Hilldale sushi restaurant serves up quality, tasty lunch for a bargain

I went to Sushi Muramoto with a friend who really wanted me to try the chicken lettuce wraps. She loves them and had talked about them so much I figured we couldn’t go wrong making them part of our lunch plans.

sushi muramotoThe modern sushi restaurant is pretty small with a sushi bar and a regular bar flanking a dozen tiny tables. The problem with the design is that we were basically sitting on top of the people at the next table and every time a waitress had to walk past me I was afraid either me or the person next to me would get hit with a plate.

Now on to the lettuce wraps. They were so good we ate the entire serving before I even thought about taking a picture. The chicken mixture has pecans and a sweet soy sauce that you eat wrapped in large pieces of iceberg lettuce. The pecans add a great texture to the chicken mixture, and the sauce was perfectly sweet, savory and salty. The chicken chunks were a little big and made it kind of difficult to wrap them in the lettuce, but my friend said the chicken usually comes in smaller chunks. But even though it was hard to eat, the chicken was perfectly cooked and the pecans were an awesome addition.

Sushi Muramoto flank steak lunch special
Sushi Muramoto flank steak lunch special

The lunch special Sushi Muramoto offers is a great option for non-sushi lovers, especially for the price. For $9 I got a salad, rice, beef hanger steak and honey wasabi potato salad. The rice was basically unnecessary, but the rest of it was fantastic. The salad was good, but nothing more than a typical green salad with a vinaigrette dressing. The steak had a great asian BBQ sauce on it with just a hint of spice. I really enjoyed my lunch, but the steak was a little tough for supposedly being cooked medium rare. The honey wasabi potato salad had a great flavor, and came in a very large serving. The potato salad was pretty rich, but it complemented the salty steak very well.

FOOD NOTES: Based on my experience with lunch, I would venture to say that their sushi is probably pretty good. The chicken lettuce wraps are a must, with an amazing sauce, great ingredients, a fun do-it-yourself presentation and the exciting addition of pecans. The lunch specials are amazing deals that come with some great ingredients and a lot of food.

The search for Madison’s best Chinese food – Orient House

I have been cautiously trying different Chinese food restaurants in Madison for a while now in search of the best place to go for my Chinese food fix. There are some places I will never go back to and some places that I wouldn’t mind making my go-to place. But I continue to solicit suggestions from friends in search of that perfect place. Thanks to Adam Schrager, I was directed to Orient House on Park Street. He said it is a family favorite and I can see why.

Orient House chicken lo mein lunch special
Orient House chicken lo mein lunch special

A friend and I decided to order Chinese food during the Capitol One Bowl to root on our beloved Badgers, so I suggested Orient House. Their menu is pretty common with a good lunch deal where you get an entree, rice, 2 crab rangoons and you can get an egg roll for $1 extra. My go-to entree is chicken lo mein. Our order took almost an hour to be delivered but I’m sure New Year’s Day is a busier day than normal.

My lunch special was definitely enough for two meals with a large portion of the lo mein and a good amount of fried rice all for under $10 including delivery tip! The fried rice was pretty standard, the egg roll was a little greasy but was very good, and the crab rangoons were crispy with very creamy filling (I’ve had dry crab rangoon filling…not sure how it happens but it’s gross!). Most lo mein tastes the same so I look for things that are bad: not enough chicken, undercooked veggies, greasiness. The lo mein from Orient House definitely passed my test! It had a good amount of chicken, perfectly cooked veggies and wasn’t too greasy. I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch special lo mein the first day and on the leftover day!

FOODNOTES: They deliver but only to the downtown and near west side so if I want Orient House I’ll have to drive downtown. Because of that it probably won’t be my normal place, but I wish it could be! The prices (especially lunch prices) are very reasonable. Their menu and portions sizes are pretty standard. I very much enjoyed my lo mein. It had good flavor without extra greasiness. Adam’s recommendation is a win in my mind!