My family of five had the pleasure of dining at Sooki’s Thanksgiving weekend 2015. The restaurant is under new ownership and from what I’ve heard the quality of service has improved tremendously. The new name is Sooki's Japanese Grill.
The restaurant is located in a neighborhood strip mall and is very unassuming, inside and out. The tables are bare, but the servers and proprietors are very friendly and welcoming. We were cheerfully ushered to a table in the center of the restaurant after placing our order at the counter. This is not a five star establishment as far as ambience goes, but we were there for the food.
Sooki’s strong point is the quality of the food. It use the freshest vegetables and fish in its preparations. We started off with an order of shrimp and vegetable tempura, as well as an order of gyoza. The tempura was crisp, crunchy, and light. The gyoza skins were not too thick and the stuffing, very flavorful. The greens in the salad were fresh and the sesame dressing not too heavy.
We had a couple of rolls as our next course. We always avoid any rolls with cream cheese as well as the cliche California rolls. They have a large selection of close to 80 rolls as well as daily specials. We had an Ultimate Albacore Roll as albacore is one of my favorite fish with it’s high oil content. It was excellent and slightly better than the Dragon Roll which followed. My son is a lover of freshwater eel and he was adamant that the Dragon Roll was the best. I wish we had room in our bellies to try out the Sensual Roll or the Crunchy Spicy Lobster Roll.
But, we were off to try some of the specialties of the house. Normally we stop at sushi and sashimi, but we hear that the new owners were very proud of their hot pot and curry dishes. My daughter ordered the Orange Chicken as she is not very adventurous. I sneaked a couple of pieces and can say it’s sooooooo much better than Panda Express. We ordered the Seafood Tofu Stew, the Chicken Curry, and just because my sons had just finished a hard swim team workout, the Beef Kalbi Short Ribs. The stew came out piping hot, simmering with an amazing aroma. The shrimp and clams were still in the shell which I prefer, but those who are squeamish or with dainty fingers who avoid this dish will miss out on a huge umami filled dish. Be sure to use the rice to sop up every bit of the broth. The curry is one of the house favorites and from what I hear is from an old family recipe. It did not disappoint. The only slight let down was with the Kalbi as the meat was a little chewier than expected. However, the sauce and flavor more than made up the difference. We were too full to order any desserts.
Overall, I would rate the food, service, value, and friendliness five stars. The atmosphere is more like 3.5 stars, but for those who live closely, takeout is a great option.
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