Sunday, June 6, 2010

Meet me in St. Louis, Sushi

On a hot, hot day in St. Louis (can you say 98 degrees?) after many hours of driving, and still not really knowing where I was, I set out for dinner on my own.  The front desk clerk was no help at this week's nondescript hotel.  Fortunately, my car was equipped with GPS and my Droid found this website so I could review the menu.  Turns out, it is not only a Japanese Hibachi restaurant, they have a very nice sushi selection as well.    
The Kitaro Bistro of Japan is located outside of St. Louis, in a small town called O'Fallon in the Show-Me-State of Missouri.
There were quite a few things to like about this restaurant.  Pink napkins!  Where do you even find pink napkins, let alone buy them and use them in a restaurant?  Kitaro was roomy, open, and filled with light.  Plenty of seating for diners and a good size bar.  Definitely a current, fun place and they played great music.

Another reason I liked Kitaro, is their effort at being a "green" restaurant.  The sushi menus are laminated (not unlike an old Frisch's Big Boy menu but without the pictures of burgers and fries).  The customer just places their order right on the menu, using a dry-erase pen.  Eco-friendly.  I like it.

On this night, they had a $25 all-u-can-eat sushi special.  I ordered a very generic cabernet, the Blackstone and quickly decided it was not an all-u-can-eat kind of night for me.    So I ordered three sushi plates for about $18.00.  The "Volcano Roll" is at the top of the plate, with the "St. Charles" on the right and the "Mexican" on the left. 

I love our local Volcano Roll, so I like to experience other versions when I'm out.  This one rates a B.  The St. Charles features tempura red snapper, cucumber,cream cheese and a sweet sauce.  The tempura red snapper was the perfect balance of crunch and melt-in-your-mouth fish.  Cream cheese and cuke always make a nice accompaniment, but I found the sweet sauce to be too sweet after two pieces of sushi.  The Mexican is shrimp, roe, crab, may and avocado.  It's billed as "spicy" but it's not spicy.  I don't know why they call it the Mexican either, maybe in St. Louis.  I don't know.  

Just a few negatives stood out.  My tabletop was a little dirty for my taste in public dining.  The accoutrements included one long hair and pieces of old rice.  The sushi had a little more rice than I prefer, but all in all, was a decent place.  Especially if you're in an all-you-can-eat mood.  $25 per person is not bad.  (The two men at the table next to mine enjoyed the AYCE special.  The first tray had to be carried in by two waiters.  It was unbelievable.)

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