Mar 112010
 

Cuisine: American, Fish, Irish,  Steaks
Restaurant Features: Bar, Banquet Room, Live Music, On-Site Parking, Patio,
Location: White Bear Lake, MN
Address: 2171 4th Street White Bear Lake, Minnesota 55110 651-426-2300
Hours: Mon-Sun 11a-2a   Kitchen

Links:* Manitou Station Website * Manitou Station Facebook PageGoogle Map

Atmosphere: Located in a newly constructed two-story building at the heart of downtown White Bear Lake, Manitou Station is the newest and grandest restaurant in town. If the beautiful gazebo built above the front entrance didn’t catch your eye, one walk through the beautiful space and you can see that fine attention was put into every detail.  At the heart of the main level is a spectacular wooden bar (built by Dick Barth) that is a re-creation of a bar in Galway, Ireland.  The beautiful ceiling is made of tin tiles that were hand-pounded into an intricate design and then painted.

The main dining room is spacious and open, with large windows running the length of the room and brighten it with natural light.  At night the chandelier lights are dimmed and it takes on a while new mood, one that could be either lively or romantic, depending on who you’re with.  There are a number of high-backed large booths around the perimeter of the room, with wooden tables spread out in the middle.  There is also another smaller dining area adjacent to the bar, as well as seating at and around the bar.

The second floor of Manitou Station is where you will find the Grand Station Ballroom.  With gorgeous hardwood floors that stretch the length of the entire building, the large space will seat up to 200.  There is also a second banquet area on the upper level called the Whistle Stop Room, which will hold up to 50.

In the front corner of the banquet space (directly above the front entrance), there is a beautiful Gazebo-style room that overlooks downtown White Bear Lake from several angles.  It’s a very cool view!

Menu: Appetizers at Manitou Station include Walleye and Wild Rice Cakes, Beer Battered Onion Rings, Parmesan Chicken Strips, Steamer Clams, Scotch Egg, Sunny Sandwiches, English Fish & Chips Basket, Window Pane Chips, Brie & Fruit with Crustini, Fries, The Station Sampler and Mediterranean Sampler.

Salads offered are Starter Salad, Traditional Cobb, Steakhouse Wedge, Shrimp Louis, Apple and Walnut, Classic Caesar, Grilled Chicken Caesar, Blackened Chicken Caesar, Greek with Oregano Chicken.  Soups include Beef & Guinness Stew, Clam Chowder, Crab & Whiskey Bisque, Cheddar and Ale, Chicken Wild Rice and French Onion.

Sandwich and burger options at Manitou Station are the Parmesan Crusted BLT, Corned Beef Brisket Melt, Rachael, Deli Style Turkey, Deli Style Ham, Chargrilled Salmon Club, Curried Chicken Salad Croissant, Prime Rib Dip, BBQ Bacon Cheddar, Mushroom and Swiss, Avocado Cheddar Ranch, Cheddar, Swiss or Blue Cheese, California Burger or Chicken.

Entrees include English Fish & Chips, Flat Iron Steak, Beef & Guinness Stew,  Chargrill Finished Prime Rib (12-16 or 24 oz),  Filet Mignon, Roasted Chicken, Parmesan Encrusted Walleye, Sage & Brown Butter Seared Scallops, Peppercorn Ahi Tuna, Salmon Oscar, Pasta Carbonara, Chicken & Artichoke Alfredo, Wild Mushroom Risotto, and Rock Shrimp & Lemon Risotto.

Desserts at Manitou Station include Vanilla Cheesecake with Berries, Peaches Foster over Ice Cream, Apple Crisp and Ice Cream, Chocolate Ganache with Berries, and Bread Pudding with Ice Cream.

Mantiou Station has a wide variety of tap beers and specialty beers including Boddington’s, Magners Irish Cider, Moose Drool, or Matilda.  Some of the Specialty drinks include Mango Cosmo, Absolut Paradise, Summer Vacation, Woodford Manhattan, Dirty Blue Martini, Jameson & Ginger, Manitou Breeze, Chocolate Truffle, Pontoon Ride, Irish Bulldog and Baby Guinness

Price guide: Appetizers $7-11  Salads $9-13  Sandwiches/Burgers $8-12  Entrees $13-25

What we ordered: We started with the complimentary rye bread, fresh from a local bakery.  The thick, dense bread was neatly sliced and had the flavor and slight dryness you would expect from a rye bread.  Caraway seeds too!

Manitou Station is known as the place to go for Scotch Eggs, so we tried these to start.  Delicious! A simple hard-boiled egg that is wrapped with a sausage patty, lightly breaded and then deep fried.  These treats were served with a mustard dipping sauce.  If you haven’t ever tried one, what are you waiting for?!

I had also heard great things about the Steamed Clams so we got an order of these too.  These clams were superior to any others I have had around.  They were steamed open with fresh garlic, white wine and butter; all flavors that go so well with seafood! They were cooked for just the exact amount of time and were soft and tender, easy to extract from the shell.  Squeeze a little lemon on one of those little guys and you will have eaten half the plate before you know it.  Would you believe that this large plate of clams is only $8??!! You can’t even see half the clams in this photo because they were covered by the three large pieces of bread that came with.  They totally under-priced these little gems but you won’t hear me complaining!

The Parmesan Crusted Walleye came highly recommended and sounded like a great choice, so that is what I ordered for my entree.  Fabulous decision! The walleye fillet may have been the biggest I have seen to date and it looked incredibly appealing as well.  The fillet was lightly seasoned and topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese, then baked until the cheese was a dark golden color.  The texture was both light and flaky, just as it should be.  I also loved that it didn’t have a thick breading on it like you see at many other restaurants (great for a low-carb diet!).  The wild rice pilaf that was served with it was also on the light side and perfectly complimented the fish.  Another great example of how fish and rice were meant to go together ;)  The steamed broccoli was also very good, with just a little butter and salt to season it.  The order was very big and even after sharing with my companion, my plate was still half full. (Have I mentioned I love leftovers?)

My companion ordered the Filet Mignon with Mushroom Demi Glace (other options included Blue Cheese Butter or Bearnaise Sauce).  The tender cut of meat was aged, giving it that extra-special meaty flavor so many carnivores (like me and my companion) love.  It was mildly seasoned with salt , then chargrilled until it was medium-rare.  The meat was so tender it practically melted in my mouth.  I confess I ate more than a few bites of my companion’s steak, I loved it so much.

With the steak we also ordered a Crock O ‘Shrooms, which is large enough for at least two people to share.  These are a must-have if you like mushrooms with your steak!! Sauteed in a  broth of garlic and butter, these little button mushrooms hold flavor like a sponge.  Yum!

Despite being very full after the appetizers and entree, I ordered dessert as well.  I had never had Peaches Foster but it sounded wonderful and tasted even better! The dish was prepared with fresh, firm, peaches that had been cut into bite-sized pieces and coated with brown sugar, then cooked until they were caramelized.  The peaches were served over vanilla ice cream, giving a whole new twist to peaches-and-cream.  The texture of the peaches was similar to cooked apple,  and they were just the perfect blend of tart and sweet.

They brought us some complimentary truffles, made in-house daily.  These truffles happened to be mint but the flavor changes every day.  Very good!

We also tried a couple of the Specialty House drinks: Chocolate Truffle Martini and the Pontoon Ride.  The chocolate truffle martini was made with Kahlua Mocha, Creme de Cacoa and Bailey’s Irish Creme.  A yummy, creamy, chocolatey treat that is great after dinner (if you still have room!).  It was not only drizzled with chocolate but also had a homemade truffle in the glass.

The Pontoon Ride was made with Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka, Sierra Mist, and a splash of orange juice.  Very cool, refreshing citrusy drink.  Would be great out on the patio in the summer

Service: We had excellent service! The people at Manitou Station know how to treat their customers right.  There are two parking lots available to customers, one in the front and one in the back (general purpose parking), as well as on-street parking so we had no problem finding a space.  We were greeted with a  smile at the hostess stand and were given a nice big booth.  Our server, Nick, was very knowledgeable of the menu and did a great job of giving recommendations.  Our food was paced at a leisurely rate as we ordered different courses, and drinks were served and refilled promptly.  The Management staff (including restaurant owners) seem very considerate of their guests, periodically stopping at tables to ask how everything is. I really appreciate the personal touch… not enough restaurants do that these days.

Overall Impression: We loved everything about Manitou Station: Cool atmosphere for either lunch, dinner or drinks, great service, creative cocktails, scotch eggs, seasoned clams, giant walleye, tender-aged beef, and peaches foster….. need I say more?  I will be back again soon!! Also, Mantou Station is going to be a happening place on St Patrick’s Day with a special menu, event tent and live music.
Manitou Station on Urbanspoon

Nov 282009
 

Disclosure: I was invited out to do this review and my meal was provided by the restaurant. All opinions are my own.
Cuisine: American, Sushi, Seafood, Steaks, Pasta
Restaurant Features: Bar, Happy Hour
Locations: Mall of America, Edina (Galleria), St Louis Park (Shops at West End)

Addresses & Maps:

Mall of America- 368 South Avenue Bloomington, MN 55425 952.854.5000 (3rd Floor Across from Macy’s)
Edina-520 W. 70th Street Edina, MN 55435  952.697.6000

St Louis Park-1603 West End Blvd. St. Louis Park, MN 55416 952.933.6500

Hours: MOA- Lunch 11a-4p  Dinner M-Sa 4p-10p Sun 4p-8p

Edina- Lunch 11a-4p  Dinner M-Th 4-10p Fri-Sat 4-11p Sun 4-9p

St Louis Park- Lunch 11a-4p  Dinner M-Th 4-10p Fri-Sat 4-11p Sun 4-9p

Links: Crave Website * Crave on FacebookOpenTable Reservation

Atmosphere: The Mall of America location of Crave is on the 3rd floor of South Ave, across from Macy’s.  The restaurant is large and spacious, with a large bar off to the left side near the entrance and a sushi bar centrally placed along the wall in the middle of the main dining room.  Although the majority of seating is at tables throughout the dining room, there are also several high-backed booths that allow for more privacy.  The lighting is dim and romantic, with mood lighting created by the illuminated art behind the sushi bar and the softly glowing candles at each table.

Crave-inside
The kitchen is open along the back of the restaurant, with subtle views of the place where the chefs work their magic.  The lighting from the kitchen also gives the nearby tables a soft glow.

Crave-kitchen

Menu: The menu changes seasonally and features natural, organic and locally grown ingredients.  All beef is certified beef.

Appetizers on the new Fall Menu at Crave include Calamari, Chicken Satay, Lemon Garlic Wings, Pita & Spreads, Seared Scallops, Baked Crab & Artichoke Dip, Pesto Shrimp, Mini Burgers, Gingered Beef Eggrolls, Artisan Bread Basket, and Edamame.

Salads offered include Asian Noodle Salad, Atlantic Salmon, Steak Niçoise, Starter Crave Salad, Starter Caesar, Starter Roasted Beet & Walnut.  Soups include Hearty Tomato Pesto, Roasted Chicken & Wild Rice, and Leek & Potato.

Pizzas and Flatbreads at Crave are also quite popular.  Flatbread choices are the Roasted Chicken (with pesto, sun dried tomato and portobella mushrooms), Grape & Apple (with Amablu cheese and honey), Thai Chicken (a peanut sauce with cilantro, Asian cabbage and marinated cucumber), and the Napoleon (with garlic prosciutto). Pizzas include Pepperoni or Sausage, Margarita, Shaved Ribeye and the Chipotle BBQ Chicken.

Sandwiches on the dinner menu include Steak Sandwich, Ahi Tuna Steak and Crave Burger.

Pasta selections at Crave include Seas Scallop & Shrimp Fettuccine, Fettuccine & Roasted Mushrooms, Shrimp Scampi Al Fresco, Roasted Chicken and Penne, Baked Truffle Macaroni, Baked Cheese Penne, Spaghetti Pomodoro, and Ravioli Bolognese. Crave offers the option of a half-order of any of their pastas.

Crave has a nice selection of dinner entrees as well, such as the Grilled Petite Tender, Grilled Ribeye, Crab Crusted Filet Mignon, Tuscan New York Strip, Brined Pork Tenderloin, Chicken Stir-Fry, Crispy Half Chicken, Mango & Prawns, Grilled Ahi Tuna, Pistachio Crusted Salmon, Minnesota Walleye, Miso Glazed Sea Bass

The sushi selection at Crave is also pretty extensive.  Nigiri and Sashimi offerings include Crispy Rice Bars with Spicy Tuna, Scallops Poppers, Amaebi (sweet raw shrimp), Hamachi (yellowtail), Hirame (flounder), Hokki-Gai (surf clam), Maguro (red tuna), Mutsu (escolar), Sake (salmon), Suzuki (striped sea bass), Ebi (cooked shrimp), Unagi (cooked eel), Masago (smelt roe), Tako (octopus), Tobiko (flying fish roe), Wasabi Tobiko, and Seaweed Salad.

Maki Sushi offerings are the Tekka (tuna), Sake (salmon), Negihama (yellowtail and scallions), Unagi (cooked eel), Kappa (cucumber), Spicy Shrimp Cones, Chipotle Ocean Roll, Keilani;s Roll (shrimp tempuraavocado, wrapped with eel), Mexican Roll (yellowfin and escolar with avocado, cilantro,  jalapeños and spicy mayo), Number Nine (crunchy Spicy Tuna Roll), Dragon Wraps, Rainbow, Caterpillar, Spider, Veggie Roll, Tempura Roll, Spicy Tuna, California, Minnesota(cooked smoked walleye), Dynamite, Spicy Salmon, Crunchy Roll and Fire Roll.  There are alsoa  couple of sushi combos like the Sushi Sampler, Sushi Lunch Combo and Sashimi Lunch Combo.

Crave also has a delicious selection of desserts that changes seasonally.  The Fall desserts at Crave include Golden Raisin Bread Pudding, Key Lime Pie, Molten Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Bean Cheesecake, German Chocolate Cake, and Coconut White Cake.  The dessert menu also includes a variety of after-dinner drinks such as the Girl Scout Cookie and Buttery Bailey’s, Ports and Dessert Wines, and hot cafe drinks.

Price guide: Appetizers $8-13 Salads $8-15 Pizza/Flatbreads $12-13 Pastas $14-24 Entrees $24-37 Nigiri/Sashimi $6-10/order  Sushi Rolls $7-19/order
Happy Hour Specials:

Crave-happyhourmenu

What we ordered: My companion and I started with a couple of the Crave specialty cocktails, the Cranberry Smash and the Blueberry Lemonade.  The Cranberry Smash was made with vodka, ginger ale, mint leaves and cranberry juice.  The Opulent vodka revved up the drink but it wasn’t overly strong. The ginger ale gave it a pleasant sweetness that I wasn’t expecting, but the cranberries were tart enough to counter the sweetness.  I loved that the cranberries were frozen into ice cubes and floated at the top.  The Blueberry Lemonade was also very good and slightly sweeter than the Cranberry drink.  Excellent blend of flavors.

Crave-cocktails

The Pesto Shrimp appetizer came highly recommended by our server so we started with that.  What a great start to a great night of food! The sauteed tiger shrimps were served
on little slices of crostini toast that had been topped with oven-dried tomato, and then the shrimp toast was covered with pistachio pesto.  The shrimp was perfectly cooked so it was tender and complimented the crunch of the toast.  The pesto sauce was creamy and rich, a perfect sauce to go with the shrimp.

Crave-pestoshrimp

The Panko-Crusted Scallops also sounded really good so we tried an order of those as well.  These scallops may have been some of the best I have ever eaten! The scallops were large and coated with a layer of panko bread crumbs before being seared to a golden brown in the pan. They were cooked so that the meat was tender enough to melt in your mouth, yet the panko and seared edges gave it a nice crunch.  The scallops were served with a dressy arrangement of picatta buerre blanc and fresh field greens.  The butter and capers added the perfect touch of saltiness to compliment the sweetness of the scallop meat.

Crave-scallops

Sushi Chef Tony Lam brought us a special sampler platter that included a Mexican roll, ceviche, flying fish roe with quail egg wrapped in salmon,  amaebi (sweet raw shrimp), crispy rice bars, prawn heads, and three different fish mixtures atop cucumber slices.

Crave-chefsushiplatter
The Mexican roll (pictured top right in photo above) is Crave’s most popular roll and became my new
favorite after just one bite.  This roll is the perfect marriage of
Mexican and Sushi, two of my most favorite foods.  It had both yellow fin
tuna and escolar with avocado, cilantro, a slice of fresh jalapeño
and spicy mayo wrapped in rice and seaweed.  It is then topped with a soy citrus sauce (ponzu), and
chili oil with fresh lime juice squeezed on top. It was so good! I
loved the spiciness of the jalapeño, and the lime and cilantro gave it a
fresh citrus twist.  The tuna and the escolar inside the Mexican roll
were very tender and not at all fishy. Bravo!

The Crispy Rice Bars were also wonderful.  The rice cake was like a thick chewy rice cracker and had a lot more flavor than ordinary sticky rice.  It was topped with a heaping pile of spicy tuna mix, flying fish roe, and sliced jalapeno pepper. The combination of textures went together really well and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Crave-crispyricebar

The ceviche was one of my favorite items that Sushi Chef Tony Lam made for us to try.  A very thin slice of potato was fried with tempura batter and then topped with sliced raw fish that was marinated with a citrus soy sauce, scallions and fresh chili peppers.  It was packed with flavor and the tenderness of the fish paired with the texture of the tempura potato went perfectly together.

Crave-chefsushiceviche
The sushi was so good we ordered even more of Sushi Master Tony’s creations.  Clockwise From Lower Left: The Mexican Roll, Fire Roll, Number Nine, Dragon Wrap (top right), Hokki and Hamachi Sashimi, and Scallop Poppers (pictured in photo after the one below)

Crave-sushiplatter3

The Number Nine was filled with pieces of shrimp
tempura, spicy mayo, kaiware and yama gobo wrapped with salmon and
avocado and topped with a sweet soy based sauce. The Fire Roll was filled with pieces of shrimp tempura, cucumber, kaiware and yama gobo wrapped with
a spicy salmon mix and topped with chili oil.  This one was nice and spicy, just the way I like it.  The Dragon Wraps were also good.  Instead of rice, this roll is made with an egg omelet wrapped around  spicy tuna,
fresh water eel, avocado, fried green onions, crunchy flakes and miso
dressing.  Served in two big rolls.
The Scallop Poppers were also excellent. The scallops were baked in spicy dynamite sauce then wrapped in salmon and topped with crunchy panko flakes. Loved the combination of flavors and textures.

Crave-scalloppoppers

For my entree I ordered the Crab Crusted Filet MIgnon. This was outstanding! The filet was thick and cooked medium, as I requested.  It had a creamy crab and cheese mixture with just the slightest hint of buttery breadcrumbs baked on top and served on a bed of lobster cream sauce.  This absolutely melted in my mouth. The crab and cheese together created a rich flavor that went slendidly with the tender and juicy beef.  Herb roasted new potatoes and buttery seasoned baby carrots were also served, both were very good.

Crave-crabfilet
My companion had the Miso Seabass.  The perfectly-cooked Korean miso sea bass was served atop a bed of steamed white rice and adorned with baby bok choy and a crimson ponzu sauce.  Asian pickled cucumbers sat layered atop the fish.  This dish was delicious as well! The flavorful yet mild sea bass went really well with the sweet, fruity panzu sauce.

Crave-misoseabass

Despite being extremely full after enjoying all of this delicious food, we also tried a sushi dessert.  What an extraordinary creation this was! The middle of the the roll had homemade vanilla-bean cheesecake and a slice of fresh mango then wrapped with a thin layer of rice and topped with a thin slice of strawberry. The roll was arranged atop a drizzling of chocolate and vanilla sauce.  The cheesecake and rice were such a unique combo of flavors and textures and together it was like a thick, fruity, creamy and sweet rice pudding.  So different and so, so good!

Crave-dessertsushi
Service: We had exceptional service at our first visit to Crave.  The hostesses were very friendly and our server, Dawn, was very knowledgeable about the menu and had some wonderful suggestions about appetizers, entrees and cocktails too.  We ordered a lot of food and took our time but never felt rushed since food was paced perfectly.  The restaurant wasn’t too busy (nor was the Mall in general) on this pre-holiday-shopping-season Tuesday evening and we were able to get great customer service and attention from everyone all the way up to the manager.

Overall Impression: The culinary and sushi creations were outstanding. I tried quite a variety of foods and loved every single thing.  The Mexican Roll should win an award! There is quite a variety on the menu and the Happy Hour specials are a really good deal.  Great place to have a casual yet elegant dinner and worth every penny for the fine ingredients.  The service was exceptional.  I can’t wait to go back again soon!
CRAVE (Mall of America) 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

Akita-outside1000

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.

Akita-sushibar1000
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.

Akita-inside1000

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)

Akita-edimame1000

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.

Akita-dragonroll1000
Next I tried

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

Akita-salmonyellowtailsushi1000
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.

Akita-beefteriyaki1000
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)

Akita-eel1000
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.

Akita-octopus1000
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!

Akita-greenteaicecream1000

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