This Week's Cafe Review: Play With Your Food at Michiru Sushi

Eating at Michiru Sushi is like playing on a playground made of food.

No, it's not necessarily meant to be played with per se, but everyone -- from the chefs to the servers to the diners -- seems to be having fun with it. The chefs serve up inventive creations dressed up as dragons or birds' nests. The servers, who clearly know the menu and available ingredients backwards and forwards, get a kick out of suggesting something new for an intrepid diner to try. And the lucky people like us who get to sit and eat at Michiru are always in for a playful meal full of surprises -- some good, some not as good.

As you'll read in this week's café review, for every hit on Michiru's extensive list of hot and cold appetizers, there's a near miss on the menu of sushi rolls. I say near miss because the ingredients used and the care put into the construction of each roll is stellar. It's just that the combinations don't always work. Sometimes you end up with a bland roll. Sometimes it's soggy. Sometimes the flavors are just too weird.

In spite of that, I love that Michiru's chefs are willing to take risks. I wish all restaurants would focus on the use of quality, fresh ingredients like Michiru does, and then play with them a little. Inventions like the Tuna Dumplings or the Ocean Nest are wonderful examples of where a little experimentation totally pays off.

So, too, is the Red Dragon Roll -- arguably the star of Michiru's sushi lineup. I mean, where else can you order a delicious sushi roll that also happens to look like a dragon? Plenty of restaurants rely on expensive gimmicks to draw in crowds (Rainforest Café, anyone?). Still others are able to devise ingenious uses for tired ingredients, breathing new life into seafood or vegetables, as the chefs do at Oxheart, Uchi and Cove.

But it's not often that you can find quality and innovation that won't break the bank. And that's where Michiru comes in.

Go there for a family meal, and convince the kids to eat raw fish because it's disguised as something else. Go there on a date and stuff yourselves silly with sake and sashimi. Go there with friends and ask your server to bring you the wildest stuff that's not on the menu (particularly if they have some uni in that evening). Try it for yourself.

If you want the best sushi in town, go to Kata Robata. If you want good, clean, fresh fun with your food, go to Michiru. Tell them the Red Dragon sent you.

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