Sushi restaurants are seemingly as prolific as Thai restaurants, popping up in vacated storefronts all over town. Blink and there’s another one. Some are great, others are also-rans.
If figures tell a story, here’s a dramatic one: The numbers-centric website www.statisticbrain.com reported in June that 3,846 sushi restaurants do biz in the U.S., employing 20,274 people and taking in $2 billion a year. Which is driven by this statistic: Sushi consumption in the U.S. rose 40 percent between 2000 and 2005, a figure that presumably has risen since then.
Mizuki Sushi, which debuted about five weeks ago and held its official grand opening Saturday, is a calculatedly modernistic place with a sense of excitement and fun, and a lengthy, well-engineered menu that’s still being tweaked.
For instance, the Freaky Friday roll is snow crab and tempura shrimp topped with eel and avocado, with smelt-like masago, two sauces and green onion. For drama, the TNT (crab, shrimp and tuna) is brought flaming to the table. For the more conservative eaters: tonkatsu (breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet), bento boxes (rice with chicken, salmon, beef and more), teriyakis, skewered grilled chicken and stuffed mushrooms.
The feel is high-energy modernistic, with LED lighting in changing colors, polished cement floor, high ceilings, and banquettes and walls in patterns of black and gray. Techno-pop music was playing loudly on our visit. Did someone remake the film “Blade Runner” when we weren’t looking?
Sushi lovers at the seven-seat, state-of-the-art sushi bar bantered with the four sushi chefs, who moved nonstop. Like samurais, their sharp blades flashed in expert moves as they skillfully displayed their art.
Out of curiosity, we ordered a squishy “sushi burrito” – crab, tempura shrimp, cream cheese, avocado and cucumber in a soy wrap. Its sweetness was tempered by the heat of the house-made condiment of diced carrot and jalapeño marinated in vinegar, olive and sesame oils, and citrus sauce. “It’s the Japanese version of salsa,” Ly said.