Mikuni Restaurant Review by Kristen & Guy
He’s the rock star of the sushi world, and worth a trip to one of the popular restaurants just to see him. I’m talking about Taro as in the “Mikuni” empire namesake of his own restaurant in the Arden Marketplace and best sushi chef around (and that’s not just my opinion).
Guy and I have visited the downtown Mikuni restaurant a number of times, as well as ‘Taro by Mikuni’, so we thought we’d take a jaunt out to Elk Grove and stop in at one of his newest locations. The Elk Grove restaurant is cool for a couple of reasons- first, it’s got not one, but two big dining rooms, complete with sushi bars. As an additional bonus it has a huge outside patio with water fountains. The plan is to have live music and outdoor dining once the weather warms up. The ambiance was different, the food, just as fabulous as always.
Whether you’re a huge fan of sushi, or a bit timid with the tasting, their hard-bound book of a menu has something for everyone. My suggestion whether you’re a sushi lover or not, start out with the barbequed albacore tuna. It comes with two yummy sauces to pick from and is so perfectly cooked, it cuts with a fork. Then if you’re like me, and big menus intimidate you, I would suggest skipping the table and sitting at the sushi bar where you can have the sushi chef custom make your rolls to your liking (i.e. ‘I like my food cooked maybe with some crab or shrimp tempura’). You’ll still get bonus points from your more ‘squeamish’ sushi-shy friends for eating anything ‘rolled up in seaweed’, but you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your fish is cooked. That’s how Guy works he’s a bit of a sissy when it comes to sushi but I have to give him credit for trying my rolls. He also ordered a fully-cooked (and entirely recognizable) Bento box (see his review for details). While King of Sushi, Taro, handed over one original creation after the next, Guy and I both agreed that the “Marilyn Monroll” (off the menu) was a favorite of ours. It has tempura shrimp, special sauces and is oh, so tasty.
Of course, we ended the meal with a splendid dessert called ‘Sweet Dreams’. Apparently Mikuni has slightly different desserts at its several locations, so no guarantee (unless you visit Elk Grove) that you’ll be able to order this. The shortened description is angel food cake deep fried with ice cream in the middle and raspberry sauce on top. Mmmm … Sweet dreams, indeed.
On a side note, look for a “Sac & Co” roll to hit the menu this summer. As they say in Japan, Arigato, Taro. We love you!
Scared of sushi? Me too. Or at least I was. I knew that if I wanted to hang out with my "Sacramento & Company" co-host Kristen Simoes (major sushi lover and very healthy eater); I was going to have to learn to love it too... or at least branch out a bit. Up until this point, whenever I went to a Japanese restaurant I felt quite sophisticated ordering a California Roll. For years I thought my friends were laughing at my witty table talk. Wrong. I realize now they were laughing at my order! Well, things had to change and no better place to change them than at Mikuni Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar.During a recent visit with Kristen to Mikuni's in Elk Grove (they also have locations in Fair Oaks, Midtown Sacramento and Roseville) I allowed her to guide me to some of the extensive menu's more exotic creations. Over a bowl of tasty edamame (boiled and salted soy beans) and an order of barbequed albacore tuna, we chose several sushi rolls including the one that has become my new personal favorite, the Marilyn Monroll (tempura shrimp, crab salad, avocado, scallop, masago, onion and Mikuni's Special Sauce.) To our great delight, our friend and master sushi chef Kotaro Taro Arai was there to make us some of his signature rolls (including one for me that Taro humorously filled with white chicken meat to signify my reluctance to be fearless in my sushi experimentation.) In addition to all of these tasty treats, I did order a very straight-forward Bento Box featuring tempura shrimp and vegetables, gyoza, deep fried pot-stickers and the most tender teriyaki chicken I have ever eaten.
When dining with Kristen count on ordering dessert... sometimes as many as three (just to taste, of course!) This time around we tried the specialty of the house called Sweet Dreams. It was very good (um, what dessert isn't good?) but I have to say that my favorite Mikuni dessert is green tea tiramisu is located at Taro's on Arden. Give me three of those please (just to taste, of course.)
The best reason to try Mikuni is for its awesome food. Another is for the wonderful hospitality, especially from the good-natured Taro himself a man generous of spirit to fri ends and customers alike even when he calls you a sushi chicken!