Today I got a message from my mother asking if I knew about a new sushi place by Kohl’s, which I didn’t. She wanted to check it out, fast forward to this evening, so she and my grandma picked me up to go for dinner. I’ve done quite a few restaurants with very little info, often just the name of the place, but this was the first time when I didn’t even know that.
The restaurant is Sushi Kuma. They opened just over a month ago. This is their 2nd location. The first is out in El Dorado Hills. The menu is primarily sushi but they also carry some Korean-inspired dishes as well. We arrived at about 5:15 and were just the 2nd group to be seated. It’s very nice inside and well decorated. I really liked the brick wall/structure up by the front doors with little plants perched on the ledges. Everything is clean and new.
Soon, after being seated with menus, our server came by to take drink orders. We were all in the mood for a beer, and we each ordered a different one. They didn’t have anything on draught tonight (not sure why). The bottle selection was light, but about what you’d expect in a sushi joint. We soon had a Kirin, a Sapporo and a Bud Light delivered with three cold glasses. We skimmed over the menu for a bit and had already picked out some appetizers, which we ordered when the drinks were delivered. The appetizers took about nine minutes to arrive, which gave us plenty of time to look over their long list of rolls in detail. in the middle of digging into the appetizers we placed the main order. To start we were enjoying the Vegetable Tempura (lightly fried assorted seasonal vegetables)[$7.50] and the BBQ Albacore (grilled albacore tuna, with green onion spicy BBQ sauce)[$12.95]. Both of these were pretty good. The tempura had a mix of onion, sweet potato, zucchini and broccoli. It was nice and crisp and very hot, so pretty typical tempura. The BBQ albacore was decent. The sauce was fairly mild, very little spice at all to be had, but it did not disappoint on flavor and it was still warm from the grill. The fried onions that came with it were really delicious. I find that this appetizer varies greatly from place to place and I can never remember who makes a truly awesome version. The search continues.
There was about a 15 minute wait for our rolls. Some of that time was passed by playing a game where we guessed if people just pulling into the parking lot were going to either Nutrishop or Wingstop next-door. It was a pretty easy game. We heard a bell ring from the sushi bar and our server collected the two plates and brought them over. On them were the Dragon (Tempura shrimp, crabmeat | avocado, eel, masago | unagi sauce)[$6.95], the Yummy Yummy (Tempura shrimp, avocado, cucumber, cream cheese, crabmeat, masgo – 5pcs)[$5.95], The Las Vegas (Tempura aspragus, crabmeat, cream cheese | avocado, tuna, salmon, masago | spicy mayo sauce, unagi sauce)[$8.50] and a roll from a bulletin board of specials called the Valentine (crabmeat, cilantro, lemon, tempura shrimp | avocado, tuna, salmon, green onion, masago | spicy balsamic sauce)[$8.95]. The Yummy Yummy had some nori rolled up in it, which I found to be a little chewy. This roll had the largest pieces too, so it was a bit of a mouthful to be working on for a bit. Other than that it was a nice and mild roll. The Dragon had the delicious and savory bbq eel along with it’s companion unagi sauce. These drove the flavor in that roll while the shrimp added some nice crunchy texture.
I dislike cilantro with a passion, so I only had one bite of the Valentine, and I found the it to be overwhelming in it. Both my mom and grandma really enjoyed that one though, despite that they aren’t big on spicy foods. The spicy balsamic sauce must have not been too bad. She did comment on a particularly spicy bite with lots of sauce on it towards the end however. The Las Vegas was probably my favorite, just ahead of the Dragon. This had the most going on in it with the smooth cream cheese and crunchy asparagus, avocado up top and several types of fish, not to mention the two sauces. I should note that the sauces are not out of control here. They are drizzled on and accent the roll rather than drowning it out, both physically and in flavor.
The service staff was very good, all were very friendly and checked on us at just the right times. I’d definitely return and I’d like to try some of the Korean items next time. I hope they get some more business because it was very slow while we were there. Not a single other customer came in during our stay. Only the group that was there before us remained when we left just after 6.