You Gotta Eat: Sushigawa

By WEEK Producer

April 25, 2013Updated Apr 26, 2013 at 9:20 AM CSTPEORIA, Ill. — Tonight and for some weeks to follow Ashley and Mac
are taking their show on the road. What that means is they have been chosen to do “You Gotta Eat” for the next few weeks.It’s a chance for the two to get out of their cubicles and find out
more about each other. We’re hoping for the best.This week Mac and Ashley are eating at Sushigawa in Peoria because well…Ashley says she’s been in town for five years and has never been invited to “You Gotta Eat”. (Mac points out she didn’t work at WEEK for the first couple of years, but he says “hey it’s her choice”.)Why Sushigawa? Ashley says Mac, her “cubical friend”, is a creature of habit who prefers turkey and break and milkshakes and it’s time to get him out of his shell.

To Ashley’s surprise, her “grilled cheese aficionado of a co-anchor” is not the sushi novice she expected. He’s up to try just about anything…except chopsticks.

“We just wanted simple meal…starting with miso soup and salad and three sushi rolls,” said Mac. “We got that. Plus, the owner, operating on Ashley’s theory that I should try everything, kept bringing food; tempura and steamed dumplings, crunch rolls and the 007 roll.”

“The truth is the food is so good, you’d choose the fast way to consume it, fingers, fork, whatever,” said Ashley. “But have you ever noticed how amusing it is watching someone try to eat sushi politely? We gave up, quickly.”

Enough foolishness.

Sushigawa is open Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner, but closed the afternoon. The food was plentiful, and good. After explaining we absolutely couldn’t take free food, our bill for the two of us came to $82.80 plus tip but we were able to walk out with enough food for two more meals.

Sushigawa returns with tasty treats

By: Danielle Hatch

PEORIA

Full disclosure: I am a regular at Sushigawa, the little sushi house tucked into Westlake Shopping Center. I was lost when they closed for several months this summer to move to a new spot just a few yards down. I got my raw fish elsewhere around town and it filled my belly, but my heart wasn’t in it.

The restaurant is now back in business, located between Guitar Center and Five Guys Burgers and Fries. I’m told the dining room is the same size as before. But they gained some kitchen space, and now have a sushi bar with seating. The decor is sleek and modern.

The food is the same – same menu, same excellent quality, same attention to detail. We arrived for an early dinner on a weeknight, and the place slowly filled up as we dined.

My guest had a Kirin beer, ($7.75), a light Japanese brew. I tried the warm sake ($6.75), a rice-based alcohol, which came in a little carafe with a tiny sipping cup. Sake is so-so in my book. It tastes like a cross between vodka, white wine and vinegar. It’s potent and sneaks up on you.

We started with miso soup ($1.95), soothing broth with greens and bits of tofu. It was flavorful but not overly salty.

The appetizer list includes things like baked mussels, edamame and grilled shrimp. We ordered Shumai ($5.25). The six or so steamed shrimp dumplings were about the size of tater tots. They were very soft and tasty.

We also tried the Tataki salad ($10.95). The menu called it lightly grilled tuna, but the slices were just slightly seared at the edges. The dish also contained shredded radish; neon yellow vegetables our waitress told us were sweet pickled radishes; crab; cucumber; soft tofu cubes and a green leaf that may have been a garnish. We ate it, and it had a peppery flavor. Our waitress said it was a sesame leaf. The dish was a work of art, with lots of colors and textures.

The menu offers grilled meals (chicken, beef, salmon and shrimp teriyaki, scallop dinners); tempura (battered and fried veggies and shrimp); and noodle dishes. But Sushigawa excels when it comes to sushi, so we focused mainly on the maki (rolls).

In this category, there are plenty of options for those who are squeamish about raw fish: baked rolls, veggie rolls and California rolls, which use cooked imitation crab. The menu denotes which items are cooked.

The sushigawa roll ($10.95) has slices of spicy tuna draped over a California roll and topped with crunchy strands of fried potato and a drizzle of teriyaki sauce. It was tasty, filling and arrived gorgeously fanned out on a white plate.

The volcano roll ($10.95) consists of a crab and cream cheese roll topped with salmon (you could also choose red snapper or Yellowtail tuna) and baked. It is wrapped in a tin foil belt, and you lift the rolls out from the package. This one is fantastic, warm and savory.

We tagged on two more rolls, the Kampyo and the Oshinko (both $3.75). The Kampyo consists of Japanese squash wrapped in sushi rice and paper, and the Oshinko has sushi rice, paper and the Japanese pickled radishes that we had discovered earlier. These rolls were smaller and less expensive. Good quality ingredients, but lacking the excitement of the previous ones.

Our server was excellent. She came by our table immediately, helped us decide on menu choices, and clued us in on the unidentified objects we found on our plates. Dining here is familiar, yet always an adventure. It’s good to be back.

Quick Guide

Sushigawa

2601 West Lake Avenue, at Westlake Shopping Center.

679-9300.

Hours: Open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch and 5 to 9 pm. for dinner. Sunday 4pm Р8:30 pm.

Ratings: **** is highest

Food: ****

Atmosphere: ***

Service: ****

Prices: Appetizers and salads, $4.95 to $10.95. Maki (sushi rolls), $3.75-$23.95. Nigiri sushi (individual pieces of fish on rice) and sashimi (individual pieces of fish), $1.75 to $4.25. Grill combinations, $11.95 to $15.95. Lunch specials, $9.95 to $14.95.

Miscellaneous: Credit cards accepted. Carryout available. Beer, wine and sake.

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