• Ohio (7)

Cincinnati, OH — Tokyo Japanese Restaurant

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Published on: December 21, 2009
Tokyo Japanese Restaurant
11481 Chester Road
Cincinnati, OH

When I travel I like to try the local specialties whenever possible. I have been to Cincinnati before so I knew that the Four Pillars of authentic Cincinnati cuisine are:

  1. Skyline Chili
  2. LaRosa'a Pizza
  3. Graeter's Ice Cream
  4. Montgomery Inn Ribs

After my pilgrimage to the Four Pillars I was ready for some sushi. My colleagues all suggested that the best local sushi place was Tokyo. So on Wednesday, I decided to go to Tokyo for lunch.

When I got to Tokyo, I was not impressed. The restaurant is in a somewhat dingy building that looks like it may have been a Mexican restaurant in a former life. Further, Tokyo is also a Hibachi (Teppanaki) restaurant. In general I have not had good sushi experiences at Teppanaki places.

There is a Korean flavor to Tokyo. I ordered a sashimi combo and some gyoza. My waitress brought me an appetizer on the house. It was an order of Japanese pickles (one of my favorites) served along with some kimchee. The pickles were great and I even enjoyed the kimchee.

The gyoza was very good. But the sashimi was perfect. The fish was tasty and fresh. I think my combo was yellow tail, tuna, white tuna and salmon. Relatively tame choices but the quality was first rate. I am also a sucker for white tuna and Tokyo's white tuna was awesome. I love the way that really good white tuna melts in your mouth. I like to savor it on my tongue and let the flavor just spread.

Tokyo is not fancy, the presentation is mediocre at best but the fish was excellent.

Tokyo 4 rice bowls * * * * -

West Chester, OH — Soho Japanese Bistro

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Published on: July 12, 2007
Soho Japanese Bistro
7655 Voice of America Center Drive
West Chester OH

This is a first. Two nights and two five rice bowl restaurants in a row! I am in Cincinnati this week on business and last night I went to the Mt. Adams Fish House and it was wonderful. After awarding the Fish House five rice bowls, I was a bit nervous about having sushi tonight. I thought it might be unfair to review a restaurant after awarding five rice bowls to the last on.

Tonight I took the suggestion of a colleague and tried Soho Japanese Bistro in the north Concinnati suburb of West Chester. Soho is located in a large outdoor mall, the Voice of America Center, The mall is located on the former site of the Voice of America broadcasts from the cold war era. The mall itself is populated with middle tier stores like Linens and Things, Michaels and Office Depot. Soho is in one of the out buildings near the road.

When I parked in front of Soho, I was impressed. Soho is the largest Japanese restaurant I have ever seen. With a fountain in front, heavy wood doors with etched glass and paper shades behind huge glass windows — Soho gave a first class first impression.

The interior was even moor impressive. Soho is definitely a wel-designed trendy restaurant. The doors opened up to a host station in the center of a circular welcome area surrounded by huge wood columns sort of like a Japanese Gazebo. This area was set off from the dining room by a curtain of bamboo plants, I don’t know whether they are real but it is a nice effect.

Soho is Huge. To the left, in a separate room are the Teppanaki grills. The room dividers do a nice job of keeping the noise down. The interior is dark but my table had a lantern hanging over it and it was bright enough to read by. This restaurant has a very large beautiful sushi bar with dark woods and tiles behind the chefs. The other side of the restaurant has tatami rooms and near the front is a very modern looking bar.

Usually I don’t like trendy places. Part of the reason is they often have snooty waiters and loud music. At Soho my waitress was very personable and the service was excellent. Strangely the restaurant does not have nay canned music. I realized after a while that instead of music, they have a large indoor waterfall. So throughout dinner I enjoyed the soothing sounds of falling water.

Soho has a complete Japanese menu with much more than sushi. I chose to start with the beef gyoza and the chef’s choice sashimi combo. My combo came with a salad and when it arrived it was perfect. A combination of crisp lettuce, tomatoes, shredded carrots and cucumber slices with just the right amount of a tangy sweet ginger dressing. Some sushi places drown their salad in dressing. The salad was absolutely perfect.

Next came the gyoza. Soho serves beef gyoza and it was cood perfectly. Just a bit of crispiness in the edges of the wrapper and the rest tender. The sauce was thin and tasty. Excellent.

The combo includes Miso soup. Soho’s Miso is very good. Not too salty and good sized pieces of seaweed. I especially liked being able to taste and enjoy the seaweed.

Finally my sashimi arrived. Since it was chef’s choice I did not know what to expect. I was not disappointed. My combo consisted of:

  • Mackerel
  • Yellowtail
  • Red Snapper
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Octopus
  • White Tuna

The sashimi was served with a garnish of banana leaf and finely sliced cucumber. On the side of the plate was a mixture of finely chopped carrot and daikon with a maraschino cherry — all things that I like.

Sashimi is about the fish and all of the fish was perfect. Mackerel is one of my favorites but all too often the marinade is too strong. At soho the Mackerel was lightly marinaded, tender and tasty. The octopus was thinly sliced and not a chewy as it often is. All of the other fish was firm and succulent every piece.

A combination of a beautiful modern setting and perfect fish, Soho is one of my new favorites.

Soho Japanese Bistro: 5 rice bowls * * * * *

Cincinnati, OH — Mt. Adams Fish House

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Published on: July 11, 2007
Mt. Adams Fish House
940 Pavilion St.
Cincinnati, OH

No suspense, I will start this review by saying that the Mt. Adams Fish House earns my highest rating, five rice bowls. This is the first restaurant that I have given a five to that is not a dedicated sushi or at least Japanese restaurant. Not a single Teppanaki restaurnat makes my five rice bowl list.

The Mt. Adams Fish House is unique because it is an upscale American fish restaurant with a sushi bar. The restaurant is located in Cincinnati’s historic Mt. Adams district. The district is full of restaurants and bars in renovated buildings on narrow streets. Homes in the area have a view of downtown and the nearby Ohio river.

The restaurant itself is located in a beautiful brick building with dark wainscoting and nautical paintings on the wall. The Fish House caters to an afluent crowd and the formalness of the service reflects this fact. When I sat down, I had trouble deciding what to order. The cooked seafood and steak items and the variety of interesting soups, salads and appetizers almost tempted me away from sushi.

I almost ordered the sushi & sashimi appetizer with a Filet Mognon entree. In the end I chose edamame, seaweed salad and the chef’s choice sushi & sashimi combo. I asked that my combo be made without roe and the chef took care of it for me.

The edamame arrived hot and salty and was the perfect start to my meal. The seaweed salad was also good. My sushi and sashimi was served in a wooden sushi boat. This is the first time I have ever had this particular presentation when dining alone.

All of the fish in my combo was perfect. The unagi, was the best I’ve ever had. The eel was tender and the barbecue sauce was tasty and not as heavy as most other places. The salmon was especially tasty. The wasabi was pressed into a leaf mold — a nice touch.

The only negative was that the sushi selection was quite small and there were no specials from the sushi bar. Even so, the impeccable service, the wide American menu and top quality fish earn the Mount Adams Fish House five rice bowls.

The Mount Adams Fish House: 5 rice bowls * * * * *

Columbus, OH — House of Japan

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Published on: September 24, 2004
House of Japan
6153 Park Center Circle
Dublin, Ohio
(614) 792-2445

House of Japan is a Japanese Steakhouse with a Sushi bar located in the Columbus, Ohio suburb of Dublin. It occupies an excellent location near a mall and several hotels. Their sign reads, “House of Japan: Japanese Steakhouse and Seafood.”

I stopped in at lunch not really knowing what to expect. House of Japan is really a teppanyaki restaurant not a sushi restaurant. They have a small sushi bar but the quality and variety was only average. They appeared to be doing a large take-out sushi business, probably for the local office complexes.

Given that Columbus has so many good sushi restaurants I would not choose House of Japan for sushi.

House of Japan: 2 rice bowls * * * * *

Columbus, OH — Otani

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Published on: September 24, 2004
Otani Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar
5900 Roche Dr
Columbus, Ohio
(614) 431-3333

I visited Otani because other online reviewers had raved about it. Otani is a huge restaurant with a full menu not just sushi. They also have a dance floor and Karaoke contests. At lunch they have a very good Japanese buffet with some sushi rolls.

Otani is locate on the bottom floor of anoffice bulding. The decor is reminiscient of a Holiday Inn form the 1970s. The dining rooms a dark and are separated by brass (I think it was brass) rails. Otani has been here for a long timeand is showing it’s age.

The sushi at Otani is fresh and well presented. The selection is very good. If you like a lot of commotion with your sushi — or feel the need to do your best Elton John imitation in the ongoing Karaoke contests — then Otani might just be the place for you.

Otani: 3 rice bowls * * * * *

Columbus, OH — Yoshi’s

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Published on: September 24, 2004
Yoshi’s Japanese Restaurant
5776 Frantz Road
Dublin, Ohio
(614) 889-1275

Yoshi’s is a small sushi restaurant in a strip mall in the Columbus, Ohio suburb of Dublin. Dublin is an upscale suburb and boasts a collection of good quality restaurants. I have eaten at Yoshi’s 4 or 5 times on business trips to Columbus. It is just down the street from my preferred hotel.

Yoshis has a bright clean atmosphere and the sushi has always been fresh. Selection at yoshis is good and the service is predictable. I especially like Yoshi’s at lunch when I have limited time. The service has always been quick and the quality of the sushi is excellent.

Yoshi’s: 3 rice bowls * * * * *

Columbus, OH — Restaurant Japan

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Published on: September 24, 2004
Restaurant Japan
1173 Old Henderson Rd
Columbus, Ohio
(614) 451-5411

Yes, Columbus is land-locked in the middle of in the United States. Ohio is not is not California or New York, but due to a fortunate circumstance, Columbus has some excellent sushi restaurants. When Honda opened a manufacturing plant in Columbus, it brought an influx of Japanese businessmen. Now when you go to a Columbus sushi restaurant you are likely to find it full of Japanese. (Always a good sign in a sushi restaurant!)

Restaurant Japan is a large restaurant with blonde wood decor and a clean modern look. More that a sushi restaurant, Restaurant Japan has a large Japanese menu. I especially appreciate the pictures in the menu. I know most sushi by it’s Japanese name but the only other Japanese foods I know by name are sunomono, udon and gyoza.

A local recommended this place to me and I eat here on every visit to Columbus. The sushi here is fresh and well-prepared. The selection is rather ordinary but they had mirugai (giant clam) so I was happy.

Restaurant Japan: 4 rice bowls * * * * *
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