Monday, July 16, 2012

СушиЯ (SushiYa)

It surprises me when Ukrainians say that they've never tried sushi. Practically every third restaurant here is a sushi restaurant (or random sushi/Italian venture) and I'd assumed that therefore eating sushi is a popular pastime. Turns out that is not the case. This is actually good news, because it's a lot of fun to introduce such a cuisine to the uninitiated!

Case in point: while visiting Kiev this spring, we talked our friend Lena into trying lunch at the restaurant СушиЯ. The meal started with miso soup and then we had a blast trying different items from a sample platter. The restaurant looked shiny and new and had classy touches like bonsai trees, a small fountain, and a wall-size fish tank filled with lazy golden fish.

Last week Timur let slip that he'd never tried sushi either, so what's a visiting couple from America to do but drag him out to Kharkov's СушиЯ? We went to the place on Lenin Avenue, a stand-alone building with glass walls and outdoor seating. When you walk in the door the staff yells something out at you in Japanese. Who knows what they actually say but they sure seem to enjoy saying it :P

The food was excellent, just as it was in Kiev. (See the СушиЯ menu for yourself)
We started with miso soups (14 uah) and a plate of rice chips (11 uah)...
and eventually (very eventually) moved on to the Sushi DeLuxe assortment platter (150 uah)...
 and the Veggie Roll (29 uah)...
 and the mega-delicious Warm Classic Roll (42 uah). The Warm Classic roll is crab, bell pepper, shiitake, and cucumber fried in tempura batter and covered with sesame seeds. I recommend!!
Like I said, we eventually got to the sushi part of the evening and it wasn't because we were slow in ordering. The. Food. Just. Took. Forever. To. Arrive! I'm talking about 90 minutes on a slow Monday night! Browsing around on the Kharkov Forum, I see that others have had similar experiences. One poster, supposedly a sushi chef at the restaurant, commented that the normal time for an order to be prepared is 40 minutes. Still, the food was worth the wait and the waitress was nothing but friendly. There was an incident early in the evening though- the power went out for about 10 minutes. During that time the waitress came back and told us that she couldn't bring us sake, as the sake couldn't be warmed when the power was out. Timur and D chose to wait and hope that the power returned, as it did, and then we had a good hour+ to amuse ourselves before the sushi came. Of course we resorted to mature activities like playing with chopsticks, drinking all the sake, and eating soy sauce.

At one point D checked with the waitress to see if she'd forgotten the order. No, no, no, she assured him. Then within 5 minutes she returned to the table to "double check" the items we had ordered "because of the earlier power outage." Whatever. The food came at last and it was good.
Green tea ice cream
"Forest berry" sorbet


Click here to see the interior of another local Sushi-Ya

Several pictures I took nearby afterwards, while walking to the metro at Derzhprom.

Left: one of Kharkov's many universities.

Right: statue of the Cossack Kharko, city founder. (Go here for more info... like that there's a time capsule inside, to be opened in about 150 years!)

Coming soon hopefully Done! - a visit to Tanuki. It's said to be one of the best (and priciest) Japanese restaurants in town.
Tanuki, across from the opera house

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