When I first heard about Izumi Asian Bistro, my imagination was ignited at the possibilities–one restaurant serving everything from Thai, to Vietnamese, to Chinese cuisine and even sushi? Surely this place must be paradise. Think of the possibilities! Pho with a side of egg drop soup. Sashimi plated with Mongolian Beef. Pad Thai with a nice tempura. My mind danced with an endless parade of possible combinations!
Still I had reservations. Surely such a thing would be too good to be true. I feared that the execution of this concept would result in a “jack of all trades, master of none” menu. And one should never settle for mediocre Asian cuisine when there are so many excellent restaurants serving up flawlessly focused food.
When I stopped in for lunch on Saturday my mission was clear: curry and sushi, together at last. You can’t tell me that the thought of pairing these two things doesn’t tickle your palate! Izumi’s curry menu looked good with the standard selection of options including Massaman and Penang. The sushi menu is quite extensive and you can even order sushi and sashimi by the piece starting at $1/piece.
The sushi list featured an exhaustive variety of “popular rolls” with all kinds of sauces, stuffers and extra flavors added. I don’t really like all of that fancy stuff in my sushi though. Give me a basic roll with one fish and no other fillers and I’m a happy guy.
I settled on a Thai red curry with chicken, a tuna roll and an avocado roll. The sushi came out first and was on the table pretty quickly – I’d estimate about 7 minutes after ordering. These rolls were perfectly adequate and were served with the expected garnishes. No fancy presentation, but they tasted fresh and were definitely on par with what I would expect from a place dedicated solely to sushi.
The curry was phenomenal and I’d rate it higher than the curry served by several Thai-exclusive restaurants in the area. It was loaded with fresh, crisp veggies that were chock full of flavor and crunch. The curry itself packed just the right punch–enough spice to make me sit up and take notice, but not enough to make me uncomfortable. The chicken was the only let-down in this dish; it was clearly pre-packaged, pre-sliced (and probably pre-cooked). It tasted fine, but fresh chicken cooked in-house would have been preferable.
Pricing seems quite reasonable and they offer daily lunch specials and sushi discounts. The basic rolls (tuna, shrimp, etc.) are priced right at $2.50, while the “Super Terrific Happy Crunch Supreme” rolls are quite a bit pricier–but they are always buy one, get one half price.
The ambiance is comfortable with plenty of private, padded booths. That’s not something you see in a lot of fast casual Asian restaurants so it was a nice surprise. Service was fast and friendly.
This “Asian Bistro” concept is definitely a winner. I love the fact that if I’m craving sushi, I can eat here with my wife even though she hates seafood. She can just order the General Tso’s Chicken or some Pad Thai, and we’re both happy! Plus, it’s tons of fun to mix-and-match different kinds of Asian cuisine. Any concerns I had about the quality of food here were quickly assuaged after the first visit. I’ll definitely be a repeat diner.