April 1, 2009 > Restaurant Review: Mioki Sushi
Restaurant Review: Mioki Sushi
By Denny Stein
Living in the East/South Bay area of California has taught me that there are treasures buried in the most unlikely places. In the Walgreen Plaza, at the corner of Fremont Boulevard and Decoto Road, there is a small "hole-in-the-wall" restaurant called Mioki Sushi. On one side of it is a Mexican Taqueria on the other is a pizza parlor. In the interests of full disclosure, I have not dined at either of those establishments, but I have returned to the small treasure that is Mioki Sushi, several times.
This cozy restaurant is a family affair owned by Miok Chong and her husband Raymond Han (who previously worked for Jiro Restaurant). Miok and Raymond opened Mioki Sushi (named after her) in May 2007. Though Raymond was an experienced sushi chef and restaurant worker, Miok admits that her learning curve was a bit steeper. Working in a jewelry store had not prepared her for discussing ingredients of gourmet sushi rolls or homey donburi. It is hard to imagine that this self-possessed, friendly, in charge young woman used to flee from seated customers and send the waitress to take their order!
Miok Chong now knows her menu, filled with imaginative sushi rolls named for friends: Tony, John, and Caterphiller, for cities: Paris, Tokyo, San Francisco, or states: Alaska or Hawaii. There are also rolls named Valentine and Dynamite, which may or may not be a good idea to order together! You can see all these and more on their attractive and entertaining web site, http://www.miokisushi.com/menu.htm. The menu includes standard sushi and sashimi, salads, donburi, udon, and delicious, light, crispy tempuras, plus teriyaki dishes, katsu, a few Korean dishes and bento boxes for lunch. The ingredients are fresh and seasonal. Our experiences have been stellar and will keep us coming back.
But it's not just the food that is satisfying at Mioki Sushi. The dining room, though small, feels spacious, with wood framed booths along both sides and several tables in the middle. Hanging overhead lights are white paper globes with cherry blossom sprigs that echo the wall art. This restaurant is a true family destination. Miok and Raymond have two children who now keep Grandma at home caring for them rather than in the kitchen.
Having children of her own opened Miok's eyes to the difficulties of going out to dinner with small children and how few places there are that welcome kids in the dining room. So when Miok Chong says that she runs a family restaurant, she means that in the fullest sense of the word. Children are welcome. She has toys and crayons for them, they can walk around without being scolded and there is a child size dinner of Teriyaki and Tempura, for only $7 (but you have to be 7 or under!). Miok greets these short, exuberant customers at the door with a welcome normally reserved for Las Vegas high rollers at Caesar's.
If you have ever taken your children out to dinner, what is the first thing you want? French Fries! To keep them busy order. At Mioki Sushi, crispy tempura green beans come to the table as soon as you sit down. I'm assuming that kids love them, because we certainly did. If your off-spring have a more eclectic palate, they can order Poki or Lolly Pop Salad, just because the names and presentation will make them giggle. And these children do laugh. In our two visits, small children in the 3 to 6 year-old range, were cute but unobtrusive, lively but not loud. I can't guarantee the behavior of your children, but I can tell you that they will be welcome at Mioki Sushi. And even if you don't have a brood, you can't go wrong with the food.
Miok says that the restroom is on her list to renovate, as it now does double duty as storage. The kitchen is small and busy, with prep and hot food done on one side, separated from washing up on the other by a counter with tall shelves. Take-out is, of course, available. The Sushi Bar is in the back left corner and it is here that Raymond conjures his fantastic rolls. Finish your meal with mochi and the complimentary artistically cut up orange, or try the Fish Ice Cream, which is surprise! Finally, be sure to get your frequent sushi roll card: Buy 10, get the next one free.
Reviewed February 7 & 28
3924 Decoto Road
Fremont, CA 94555
(510) 792 - 5677