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Toyo Grill’s unique menu serves up a fresh taste

Observer Scene | Friday, November 11, 2005

Sushi is not an expected find in a city 700 miles from the nearest ocean, but take a trip down Edison Road past Movies 14 and there lies Toyo Grill. The restaurant specializes in providing an enticing array of the raw delicacy and is located only minutes away from campus.

Upon arrival at the restaurant, it is apparent that parking space is limited in the busy shopping center where Toyo is located. After opening the first entry door, a lit, glass case showcasing the sushi options for the evening can be viewed. This can be intimidating for a first-time sushi explorer, but it is very helpful to view some of the options before actually sitting down with a menu.

The first noticeable element in the dining area is the small, intimate atmosphere. The smaller size allows for conversations with friends without the bustle and background noise of a larger restaurant. However, if a large party plans to dine at Toyo Grill, arrangements ahead of time may be necessary. An LCD television screen is available for viewing at the front of the restaurant – Animal Planet seems to be the channel of choice. The atmosphere receives a rating of four out of five sporks.

Service at Toyo Grill can be a bit confusing from the start. There is no podium for a seating host or hostess, yet no sign directs visitors to seat themselves. Luckily, a helpful waiter or waitress is available to seat any puzzled customers that may enter. The wait staff is helpful, and willing to make suggestions to anyone who has never before eaten sushi. Some appetizers arrived after the meal, which was also a bit confusing. However service was fairly prompt and attentive. The service at Toyo Grill receives four sporks.

Many options are available when dining at Toyo. While sushi is their main advertisement, selections from traditional Japanese and Korean fare are also available. A large selection of appetizers is offered, and these pre-meal attractions are a great way to begin when taking time to decide on a main course or sushi option. Of the appetizers, personal recommendations include the deep-fried shrimp dumplings and the green onions wrapped in beef slices. The shrimp dumplings are served with a citrus-seasoned soy sauce that is the perfect accent to a rather mild-tasting dumpling. Green onions wrapped in beef slices provide an unexpected barbecue flavor that is sure to be an instant favorite.

Main course options range from different types of noodles to meat and vegetable combination dishes. The menu is diverse and contains enough choices for even the most sincere skeptics of non-western cuisine to find an enjoyable meal. If attempting sushi for the first time, recommendations include the California maki or any other option recommended by the server. The sushi rolls were delicious. However, they were very difficult to eat for those who are inexperienced in the art of eating with chopsticks. The food receives a total of four out of five sporks.

Toyo Grill is an excellent place to dine for any casual occasion, and is a wonderful way to find some great food and to avoid long lines at larger restaurants on the weekends. Three and a half sporks is the composite rating for Toyo Grill, which is definitely worth a trip off-campus to try.