Tonight we ventured out of our routine which includes grocery shopping, cooking, eating, sleeping, and for Jay, working. We drove less than 3 miles from our house and found a ton of things we never knew were around here. Started off with a stroll around this cute market called Spice Village. It includes a ton of open shops with unique new and antique items including a Toms clothing shop. We also made a mental note of things we need to come back for, a cute bakery and a nice bar. Jay and I really enjoyed getting out a little bit and worked up enough of an appetite to stop for lunch. Just across the block was what I have been dreaming of: sushi! We went to Teriyaki Park. Let me begin by saying my expectations are pretty high. I’m not just talking about the food, either. I have had grocery store sushi and awesome sushi from our favorite spot in Columbus, Blue Ginger. Blue Ginger has really fresh sushi, great lunch specials, unusual rolls, great service, and best of all: chocolate fortune cookies! I have never had anything there that I didn’t like. We also have a favorite waitress who recognized us by our second visit, saying “How are you!!? Where are your friends?” If we go with a different group of people, she asks us how our other friends are. Even if it has been several months since we’ve been, she always recognizes us and at their new restaurant (same menu), Royal Ginger, the manager recognized us too. It sounds like we have been there about 400 times, but realistically we have been there between 10 and 15 times in 3 years. That kind of food combined with great service is really hard to come by and is where our expectations are rooted.
When you walk into the restaurant it has an open kitchen and dining area and you order at the counter and the food is brought to your table. The woman at the register let us take our time deciding what to order and was pretty friendly. We started off with a House Salad that was really fresh and has some sort of sweet, onion-y dressing. I was kind of surprised it was served in a Styrofoam container, but it wasn’t bad at all.
We ordered four rolls, which was normal for our regular restaurant because each roll has 4-6 pieces. However, Teriyaki Park does not skimp at all and gives you 10 pieces per roll. We were kind of surprised/overwhelmed by the amount of sushi in front of us. Our first was an Apple Roll. It sounded weird and unique and we wanted a new and fun experience. The Apple Roll had sushi rice, nori, apple, cream cheese, and a sweet mystery white sauce which was probably something like water and sugar. The roll was very sweet. Jay liked it, but 10 pieces was kind of overkill with the sweetness of it.
Next up was a Spicy Salmon Roll. This roll was definitely our favorite. It had sushi rice, nori, spicy salmon (which was actually recognizably salmon rather than the usual super tiny chop of spicy salmon rolls), avocado, and cucumber. I would have liked it to be a little bit spicier, but it had the most flavor of all of the rolls.
We also had a Golden California Roll that was decent. It had sushi rice, nori, imitation crab, avocado, cucumber, mayo, and masago. I am normally a fan of a California roll because I love the textures of the crunchy cucumber and creamy avocado. I really thought the addition of one of my favorite things: mayonnaise! would enhance the roll a lot but it just didn’t have that much flavor or texture at all.
Our last roll was also our least favorite. The Futo Maki Roll had nori on the outside of the roll (I really dislike this because then the nori is still kind of crispy/chewy and I just don’t like the texture), then sushi rice, imitation crab, Japanese pickled vegetables, egg, and avocado. I was really excited about this roll because Blue Ginger has a roll that has only pickled squash in it and it is one of my favorites! However, this had toasted sesame seeds, and some other weird and unappetizing flavor. Not recommended.
Our overall experience at Teriyaki Park was probably equal to Chinese Buffet sushi. Honestly, our grocery store, HEB has better quality and better tasting sushi. Next time I’m craving sushi in Texas, I’ll probably head over there, pay a little more, and feel a little more satisfied.