Jess and I had been wanting to try Sushi Cafe on Kavanaugh for quite some time, and despite my general misgivings about places that use the term “fusion” in describing their cuisine, I was generally pleased with the quality of their food. Sushi Cafe has been the recipient of several “local favorite” awards, and it’s easy to understand why: the restaurant boasts an elegant yet funky decor and some of the freshest tasting sushi around. We sampled some other things off the lunch menu, too, and were well pleased with with our selections. Service was good, although rather aloof and cold, and we were slightly annoyed at being seated right next to a noisy server’s station with plenty of room in the main dining room – but that’s about our only complaint with our visit.
We started off with two of the most basic rolls known to man – the spicy salmon and tuna. I always like ordering these two types of rolls on my first visit to a new sushi place because honestly, if a place can’t pull off a simple tuna roll, there’s very little hope they’ll do anything right. The tuna at Sushi Cafe is firm, moist, and loaded with flavor. I could seriously embarrass myself eating these, as I found myself craving more when our order of six pieces was gone. The spicy salmon was even better, with the salmon just as fresh tasting as the tuna, subtly spiced and tempered perfectly by a small sliver of creamy avocado.
Jess and I both ordered an entrée from the lunch menu, and because I’m a tuna junky, I picked the Grilled Ahi Tuna, served with asparagus and fried rice. The tuna was grilled to perfection, lightly seared on the outside with a cool, chewy center and served with a creamy strawberry yogurt dipping sauce that went well with the tuna, but would have matched up even better had the tuna had just a bit more spice to it. The asparagus was tender and flavorful, and while I enjoyed the fried rice, there wasn’t much going on with it to differentiate it from any other fried rice I’ve had. Still, it’s nice to see that Sushi Cafe knows how to handle both raw and cooked fish, and this was a dish I’d definitely order again.
Jess ordered the Shrimp Tempura Bento Box, easily the best value on the menu. The box comes with four large tempura battered shrimp, two California rolls, an egg roll, a creamy wonton, a tempura battered slice of sweet potato, and a generous helping of fried rice. The shrimp were very well done, and we were pleased that the light, crispy batter didn’t overpower the delicate flavor of the shellfish. The creamy wonton was a welcome departure from the typical “crab” rangoon, with a rich filling that tasted of cream cheese and cinnamon. I’m a fan of tempura sweet potatoes, and eagerly ate Jess’s when she offered it to me – it was delicious. There are several other bento boxes available, and if they’re all as good as this one, then Sushi Cafe is one of the tastiest value lunches I’ve eaten in awhile.
Sushi Cafe is located at 5823 Kavanaugh Boulevard in Little Rock. They are open for lunch Monday-Friday 11am-2pm, and serve dinner starting at 5pm every night of the week. Be prepared to leave full!