Restaurant review: sushi style

Abbey Alexander, Writer

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As a little girl, I got some pretty strange looks from parents when they had me over for a playdate and asked me what my favorite food was. I answered as honestly as I could, with a toothy smile and an excited exclamation of “Sushi!”

I mean, can you blame me? I was lucky enough to be introduced to the delicious Japanese delicacy at a very young age (it was one of my first solid foods), but it was always so frustrating when I asked my friends if they liked it and their only response was “gross.”  But recently, the popularity of sushi has grown tremendously among a younger audience. In particular, I’ve found that teenage girls LOVE sushi.

So naturally, as both a writer, a teenager girl and an avid sushi lover, I headed over  to two different sushi restaurants in the valley to compare, contrast and share my opinion on who won this sushi face-off.

My first destination was Sushi Style, “A Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar” in Moon Valley, on the corner Bell Rd. and 7th street. They offer a variety of salads, ramen, soups, sushi rolls and meal combos. Inside, it looks like a pretty standard Asian restaurant, nothing particularly special about the design. But, the service was excellent. The waitress serving me was fun and energetic, and very on top of things. First, I started my meal with a miso soup. Now, I’m an avid miso-lover. I’ve had many cups of miso soup in my days and I have to say this one did not disappoint. It was smoky, salty and chock-full of seaweed, which, in my opinion is a major plus. Next up was the main attraction, the sushi. I ordered a fairly typical selection, nothing different than what I normally get. I ordered a Philadelphia roll, a California roll, a “Rainbow Roll”, a Tuna roll and Salmon sashimi. Overall, the sushi was delicious. it was fresh and each roll had the perfect ratio of fish to rice to seaweed. The Rainbow Roll was my favorite. It was a basic California roll with avocado and an assortment of sashimi rolled on top of it. My least favorite was probably the tuna roll. The rice was a little drier than the other rolls. I finished my meal with a seaweed salad. This salad was a little too salty for me. There was a bit of an overdose on the sesame oil. Other than that, it was quite satisfactory. Overall, I give Sushi Style a solid 8/10. The service was great, the ambience was low-key and not at all flashy and most importantly, the food was delish. The one thing I would have changed is that the sushi was a little warm from the rice, and I personally like my sushi super cold.

My 2nd and last stop was Hana Japanese Eatery. By first glance, It looks like a little hole in the wall, located on 5524 N 7 Ave, Phoenix, Az 85013 – 1702. But once inside, you’re transported into a cozy haven of amazing smells and friendly workers. I was seated immediately, despite the place being pretty busy. My server was again very kind and happy to help with any questions I had. I started again with miso soup. I actually prefered Sushi Style’s miso over this one, because this one was a little less smoky and I’m a big fan of that element. Instead of seaweed salad, I ordered vegetable tempura (vegetables fried in a light and crispy batter). One thing I loved about this dish is that on the menu it listed exactly what vegetables were actually in the tempura. I appreciated this because it’s a bummer when you order veggie tempura only to see that it’s full of vegetables you don’t like once it gets to your table. This dish was amazing and actually one of my favorite parts about the diner. It included fried asparagus, eggplant, green bean, kabocha, potato, and shiso. The batter was very thin which I loved because it made it much harder to fill myself up on tempura before I even got my sushi.

Speaking of which, now it’s time to talk about my selection of sushi rolls. I again ordered my usual; California, Philly, Salmon sashimi, with an “Alaskan Roll” as my wildcard. The Alaskan Roll was still pretty simple: crab, avocado and cucumber, plus the obvious rice and seaweed. Similar to the Rainbow roll, it featured salmon wrapped around the outside. The sushi was cold, fresh, a perfect balance of flavors; basically perfection. I can’t think anything I’d change about any of the rolls… they were just that good. I’d give the restaurant itself (all aspects considered) a 9.5/10. I refrain from a 10 only because I found it was a little dark in there… how was I supposed to take good pictures of the sushi for my snapchat?!

Out of the two, although they each had ups and downs, I’d definitely say Hana was my favorite. Though it was a close race, I can successfully say I’ve found my new favorite sushi restaurant.

So, you heard it here folks, from one sushi lover to another, I’d like to personally recommend both restaurants to anyone looking for a great place to eat this weekend or any other time.

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