I’m not going to quote Charles Dickens here, because I have a little more respect for both of us than that, but the Miya’s Restaurant Week menu somehow combines the best and the worst of that restaurant. Some people enjoy Miya’s for the novelty of experimenting with things like, to use my friend’s facetious example, the “CALAMARI-GRAHAM CRACKER-KETCHUP-CHOCOLATE-EGGPLANT EXPLODING MONKEY BLOSSOM ROLL;” some people are fans of their dirt-cheap vegetable rolls (they really are SUPER cheap, you guys). In this vein, the restaurant’s Restaurant Week lunch menu consists of an extremely well-curated menu of one piece each of eight of Miya’s best — or weirdest — sushi rolls, a salad, and an order of Tokyo fries (potato crisps covered in mustard, spicy mayo and chives). There’s no real choice on the diner’s part, though you can request all-vegetarian or -vegan options.
The Tokyo fries and the salad were delicious — the former was crunchy and just spicy enough, while the salad and its dressing were tangy and fresh. But were the rolls good? Well, I may not be the best person to ask. My tastes in sushi run to the embarrassingly inauthentic; I really just want to talk about men with my girlfriends while shoveling some simple soy-sauce-dripping, white-rice roll into my heavily lip-glossed mouth. I don’t like the mixed grains in Miya’s sushi and I’ve never liked their soy sauce (it tastes weak and lemony, I swear), but I did enjoy several of these rolls: the Roll of a Lifetime (arctic char skin and asparagus) and Charlie Chan’s Ching Chong Roll (broccoli, black beans and roasted garlic, though I couldn’t taste the beans) were delicious, interesting combinations, plus you were spared the embarrassment of having to order them using their names.
Then there was the Kwanzaa Bonanza: catfish, sweet potato, avocado, cream cheese, papaya, and Nature’s nastiest root vegetable, burdock, all rolled in seaweed, quinoa, and then coconut. I felt proud of myself after eating it, but I don’t know if I should be feeling PROUD after eating sushi. I would rather feel FULL. I would argue that this roll did not taste good. I get it, it is interesting. Stop explaining to me why it is interesting and how it revolutionizes the concept of food. I just do not want to eat it again. Similarly, my friend raved about the Kiribati Sashimi, but to me it tasted like potpourri — floral, and vaguely sinister.
In my experience, Miya’s always takes forever, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing; going is always an event, one that leads to pleasant lingering (either over food/drink, or because the check takes an hour to come). My friend and I were in and out in 40 minutes; granted, we came at a late lunch hour, but the mood was also more businesslike than I’m accustomed to. The Restaurant Week menu put the spotlight on the food, not the ambience or the thrill of adventure; if you want to sample some Miya’s at a reasonable price, it’s a great deal. But I swear to God if you are the type of person who will try to proselytize about the Kwanzaa Bonanza, I don’t think we can be friends.