Cheese on sushi? We must be in Wisconsin!

I’ve been on and off the sushi train a couple times — In college I ate sushi weekly with a group of friends, but I hadn’t had sushi in a couple years because of some unfortunate food poisoning. Luckily, my lunch at Takara 88 in Middleton with Michelle was the perfect transition back onto the sushi train.

Takara house salad
Takara house salad

We started with the traditional sushi restaurant house salad with ginger dressing. I forgot how much I loved ginger dressing. Each sushi restaurant has it’s own version of the orange dressing, and Takara 88’s was just as good as all of the other versions I’ve had.

Shrimp and veggie tempura
Shrimp and veggie tempura

After the salad we tried their tempura with shrimp and bigs chunks of vegetables. The shrimp and the vegetables were perfectly cooked and the tempura was light and crispy. Sometimes tempura can be heavy and greasy, but Takara 88’s wasn’t.

Now on to the sushi. We got to try two of their special rolls and both of them were good, but I preferred the BMW roll.

BMW roll
BMW roll

BMW roll

BMW roll

The BMW roll comes with tempura shrimp and avocado and is topped with seared salmon, cheese, caviar and a special sauce. This was the perfect roll to ease back onto the sushi train. The cooked shrimp and avocado went great with the seared salmon. The BMW roll was my first introduction to sushi caviar. I could barely tell it was on the roll, but it did add a good salty flavor. The cheese is what made this roll a lot more interesting. I’ve never seen cheese on a sushi roll before, and I don’t think Michelle had either. The ingredients in the BMW roll sounded like everything and the kitchen sink, but they ended up working really well together.

"V" roll
“V” roll
"V" roll
“V” roll presentation
"V" roll
“V” roll
"V" roll presentation
“V” roll martini glass

The second roll we tried was the “V” roll, which is spicy tuna and crab, lettuce, avocado and asparagus wrapped in rice paper and topped with a spicy sauce. The presentation of the “V” roll was crazy pretty and used a martini glass. The “V” roll was good and the lettuce added a much-needed crunch.

FOOD NOTES: Sushi will probably never be my first choice, but Takara 88 in Middleton has some great special sushi rolls. The tempura is a great substitute for sushi, but if you’re OK with raw fish, the BMW roll is the way to go.

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.