Knoville? We have sushi..
vegetable roll (asparagus, mayonnaise, and, I think, cucumber and/or avocado), kappa maki and avocado maki, futomaki, bagel roll
I'm sure you've heard me lament the whole 'there's no good sushi around here' situation in Knoxville.
A few places sell mediocre sushi. Kappa and avocado maki, that's about it.
Very few sell inari, and no one makes tomago. You just can't find it around here.
Then there's the 'I'm so desperate, I'll pick up this ten-pack of avocado maki from the in-grocery store sushi counter' variety...um, a bit of advice? Don't buy it after the counter's been closed. That stuff just sits there, man.
But now? Knoxville has an honest-to-goodness sushi restaurant!
Recently opened, Ginza is fabulous. A big place; we didn't see the whole thing, as we went straight to the sushi area.
There it was. A conveyor sushi belt!
Everyone was so friendly and attentive (I didn't realize how much I'd missed the traditional greeting, shouted our way as we walked through the door, until we got to Ginza), and they have a huge menu...just for the sushi!
I suppose we went a bit overboard, but it'd been so long (over three years) since I'd had good sushi, I couldn't help but order everything that looked good.
We ordered a bowl of edamame for Alex (he had a great time shelling the pods, and putting the edamame into the little bowls), and were each given an amuse bouche of bits of chicken teriyaki, as well as a block of cucumber, on skewers.
They also brought out a bowl of miso soup for all of us, but after checking with both the waitress and the chef, had to decline for Alex and myself; they make theirs with dashi (and strengthening Isobune's claim that they didn't make their soup with bonito flakes; Matt could really taste the difference).
We ordered the asparagus tempura, which may have been the best we've ever had. Crunchy, flavorful...that batter can not be beat.
Then came the plates and plates of sushi!
The tomago...oh, how I missed that.
Sure, we make it at home. But, it takes time and effort. At Ginza? I just asked for it!
Matt also ordered smoked salmon nigiri...and it didn't take long for it to disappear.
As you can see, we ended up taking some of it home.
Everything we ordered was good, and half-way through the meal we agreed we'd be coming back. I was just sorry I didn't have the camera with me; lunch had been a spontaneous decision.
Alex ate his edamame, and a few pieces of avocado and kappa maki, and way too much sweet tea. It was a good meal, with great service and atmosphere.
As we were walking past the hostess station, Alex began having a 'I've been up for hours, I'm tired, and I think I'll be contrary' moment. To distract him, I pointed out the large vase of red and green mint candies, and offered him one. That cheered him up, as did the origami airplane the hostess gave him, made out of a Ginza menu!
I'm just thrilled to have a real sushi place this close to us again...and I know we'll be heading there more often.
Here's a small blurb I found, from Knoxnews.com:
Building delays and misconceptions have two Knoxville restaurants - one a newcomer and the other a local institution for years - trying to get the word out that they are open.
Ginza Japan opened at 1612 Downtown West Blvd. in the old Chops Grill building in October, more than three months after its targeted July opening date.
Construction issues caused the delay.
"Not too many people know we are open," said manager Bruce Yang, adding that the restaurant has a billboard and is doing some radio and print advertising. "Within time people will know us."
Ginza is owned by Peter Ko, who also owns Mandarin House Chinese restaurants in Knoxville and Pigeon Forge and the Great China Acrobats theater on the Parkway in Sevierville.
Ginza is named for a famous street in Tokyo.
Yang said Ginza is the only restaurant in town, and perhaps the only one in Tennessee, with a sushi conveyor belt.
Handmade sushi and other appetizers circle around on the conveyor and customers pay $2.50 per plate to take advantage of the raw fish dish while ordering other dishes.
The concept is popular in Japan and at Japanese restaurants in larger U.S. cities where customers are in a hurry to get food.
Yang said the conveyor has been the most popular aspect of the restaurant since it opened.
Company officials had discussed a color-coded plate system, where different colors indicate the type of items they can choose and each shade would have a different price.
Yang said for now everything on the bar is one price but the color-coded system could be added later.
The restaurant also has a Hibachi section with 13 Hibachi tables where chefs cook food in front of diners.
Don't forget to mark your calendar for this month's Blog Party, Vegas, Baby!. We're all about giving in and indulging this time around, so start planning those entries. And remember...it's never too early to submit...entries are due a week from today!
Food and Drink, Sushi, Restaurants, Reviews, Knoxville,