Friday, December 08, 2006

Sushi in Suburbia

I'm not sure when, or even how, it happened but Sushi has taken a huge turn to the West and gone completely mainstream. In an effort to seduce the Midwestern palate, Japanese sushi chefs have developed a variety of maki rolls to suit even the most sushi-shy of Midwesterners. Cream cheese, artificial crab meat, and even "Tasuda Age" (fried chicken nuggets) are now part of this hybrid cuisine. "McMaki Rolls" must be in product development as I type this.

Restaurant Pacific
7629 Sylvania Avenue
Sylvania, Ohio 43560

Upon entering Restaurant Pacific, it is clear that the restaurant is designed to appeal to the masses. It features bright yellow walls adorned with flat screen tvs that display looping videos of tropical fish swimming in their natural habitat. The videos are mesmerizing, and I couldn't help but stare at the walls while waiting for my dining companion.

In an effort to sample the menu, we ordered the "House Dinner for Two" ($29.95). This is described as "Our famous boat dinner for two, now served with chef special Sashimi, Sushi Roll, Vegetables Tempura, Lobster Tail, Teriyaki Steak, Seaweed Salad and daily side in boat style dish. In addtion, it also includes miso soup, house salad, Yakisoba and choice of ice cream."

The first dish is the Yakisoba. These are cold soba noodles in a peanut sauce. The sauce is rather salty and somewhat bland. We were both underwhelmed with the first course. The miso soup and house salad are standard Midwestern sushi house fare. I'll never really know how a bibb lettuce salad coated with an orange, ginger, and rice wine vinegar dressing made it to the Midwest sushi house menu, but it is wildly popular in this town. The miso soup is hot and predictably pleasant.

As soon as we finished the starters, the infamous boat dinner for two docked at our table. The boat is beautiful. Each piece is artfully arranged and the presentation is certainly Japanese. One of the unique features of the meal is a boiled lobster tail filled with teriyaki grilled chunks of lobster meat. While I found the meat to be a bit dry and chewy, my dining companion had no trouble finishing the remaining pieces. She was equally pleased with the assortment of tempura vegatables. I managed to find a couple of small pieces of sushi grade tuna in the tip of the boat and promptly devoured them.
Surely there is a place for a Japanese restaurant that serves Americanized dishes. Judging by the crowd that night, and the number of stir fry dishes on the menu, this is what Toledo wants.

If you are looking for "Sushi light" this is a lovely restaurant with a great mix of Americanized Japanese and Chinese dishes. It is probably a good place for family dining as well. The cooked dishes outnumber the sushi dishes about 8:1 so it may be a great place for someone who has never tried Japanese cuisine of any kind.

For now, I will continue my quest to find a sensuous plate of sashimi in Toledo, Ohio (hira giri, please). In the meantime, there's always NYC....
“Glass City Gourmet” is a chronicle of one woman's attempt to cook, eat, diet and entertain with both flair and whimsy while based in Toledo, Ohio. I encourage you to read on as the "Glass City Gourmet" attempts grand recipes, samples locally owned restaurants, visits indigenous markets and humbly pursues her quest to be formally recognized as the official "Glass City Gourmet".

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