My husband and I saw this restaurant a few times on our to and from stores in the strip mall. It's not very visible from the road. From the first time we tried the restaurant (in August), we've been regular weekly customers ever since.
Having tried many Japanese restaurants, my husband and I have to say that this is one of the best and the best for the price. It is a culinary treat to have such fresh tasting food, where you can appreciate the distinctiveness of the ingredients, and dishes that are so well presented. It's representative of a philosophy behind Japanese food, in my opinion, yet with decent portions! My husband was so impressed with the presentation of many dishes that he's been taking photos on his iPhone! (I should figure out a way to post them).
The dinner menu for 2, 3 or 4 people is impressive. For example, for $40 you can get a wonderful, good sized dinner for 2: miso soup, tempura and another choice of appetizer (e.g. gyoza), a daily special and the choice of teriyaki, udon or sushi/sashimi. This is followed by cold plum juice which is a nice light end to a great meal. We don't use salt much and don't find the food salty where in most places we do.
We always chat with the chef, who's actually the owner, when we can. He and his wife are very nice people. What I appreciate about him is that when we chat, you can see that he takes a lot of pride in what he does and the quality of the food and is respectful of the ingredients (i.e. makes the sushi and maki in a traditional manner so as not to 'kill the rice' -- what it means to me is that it's not heavy, broken and crushed like at some places). Even items like the gyoza are made in-house. He's also willing to explain what he does, compared to other chefs, having been trained in Japan and having worked in different restaurants.
I have to agree with another reviewer is that once word gets around, it'll be good and bad. ; ) However, we really hope word gets around as the food and its people are gems. The owner plans on making some changes to the look over time (i.e. putting up low walls between tables).
A few other comments:
- They have a take-out menu. We've ordered sushi platters and they've been great.
- This is a place to have a nice dinner, not a quickie sushi stop (i.e. rolls are not premade). If you order multiple dishes, they come individually as each takes time to prepare.
- If you like spicy maki -- the spicy sockeye maki is AWESOME. Okay, not Japanese per se, but "fusion".
- We're thrilled that such a place exists in the 'burbs!