Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Maki and Sushi Fusion Sushi Cafe: The Full Review

If you were a early reader of Eat. Travel. Eat!, you might remember Maki and Sushi Fusion Sushi Cafe from a previous post. However, the post only talked about one visit, where I took pictures of 2 bento boxes, the interior, and some miso soup. In my opinion, one visit should not simply sum up a entire restaurant with a few photos. So, today, I am writing about Maki and Sushi for two reasons:
1. I have tried more of their menu and have more pictures to show you.
and
2 (what made me bump this post up the queue). They gave us a dish "on the house" on our visit a few weeks ago, which is certainly something of interest. I'll tell you at the end of this post.

Interior
(A "better" interior picture which shows more of the seating area available)

And also before I start talking about the food we had these several months at Maki and Sushi, some updates on how is the restaurant:
1. Weekends are busy. And sometimes, we are the ones who start the flow of customers! At first, the restaurant has a few customers. We go in, and then suddenly at least 10 groups of people come in, and the restaurant becomes full. Interesting!
2. Edamame is actually not served anymore as the free appetizer before your meal. We do see edamame available for the customers at the sushi bar though. But that is it!

Miso Soup

4. They still give you miso soup. And still, after countless attempts, my photo of miso soup is blurry yet again. Why? Is the reflection not biding well with our Sony W90 after 5800+ shots taken in a year?
5. Maki and Sushi has a new sushi chef who has an annoying "Irashaiamase" (I spelled that wrong obviously?) greeting to customers! This was on our most recent visit. The waiters say the welcome greeting, and then he pops in and gives it in a low deep accented tone. With what we caused with the 10+ customers coming in after us, the accented greeting got very repetitive. Especially also since we were sitting right near the sushi bar.

Anyway, onto the food. And lets start with sushi.

Sushi- Bluefin Tuna and Dragon Roll
(Dragon Roll top, special Bluefin Tuna nigiri below)

Above you see a Dragon Roll (11.95 USD) and some Bluefin Tuna nigiri (5.95USD for 2 pieces). The Dragon roll was filled with eel, imitation crab, and shrimp tempura and was topped with a layer of thinly sliced avocado and a sprinkling of white sesame seeds. To go along with the roll, the sushi chef then added some teriyaki sauce for flavor. Obviously this is fusion food, but it tasted pretty good, with the ingredients melding together perfectly. After all, I have to say as a young child I would use to dip California rolls in teriyaki sauce. Only problem was the price. For 12 dollars, the portion was small, and I could have gotten a bento and more for a loaded meal!

The Bluefin Tuna nigiri was an interesting experience for us as it was our first time ordering nigiri at Maki and Sushi. The plate total was 11.90USD, and on the side came some gari (pickled ginger) and wasabi. Each slice of the bluefin tuna was exceptionally thick- pretty much as thick as sashimi pieces, but in a different shape. What was also interesting was the rice- like at our experience at Itamae Sushi in Hong Kong (a rotating sushi bar which if you want, I will talk about. Anybody want a post on it?), the rice was warm, and was slightly vinegary and sweet. I do not know if it is because the rice was piled up into a nugget instead of laid out for a roll, but the sushi rice for the nigiri felt radically different to the rolls. As for the tuna, the tuna was exceedingly meaty and had a big chew. As you can see in the photo, it was not fatty. Coupled with a bit of soy sauce and wasabi, it went down nicely.

And before we move onto something else. We did not eat our sushi like in this video with all of the intricate dipping. Let me not spoil it for you. Go see it!:


(sushi, posted by Youtube member Boyok. How I found it: Danny Choo's archives on his website)

Anyway... hope that was an interesting video. It was to me! Up next now is a salad. Now, this is yet another first for us. Other than ordering the tofu salad at Tokyo Table, we have never specifically ordered a salad in a Japanese style restaurant. So, suddenly on one day where we did not feel much like having too much meat, we ordered a salad. In this case, the California Salad (6.50USD).

California Salad

What a large spread of vegetables! Avocado, julienne cucumber, shredded carrots, sprouts, and various mix salad greens were drizzled with a sesame, soy sauce, and vinegar dressing, and topped with sesame seeds. Not only was the salad fresh, the flavors of the dressing were not too bold and gave a slight addition to the pronounced taste of the vegetables. What a great deal for 6.50. Considering that almost the same amount of veggies was equivalent to CPK's BBQ Chicken Salad. But now, I am comparing apples to oranges. Moving on...

Veggie-Udon-and-Salmon-Roll

...is a combo that I have ordered and liked for several years now. In their menu they have a Veggie Udon and roll combo which goes for 9.95USD, and it is a great item for any cold day, or anytime where you would like to have some noodles and soup. Basically as part of the deal you get a large, cast iron bowl of veggie udon, and then you also get to pick a roll from their sushi menu. In this case, I picked the salmon roll, which had some decent quality salmon and thin matchsticks of cucumber. Like the bluefin tuna nigiri served with wasabi and gari.

The veggie udon was a simple dish consisting of chewy but not gummy udon, a soy sauce broth, and various vegetables including broccoli, carrots, and onions. There was also green onions, mushrooms, and bits of seaweed in the udon. Filling and tasty!

Bento Box with Chicken Teriyaki and Salmon Roll

Now that we are talking about combos, lets not forget about the bento box combination which made me talk about Maki and Sushi in the first place on the earlier post. Of course this isn't just all!

To recap if you have not read the older post, each combination comes with a salad with iceberg lettuce and a veggie mix that comes dressed in either ginger or peanut dressing (ginger is our favorite and we have never picked peanut), a cooked oyster with a smoky sauce and green onions on top, a mound of steamed rice, and edamame. Then, you pick either one or two items to go along in the bento box, which can range from items like meats to sushi. Plenty to choose from.

The bento box you see above had chicken teriyaki and eight pieces of salmon roll. The chicken teriyaki was pretty good, with flattened chicken meat which was then cooked to a slight crisp on the edges, and then topped with a lightly sweet teriyaki sauce. Nevertheless it was filling! The salmon roll was good too just like the salmon roll in the udon combo.

Of course, that is not the only bento box! There are more bento boxes below...

Bento-Box-1

Now above you see a bento box of beef teriyaki and salmon roll, and then another bento box with BBQ beef ribs and albacore tuna roll. The beef teriyaki had lean pieces of beef which were firm and tender, and the sauce was the same as the chicken teriyaki. The beef ribs on the other hand were grilled and marinated with a mixture of sauces that almost seemed like Korean BBQ (the owner I think is Korean...as is some of their employees). Slightly charred, but not significantly...so I am fine with that.

The albacore tuna roll came with smooth, lightly flavored pieces of tuna and also came with a sauce which added a hint of salty and sour. I can't really remember the taste now...just shows why I need to write first, post later when the photos are done? I guess I should do that. Any bloggers have any ideas?

Bento-Box-2

These two bento boxes I can fully remember though, as my dining companions and I have constantly ordered them in the past and still do now! Anyway, up above again is a beef rib and crab roll bento box (which I had), and a salmon teriyaki with seaweed salad bento which a dining companion had. Why I wanted to try out the crab roll was because I was thinking it would be real crab. It was not. Instead, it was basically a California Roll, but the imitation crab was not flaked. Sigh. If I were you I would order the California Roll. But the crab roll did seem to have more of the seafood flavor stand out compared to the California roll.

The salmon teriyaki had a fillet of tender salmon (probably farmed...) which was fatty and cooked to a point where it was between melty smooth and coarse and dry. The sauce was the same as the beef and chicken teriyaki.

Now the seaweed salad on the other hand was something different. The last occurrence of seaweed salad on the blog was a post on Full House Seafood Restaurant's dim sum. Their version, for 1.58 a serving, had a small mound of seaweed, but below was also a pile of pickled vegetables. Maki and Sushis version, which costs 3 dollars (this is the step up cost between a one item bento and a two item bento), does not have any extra filler, and comes with probably two to three times the seaweed that Full House gives. Not only that, their seaweed is very moist with plenty of the marinade (sesame oil and other ingredients) around the seaweed. This also means that the seaweed has not been sitting out by itself for a long time either. So what can I say...this is a great deal! Especially compared to the local area where this salad is 15 dollars a pound (OC offers it for cheaper, but that is another post for another day (hint: the next post). Order it if you have a want for seaweed.

On the House: Fishcake

And what is this now? If you still remember from the beginning of the post, I said there was a item on the house on our most recent visit. This is the dish. We were not the only customers to receive the dish- other tables received it too. The item was actually a fishcake which had actual flakes of fish, which was then also combined with miniature pieces of vegetables, and then fried. The fishcake itself was slightly peppery and the fish was certainly not mild in flavor. To counteract these flavors on the outside were pieces of shredded cabbage which had no bitterness to it (soaked in water...), masago, green onions, and a thousand island like sauce (like what you would find at Tokyo Wako...crab sauce?). All played nicely along with the fishcake, and when eaten together it was YUM. Will we see this as a future item on the menu? Maybe. They did ask us how it tasted like. Now my critique is on the internet. How nice...

In conclusion, Maki and Sushi is still a great place to eat for the Arcadia area. Not only does it have a clientele that is now making the place busier during meal times, the food has still stayed decent, and portion sizes have still stayed the same. Service is still friendly as before. Now I wonder what will happen when I visit them again! Another on the house item? Who knows ;).


Maki and Sushi Fusion Sushi Cafe
302 E. Huntington Dr.
Arcadia, CA 91006
(626) 462-9600

Maki & Sushi Fusion Sushi Cafe on Urbanspoon


And hint hint as to what to expect next week (or two): A post all about Diamond Jamboree in Irvine: BCD Tofu House, 85 C Bakery and Cafe, and HMart. You know why...we went to the OC again! Expect the post in a week or two, depending if I have the time or not.

Post originally written on 9/18/2009- it took me 11 days to write a post? Too long!

8 comments:

Mochachocolata Rita said...

oh gosh...i want that super long dragon roll~!

Alice said...

Everything looks so nice...I don't know what to choose!! ; P

Robert said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
EatTravelEat said...

Mochachocolata Rita,
Haha...it looks so long doesn't it? But it really wasn't that long :). Still was a lot of food though.

Alice,
Start from something easily accessible like the bento boxes:).

And...
Mr. Robert of "Mustvisitindia.com",

Really? If so please contact me and set up an advertisement on my blog to promote you. Advertising is not free or allowed in the comments section. Thank you very much.

joanh said...

Yeah, the dragon roll looks good. that's weird your miso soup is blurry!!

EatTravelEat said...

joanh,
It seems like everyone likes the dragon roll so far except for Mr. Robert who didn't comment on anything in the post!

noobcook said...

wow that's a lot of Japanese food on the table! but one can never have enough ;)

I have problems taking clear soup photos too. I think it's because the surface is smooth so the camera don't know where to focus. I usually stand a bit farther away or try to focus on either some garnish or a spoon hehe

EatTravelEat said...

Wiffy,
Thanks for the tip! I'll remember to do that...when I am using a different camera of course! My current camera got dust inside the lens after shaking the camera too much as I put it in my pocket...and so zooming (or no zooming) on the camera results in a slight change in color or harsh black marks on the photo.