I have to tell you that the prospect of all-you-can-eat sushi is at once horrifying and exhilarating.
Kyoto Sushi is part of a three-restaurant local chain in the Twin Cities: There are locations in Eagan and Savage, and a new one just opened in Maple Grove.
Because I drive by the Maple Grove location every day, as it was under construction next to a JCPenny on Weaver Lake Road, I was pretty interested to try it.
When I walked in, I was shocked—in a good way. The decor of the restaurant is beautiful and inviting. Lots of natural stone, warm colors, it was really welcoming. For some reason I was picturing Old Country Buffet-style.
My wife and I went for lunch, and it costs $14.99. You sit down and order off of a 90-item menu. On the left side of the menu, you’ll find the typical Japanese appetizers (the miso soup wasn’t bad—a little more salt punch than most miso soups), a small selection of sushi, ten tempuras, ten temakis, and a large selection of sushi rolls.
On the right side there were deep fried scallops, dumplings, four teriyaki dishes, 10 teppanyaki items (fried rices, fried udon), udon and soba in soup, and donburi rice dishes.
We didn’t try anything on the right side of the menu, but we worked our way through quite a few item on the sushi/sushi roll menu.
To no one’s surprise, this isn’t Origami-quality sushi. The white tuna was my favorite, very fresh and flavorful. The tamago wasn’t bad either. But the shrimp was mediocre at best, and there really wasn’t a large selection here. Just 12 sushi choices, including crab meat and tofu.
The sushi rolls, however, were quite good. There isn’t a ton of creative artistry on display here, or innovative flavor combinations, but if you’re looking for a quick, solid sushi roll fix, this is perfect. The rainbow roll was very good—alternating salmon and tuna—and I enjoyed the dynamite rolls’ combination of shrimp tempura and avocado.
My wife really liked that the sushi rice didn’t have a dominant flavor—sometimes all you taste in rolls is rice. The negative of the rice is that it was often falling apart underneath our sushi pieces.
I thought the temaki hand rolls (shown above right) were a lot of fun, too, and a nice surprise at an all-you-can-eat place. These are shaped like ice cream cones, with crispy seaweed forming the cone. There was a large serving of spicy tuna in that cone, although it could have used some sprouts or cucumber strips for a little more texture. The avocado was perfect—because it had more crunchy vegetables inside the temaki.
We only tried the vegetable tempura, and it was pretty decent. The eggplant and mushroom were a little soggy, but the broccoli and the rest of it was good.
There were two sushi chefs working at the sushi bar, and then a staff in the kitchen. The food came out quite quickly—and we managed to eat all of this food in about an hour. That’s important for lunch.
Maple Grove has a surprising number of sushi choices: Mt. Fuji has more creative rolls, at much higher prices. Zushiya is owned by Sawatdee, and $15 gets you a sushi sampler with three varieties of fish and california rolls. I went to Fuji Ya in St. Paul a couple weeks ago with a friend, and dropped $60 on our lunch.
If you’re a hard core sashimi and nigiri-lover, you’re not going to love Kyoto. But if you need your sushi fix at a great price, Kyoto nails it.
13751 Grove Drive
Maple Grove, MN 55311