup, Vegetable Salad, Cold Tofu, Chicken Wings, and Onion Soup.

Sashimi- Salmon, White Tuna, Snapper, Surf Clam, Mackerel, Crab Meat, and Tamago.

Sushi- Octopus, Sushi Pizza, Tofu, White Tuna, Salmon, Snapper, Mackerel, Unagi, Shrimp, Squid, Surf Clam, Tamago, Spicy Salmon, Spicy Tuna, Crab Meat, and Tobiko.

Maki Rolls (4-6 rolls per order)- Dragon, Spider, Rainbow, California, Shrimp Tempura, Cucumber and Surf Clam, Crispy, FutoMaki, White Tuna, Crab, Spicy Tuna, Spicy Salmon, Sweet Potato, Cucumber and Avocado, Cucumber, Salmon, Avocado, Tamago, Unagi, Tobiko, Dynamite, Pickled Mushroom and Pickled Radish.

Temaki (Hand Roll in a cone shape)- Shrimp Tempura, California, Spicy
Tuna, Cucumber and Surf Clam, Cucumber, Avocado, Spicy Salmon, Salmon,
Cucumber and Avocado, White Tuna, Crab Meat, Sweet Potato, Unagi,
Snapper, and Tamago.

Teriyaki- Chicken, Grilled Pike/Mackerel, Salmon, Salmon Head, Beef, Salmon Neck, Eggplant, Mackerel

Tempura- Shrimp, Squid, Crab Meat, Eggplant, Vegetable, Snapper, Potato, Mushroom, and Toro.

Teppanyaki- Baby Muchroom Beef Roll, Green Onion Beef Roll, BBQ Eel Fried Rice, Seafood Fried Rice, Sirloin Beef, Chicken, Salmon, Vegetable, Japanese Fried Rice, Vegetable Fried Rice, Chicken Fried Rice, Chicken Fried Udon, Japanese Fried Udon, Seafood Fried Udon, and Vegetable Fried Udon.

Udon (Thick Noodle) & Soba (Thin Noodle) in Soup- Vegetable, Dumpling, Spicy Seafood, Seafood, Beef, Tempura, Spicy Beef, Crab Meat, Chicken Teriyaki, Chicken Cutlet,  and Pork Cutlet.

You may also get any of the following foods deep-fried: Scallop, Dumpling, Pork Cutlet, Chicken Cutlet, Curry Chicken, Capelin Fish, Curry Pork, Tofu, Curry Beef, Spring Roll, and Squid Ball.

Desserts include Green Tea Ice Cream, Red Bean Ice Cream, and Vanilla Ice Cream.

Price guide: All You Can Eat Dinner $25  A La Carte $3-10 (per order) Hibachi $17-34

What We ordered: My companions and I first shared this large bowl of edamame (soy beans)

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I started with a Dragon Roll (tempura shrimp, cucumber, avocado, and rice rolled with salmon or tuna on top and then drizzled with spicy mayo sauce).  This was one of my favorites! I loved the combination of flavors and the slightly sweet crunch of the tempura shrimp along with the spicy sauce on top. One order includes 8 large pieces, almost too big to fit in my mouth. (I think I ate two full orders of the Dragon roll just to myself!)

The spicy tuna rolls were also delicious.  The tuna seemed to be cut into very fine pieces and mixed with a spicy mayo sauce, then paired with finely-sliced cucumber and wrapped with seaweed and rice.

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Next I tried

some sushi; Salmon, Yellow Tail and Surf Clam.  The fish was sliced thin and was of pretty decent quality; fresh.

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We also tried the Beef Teriyaki, which was thinly sliced, tender and slightly sweet form the teriyaki sauce.  The order is big enough to share with others and conveniently cut into thin pieces.

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The Fried Scallops were also very good.  I have eaten many scallops in my time, but I had never had them deep-dried until now.  Very good! The outside was very crispy and the inside was hot, but the combination of the tender scallop meat with the crunchy outside was a great combination, similar to a fish-stick or nugget, but so much better.  The top was drizzled with a creamy sauce (mayo?)

Akita-friedscallop1000Another companion tried the Unagi (eel)

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Another companion ordered the Octopus Sushi with Surf Clam and Yellowtail Sashimi.  The sashimi is sliced very thin and almost melts in your mouth.  The octopus does not have a real strong flavor, but the texture is quite chewy.

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For dessert we each tried the Green Tea Ice Cream (although I think we were all too full to really enjoy it).  The small scoop was just the right amount to cleanse your pallet after a very filling meal of sushi!

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Service: I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect as I had read many mixed reviews about the service at Akita, but my visit on a quiet Tuesday night was quite good.  The hostess wasn’t very friendly and our waitress spoke limited English, but we were able to get by without a problem.  All of our food was made-to-order and brought to us in a reasonable amount of time and our drinks were refilled in a timely fashion.  We were able to order as much as we wanted, whenever we wanted.  Our server was very up-front in letting us know that they have a surcharge of 15% for excessive waste, so it isn’t the best idea to order foods that you will not eat.
Overall Impression: Best All-You-Can Eat- Sushi offering that I have found in the Cities yet! For $25 I was able to try a large selection of the menu and ate enough to be totally stuffed out of my mind.  Try going on a Monday or Tuesday when it is less busy and you should be happy with the service.
Akita Sushi & Hibachi on Urbanspoon

Nov 242007
 

Cuisine: Japanese

Location: Downtown St. Paul

Address:
Carriage Hill Plaza 350 St. Peter Street St. Paul, Minnesota 55102 (651) 224-0185

Fri & Sat  11:30-2:30pm, 5:00pm-11pm  Sunday  12pm-2:30pm, 4:00-9:30pm

Links: Sakura WebsiteGoogle Map

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Atmosphere: Sakura has a romantic, yet industrial feeling, with high ceilings and dim pendant lighting. The dining room is long and narrow, but features a full-length bar.

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Menu: Appetizers include a variety of cold appetizers ( various fish and seafood items marinated in a variety of sauces, seasoned radish, boiled asparagus, boiled cold spinach.)  Hot appetizers include pan-fried and steamed dumplings, sliced ribeye rolled with asparagus, fried tofu, oysters, boiled and steamed fish and seafood items, etc).

Entrees include
Sukiyaki
Prime slices of rib eye, fresh vegetables, tofu and noodles,
cooked in sukiyaki sauce. Yosenabe- “Japanese Bouillabaisse.” Seafood and vegetables cooked
in a flavored broth.
Shabu Shabu- Thin slices of rib eye and vegetables made at your table in
a seasoned broth. Chicken Katsu-Breaded chicken, deep fried and served on a bed of fresh cabbage. Tonkatsu-Breaded pork, deep fried and served on a bed of fresh cabbage. Yaki Niku-Marinated, thin slices broiled beef served on a bed of fresh cabbage.
Sushi and sashimi includes:
Maguro
(Tuna). Bincho (Albacore Tuna). Hamachi (Yellow Tail). Shake (Salmon). Hirame ( Halibut). Suzuki(Striped Bass). Saba ( Mackerel). Tako (Octopus).
Ika (Squid)Ebi (Shrimp). Amaebi (Sweet Shrimp). Kani (Crab) Mirugai (Jumbo Clam). Hokkigai ( Surf Clam). Akagai (Ark Shell). Hotate (Scallop). Tamago (Egg). Unagi (Fresh Water Eel)Anago (Sea Eel). Uni-(Sea Urchin). Ikura (Salmon Egg). Tobiko (Flying Fish Egg). Masago (Smelt Egg) Bin Toro (Super White Albacore)
Sushi Rolls:
California
(California Roll). Spicy Tuna (Spicy Tuna Roll). Anakyu (Sea Eel Roll). Salmon Skin (Salmon Skin Roll). Lob & Aspara (Lobster & Asparagus). Tekka (Tuna Roll).Shakemaki (Salmon Roll). Negihama (Yellow Tail Roll). Kappa Maki (Cucumber Roll).  Tekka Maki (Tuna Roll). Oshinko (Pickled Radish Roll).  Kanpyo (Seasoned Gourd Roll).  Futomaki (Mixed Big Roll  – cooked vegatables include katyo, spinach, black mushrooms, cucumber, fish flakes, and egg.) Shake Maki (Salmon Roll)

Specialty rolls include
Aspen, Caterpillar, Dr. Nick, Spicy Tuna, Mexican, #9, Philadelphia, Rainbow, Spider, Tempura, Dancing eel, Dragon

Price guide: Nigiri sushi (2 pieces per order) $4.00-8.50, Specialty roll $6.25-14.95

What we ordered:My companions ordered Negimaki (Asparagus)-
Sliced rib eye rolled with Aparagus and ginger sauce.  I did not try this but it looked delicious and the others enjoyed it quite a bit.

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Please excuse the terrible quality of this photo, but we also ordered the gyozo.  Fried perfectly and packed with flavor!

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The sushi I ordered at Sakura was amazing! I found a new favorite in the Aspen Roll (crab, shrimp, daikon sprouts, avocado, spicy mayonnaise, rolled with masago on top.  The spicy tuna roll was also very good.  The vegetables and fish were very fresh and had a great texture.  The Phill roll was also quite good as long as you love a lot of cream cheese!

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My companions ordered (clockwise from the top left): Ikura (salmon egg), Tobiko (flying fish egg), and several orders of uni (sea urchin), some of them with quail egg.

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Also ordered was yellow tail (Hamachi), arctic clam (hokki)

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Another companion ordered Sukiyaki, which first came with miso soup and house salad.  The sukiyaki was decent, but not a favorite of my companion.  The beef was somewhat chewy.

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Another companion ordered the chicken teriyaki/shrimp tempura plate and really enjoyed it.

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Service: Very friendly and patient, considering she was serving a large group.

Overall Impression: Cool atmosphere and delicious, fresh sushi.  Prices seemed pretty reasonable compared to other Japanese restaurants.

Sakura on Urbanspoon

Apr 282007
 

Cuisine: Japanese

Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking

Location: St Paul, MN

Address: 695 Grand Ave. St. Paul, MN 55105  651-292-0444

Hours: Lunch  Monday-Friday 11:30 AM-2:30 PM  Dinner: Monday-Thursday 5:00-10:00 PM Friday 5:00-11:00 PM  Open all day Saturday Noon to 11:00 PM  Sunday 4:00-9:00 PM

Links: Saji Ya Website *  Saji Ya on FacebookGoogle Map

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Atmosphere: Located at the beginning of Grand Ave’s trendy restaurant district, Saji-Ya shares a building with Dixie’s Cajun Restaurant.  Recently remodeled, Saji-Ya features a sushi bar within the main dining area, as well as a cocktail lounge.  Teppanyaki tables are located upstairs.  General vibe is contemporary yet romantic.

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Menu: Saji-Ya serves a variety of traditional and modern Japanese dishes.  To start off, try their delicious ginger chicken wings, edamame, teriyaki chicken or beef skewers, soft-shell crab, shrimp or vegetable tempura, tuna tataki, and sauteed mushrooms.

Japanese entrees include sukiyaki, okisuki, salmon steak, shrimp tempura, soba and udon noodles.

Sushi options include maki sushi (rolls), nigiri sushi (fish atop rice) and sashimi (raw slices of fish).  Fish choices include albacore, yellowtail, red snapper, salmon, clam, octopus, various fish roe, shrimp and scallop. Full menu of sushi selections here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Price guide: Appetizers $5-12  Entrees $17-24   Sushi and sashimi $4-15 (per order)

What I ordered: To start off, I had the Saji-Ya house salad.  I highly recommend you try this salad! It is on the small side, but the dressing is like no other you have had anywhere…its light, creamy and just a little bit sweet.

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My companion and I shared this gorgeous plate of Sushi.  Clockwise from lower left: Hokki (arctic clam), spicy tuna roll, crunchy roll (masago, shrimp tempura, spicy mayo, and coated with tempura flakes), kaibashira (scallop mixed with spicy mayo), Ikura (salmon roe) and hamachi sashimi (yellowtail). Fresh and fabulous! The crunchy roll and spicy tuna roll are my favorite types of sushi.  These were both excellent.

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Another companion of mine ordered the spider roll (soft shell crab) and the Number 9 (shrimp, salmon and avocado).  Thought they were excellent as well.

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Service: Very friendly. Wait staff are knowledgeable about sushi and will make suggestions if needed. It does take awhile to prepare such beautiful sushi, but it is worth the wait.  Reservations are accepted and a good idea if you plan to dine on a weekend evening.

Overall Impression: Fun and trendy, a good place to go for either sushi or teppanyaki.  You get a decent amount of food for the money, but be prepared to shell out some $$ if you want to try many types of sushi.  Saji-Ya is a long-time personal family favorite

Saji-Ya on Urbanspoon