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October 02, 2003 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-10-02

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Chances are, if you tell any student that Ann
Arbor boasts 11 Japanese restaurants, they
will undoubtedly be astounded. Still, with all
of the places to choose from, finding the finest tuna
sashimi or eel and cucumber roll can be a daunting
task. Weekend Magazine went out to dinner at five
restaurants and came up with the best sushi picks
for you, whether you are in the mood for an elegant
sushi dinner or grabbing a quick lunch.
Godaiko
Those interested in an indulgent sushi experience have
to travel down a road less traveled, that road being Oak
Valley Drive. For an enjoyable night out (meaning, a great
place for a comfortable date) or an excuse to break away
from campus, Godaiko answers any appetite's plead for
serenity. With almost 40 rolls to choose from and daily
two-for-the-price-of-one roll specials, not to mention an
extensive menu that boggles the indecisive mind, this is
the place to eat sushi.
Owned by the Tsai family, this restaurant treats cus-
tomers with the utmost respect and serves the most innov-
ative sushi around. The overall quality of the fish is consis-
tently excellent here and the staff graciously assists patrons
with their orders. If you tell your waitperson you like spicy
food, he or she will know exactly what to recommend.
The minimal decor allows for an unpretentious milieu and
privacy can be sustained due,to standing screens and enclosed
rooms for large parties. The best feature is the open ceiling with
its exposed rafters, in which printed tapestries are suspended.
One of the only drawbacks about Godaiko is that the
salad and miso soup are not free as they are at other
restaurants. Yet, the salads here are the best. Served in
bigger portions and with a tangy ginger dressing (that is
neither creamy nor citrusy), it is actually worth the cost.
The miso soup is a production like no other - the server
pours the broth into a bowl of steamed vegetables.
The sushi bar is open for diners to observe the sushi chefs
engaged in the art of making gastronomic works of genius,
such as the Shrimp Net Roll. A simple roll of tempura
shrimp, scallion and spices, the focus is one the too-pretty-
to-eat freeze-dried wasabi lattice work outside the rice.
If wasabi's too tame for your palate, try the Spicy Thai
Shrimp roll, an impressive concoction of breaded Tiger
shrimp, tomato, avocado and Godaiko's House Spicy sauce.
But be forewarned, this roll is not for the weak, and an on-
hand supply of water is essential. The Wasabi roll is another
one that clears sinus passages and is definitely worth trying.
Each roll order is served on its own separate dish,
which makes each choice appear as a separate work of

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At Sushi.come, patrons can choose from a wide selection of nigirl.

edible art. Just as beautiful, the Spicy Tuna Bowl is a
jewel-like vision of glistening, fresh tuna covered in a
chili sauce. Although it may initially seem a bit over-
whelming, considering the generous size of the tuna
pieces, the taste is very refreshing.
Far away compared to other sushi restaurants, Godaiko
requires one to have a car or take a pricy cab ride to get
there. But, even though the salad is not free and the tab
can become increasingly steep if ignored, the special rolls
and unfussy staff promise a memorable meal as soon as
you step through the door. Oh, yeah, they also give Andes
mints with your bill. That said, check please!
This Ann Arbor newcomer is already setting high culi-
nary standards for surrounding sushi restaurants. In hopes
of establishing a lucrative stay on State Street, Jane Kim's
new venue is conveniently situated among the numerous hot
spots for on-campus dining. Since its inception, Totoro
already boasts a superior reputation, yet, one question
remains: Will the success last?
Upon entering, customers encounter a deluge of Totoro's
newness - fresh paint, unscratched wood tables and a feel-
ing of cleanliness stand out and are suggestive of fare that's
as fresh as the business itself.
The staff is accommodating about everything from hold-
ing the mayo on a spicy tuna roll to understanding a patron's
fear of carbohydrates, as they'll wrap any roll in cucumber
instead of the traditional seaweed and rice (Note: This is
messy, and chopsticks can make these rolls fall apart. The
less experienced sushi customer should use his or her
hands). Salad and miso soup are complimentary to those
who dine in, which is a godsend for college budgets, and,
while the salads are tiny, they make sure customers will
leave enough room for the main attraction.
Put simply, the sushi here is among the freshest and best
available in the area. While common rolls like the ever-popu-
lar California and the simple cucumber are on the menu,
Totoro features more adventurous options for the fearless
customer. Among the more audacious offerings, which are
served in a lovely bowl, the Red Dragon - a spicy California
roll with tuna on the outside - creates a delicious fiery feel-
ing in your mouth that leaves you begging for more.
The Hawaii roll is also recommended, but one has to be will-
ing to eat raw fish and pineapple side by side. Sans rice, this roll
consists of avocado, crab salad, cucumber and pineapple

wrapped in cucumber
heavy, like it often is at
Overall, Totoro is tl
ably priced, located ne
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For those who live
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and the shrimp tempu
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All in all, Saica is at
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Sitting down and beir
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BRETT MOUNTAIN/Daily
Paul Tsai creates sushi masterpieces at Godalko.

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