I needed something with pizzazz on my palate last week and I found it at Sushi Garden.
The interior is surrounded by light tan wooden walls that cocoon dinners seated on modern red plastic seats or in lime green private booths. A wiry chandelier with multiple exposed lights dangles from the ceiling. Cha Kim's parents started the restaurant in 1995, and she now owns it. About a year ago Kim, a graduate of Parsons the New School of Design in New York, redesigned the space. It's hip, urban and best of all, has great food.
The menu has traditional Japanese dishes such as chicken teriyaki ($16), yakisoba vegetables, with chicken or shrimp ($16) and a nice selection of sushi rolls. The Volcano Roll ($14) has salmon, crab and cream cheese topped with scallops and finished off with a creamy tobiko and mayo sauce. The Mexican Roll ($12) has shrimp tempura, avocado, scallions and a spicy sauce. The Super Joe Roll ($17) boasts shrimp tempura, eel, cucumber, avocado, tobiko and a topping of tuna tataki marinated in eel sauce.
There are also family dinners for two or more. Your group can nosh on steak teriyaki, beef chow mein, jumbo prawn tempura, vegetable tempura and egg rolls ($22 a person). Another dinner has sukiyaki, chicken teriyaki, jumbo prawn tempura, vegetable tempura and gyoza ($24 a person).
Kim said the menu will change a bit in the coming weeks. She's adding curry and Thai food into the mix.
I ordered a J.B. Tempura roll ($12) and my husband ordered the vegetarian special ($16). We also ordered an agedashi tofu ($7) appetizer.
Both our meals came with salads and miso soup, followed by our starter.
Three large cubes of tofu were coated in a light dusting of potato starch, fried and topped with scallions and crispy slivers of seaweed. The tofu broke apart instantly when I tried to pick it up with my chopsticks. I loved the flavor, but wished it could retain its shape.
The J.B. roll had salmon, cream cheese, seaweed, tempura flakes and scallions. My first bite had crunchy tempura and soft white rice, followed by smooth cream cheese and an earthy bite of salmon. The presentation was also impressive; soy sauce and a tangy orange sauce were drizzled across my plate. It was gorgeous and tasty.
My husband's dish was less flashy but still good. A pile of sautéed onions, mushrooms, broccoli, bean sprouts, carrots and scallions. Everything was crunchy and light, but still hearty enough to be filling.
I'll likely be back for another trip. Dining at Sushi Garden made me feel anything but boring.
Location: 1120 E. Huffman Road
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Sunday
Phone: 345-4686 Options: Dine-in takeout
By Rebecca Palsha
Daily News correspondent