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Sushi Grill Nothing Special

Ankur Chawla | Thursday, January 19, 2012

I should preface this review by saying I am not a sushi connoisseur. The few times I’ve eaten it before visiting Toyo I did enjoy it (and yes, that even includes the sushi from Reckers).

Basically, I’m not the authority on sushi like I am on cupcakes. That being said, the cuisine at Toyo Grill was not one of my favorites.

I went there with a fairly big group and we were eager to try their traditional wooden platter of raw fish, and the ambiance certainly reflected that.

They had a “master chef” behind a display case of fish in the back of the restaurant slicing, dicing, and rolling up his concoctions. Behind him was a lovely display of wooden figures, mounted swords and bottles of wine.

The service, however, was fairly slow, as one waitress served the entire restaurant, coming by maybe once every hour to refill our glasses of water, take our orders, deliver our food and bring the check. Granted, when she was around, she was very nice and helpful, but for an entire restaurant they may want to hire a few extra hands.

Now on to the food. Our group got a mix of sushi and Japanese grill items, none of which lived up to our expectations.

When starting out with appetizers, do not get fooled by the “Tofu with Secret Sauce.” We were so intrigued to find out what the secret sauce was that we were a bit blinded by the fact that they were very large cubes of unseasoned, soft tofu that is unpleasantly topped with a fairly standard red chili sauce.

While I did not personally try the edemame, I was assured that it was up to par.

Moving on to the main course, we ordered from a wide selection of standard and specialty rolls, alongside a few pieces of nigiri.

I’ll start by saying the specialty rolls were not very special. They were too large, mashed together with too many textures and flavors to be enjoyable, especially the Philadelphia roll, which happened to have salmon skin.

Not to be confused with salmon itself, the salmon skin tasted like burnt shards of toast that my more sushi-familiar friends assure is an acquired taste.

The standard rolls weren’t bad by any means, but they were very plain — simply rice wrapped around pieces of fairly bland fish.

The nigiri was an experience. For those of you who don’t know (I didn’t before I ordered), nigiri is a slice of raw fish sitting on a small bed of rice.

This was the best dish we ordered and a pleasant surprise.

Those of us with Americanized palettes went for the teriyaki steak and chicken dishes, which were definitely passable, but nothing to write home (or in The Observer) about.

Regarding the price, Toyo Grill does not rank high on my list of recommended restaurants in the area. Sushi dishes ranged from $6-12 per roll, and grill items were upwards of $15.

Still, if you are looking for a nice place to feel like you’re at a traditional sushi bar, Toyo might be a good option.