Sushi O Bistro & Sushi Bar
222 Glenwood Ave, #113 (Between Tobacco Road Sports Bar and Brueggers Bagels)
Raleigh, NC 27603
919.838.8868
www.raleighdowntowner.com/sushio


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Lunch
11am-3pm Monday - Friday

Dinner
5pm-10pm Sunday - Wednesday
5pm-2am Thursday - Saturday

Restaurant Profile from the Downtowner Magazine

By Brian Adornetto, Food Editor

Not that you'd ever guess when you enter, but Sushi O is located in a space formerly occupied by Dunkin Donuts, now redesigned and decorated to better fit into the local trendy surroundings. Glenwood South's newest addition continues the drift of urban chic businesses to breitling replica the neighborhood. The dark wood tables and sleek black chairs paired with the tan and burgundy tones lend an elegant, old school class to the L-shaped dining room. And the dim lighting, silver tiled pendants, and sushi bar add a nice modern style counterpart to the look. The techno and dance background music however seem a bit out of place, at least during dinner service, as it was contrary to the small, intimate feel of the place, but it might work well for energetic Saturday night customers.

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John Tang and Amy Trinh (Sushi O's husband and wife ownership team) have been mainstays on the Triangle's dining scene and have run several restaurants since 2001. In addition to rolex replica Sushi O, they also own and operate the popular Mount Fuji in Durham's Brightleaf Square.

In addition to a long list of sushi and specialty rolls, Sushi O also features a full selection of appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, and desserts. The menu is still evolving after the restaurant's recent grand opening as Tang explants, "We'll be fine tuning the menu through the rest of the year but our core items are there." Regardless of the tweaking, Tang assures us that the menu will continue to intertwine elements of Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine as well as Japanese.

Among the soups and appetizers were Pho Tai ($5.95) and Vietnamese Spring Rolls ($5.95). The popular Pho Tai is a flavorful Vietnamese beef soup seasoned with ginger, cilantro, basil, and scallions. Rice noodles, sliced beef, and beef quenelles (a ground meat poached dumpling) float in the light, slow cooked broth. While the texture and seasoning of the quenelles were a bit off for my tastes, the dish as whole worked very well. Sushi O's spring rolls are quite different than most. Pork, carrots, and cabbage were seasoned, roasted, then ground before being mixed with noodles and wrapped. The slightly spicy rolls were crisp and juicy.

The Mount Fuji roll ($11.95), Spider Maki ($9.50), Vegetable Tempura roll ($10.95), and Crystal Roll ($15.95) were beautifully presented and featured generous portions. The sushi chef clearly has an artful eye and skillful hand. Additionally, he takes a more freestyle approach to sushi. Not only are his presentations whimsical, but if you let your server know your preferences, he can make a custom roll just for you. You could say the Mount Fuji was a "kitchen sink" kind of roll and had a little of everything: tuna, salmon, crab, and yellow tail. The Spider Maki was filled with tempura crab, lettuce, cucumber, and mayo. The Vegetable Tempura roll combined sweet potato and zucchini -which was definitely texturally intriguing - and something different for those looking to work some veggies into their meal. Crash and I both agreed the best of the sushi we tried was the Crystal roll. It had white fish tempura, cream cheese, asparagus, and spicy mayo on the inside and hotatekai (scallop sashimi), masago (smelt roe), and wasabi tobiko (flying fish roe and wasabi) on the outside. The flavors married surprisingly well and the scallops were extremely tender.

For dessert, we sampled the red bean and mango Mochi Ice Cream and the Tempura Green Tea Ice Cream. The Mochi ice creams were wrapped in a thin layer of rice dough creating an unexpected but wonderful chewiness to replica watches the dessert. The red bean was superb and the mango was like biting in the ripest part of the fruit. The green tea ice cream was wrapped in a thin layer of pound cake then battered and fried. If Tang decides to bring this next year's State Fair where fried food is king, he'll make a fortune.

Judging by the smiling faces and full bellies, most will agree that Sushi O is a welcome newcomer for a quick lunch, intimate date dinner, or some late night sushi.

Brian is a culinary instructor, food writer and personal chef. His business, Love at First Bite, specializes in private cooking classes and intimate dinners. For more information, please visit Brian at www.loveatfirstbite.net. Brian can be reached at brian@raleighdowntower.com.