I am not usually a fan of the All-You-Can-Eat type of places but I was pleasantly surprised by Aji Contemporary Japanese in Hopkins. They have a sushi bar that gives you a chance to try many different rolls at what I think is a reasonable price.
This isn’t a place that I would frequent all of the time. But, when I am in a sushi rut it is a good way to try something new. The chefs who work the sushi bar are friendly and will take requests, if you ask nicely. They can also explain the rolls that have already been made. If you really like a certain roll, you will know what to order next time. If you do not like a specific roll or ingredient you know to avoid it in the future.
I would suggest Aji for the more adventurous sushi eater. Someone who is willing to go past the California and the Philly roll and go for something with crispy skin or eel.
Eating sushi off a bar freaks me out a little bit. But, the ingredients they were using were fresh. I saw them cutting a fresh fish while I was there. The rolls go quickly as well, I was not worried about them sitting out for too long.
The Aji website is not clear as to how much the sushi bar is and when they have it open. It is not open all of the time. I know that the lunch is a bit cheaper than dinner and that Sunday is special. I would call ahead of time and ask some questions to make sure you are not disappointed.
because try something new!
Crave is a great place to bring a group of people who may have many different requirements when having a meal. They have a very large menu with both sushi and american food. So if you have picky eaters in the group they are bound to find something that they like on the menu.
This is also the case with the Happy Hour menu. Crave is a great place for a large group during happy hour. The booths are big and it is not limited to just sitting at the bar. We ordered 8 items for four people and it was a little too much we were not able to finish it all. They also have many items on their happy hour menu, that way you can order a variety of different types of food.
I liked the mini burgers the best since I was only looking for a little bit of food and then was able to share the other burger with others. They were cooked well and I liked the small shoe string fries that were served with it.
Chicken sliders were good but a little bit dry I could have used a sauce to go with them just to add a little bit of moisture. A bit of something on the side would have been great. I needed something a little bit spicy and creamy. I would have done some sort of aioli.
I did not like any of the sushi we got off the happy hour menu. I am not a fan of a salad with my sushi mostly because it makes it very hard to eat. When you are eating and socializing it is nice to be able to pop in a piece of sushi. The rolls that we ordered had half of the roll with vegetables sticking out of them. After trying to eat some of them we gave up and left the rest on the plate.
I also had a roll that the seaweed wrapping was super dry and broke apart before even eating it. I think that with small improvements I would love to come here for happy hour sushi.
Overall, the service was great and the ambiance was nice. I really appreciated that the server came by right before happy hour ended and asked if there was anything else that we wanted before happy hour ended.
I will be back simply because this place has a menu that accommodates many different tastes. It a great choice if you may not know what your client normally likes to eat because they have almost everything on the menu here. Their happy hour also allows room for large groups.
because sometimes you just have to have a burger and some sushi.
I usually don’t share what I am watching. But, Jiro Dreams of Sushi is one of the best movies I have watched on Netflix On Demand for a while. This documentary follows Jiro and his eventual heir in the process of making sushi. For my fellow foodies this movie is an explanation of why we search out places like Sukiyabashi Jiro.
This documentary shows what a perfect meal can look like and what it takes to make that perfect meal.
because being a master of your craft is a lifelong process.
Yum. This place reminded my why I love Northeast Minneapolis. Masu has a great late night happy hour and great food on that happy hour menu. All the rolls that you see above were from that menu. Plus, parking is free after 10PM. Right when the late night happy hour starts, coincidence, I think not. You do need to sit in the bar area if you want to take part in the drink specials. Otherwise if you are just there for the food, you can sit in the restaurant and pay full price for any drinks.
My favorite item at Masu that night was the roll topped with a jalapeno, I took the jalapeno off because they are a little too hot for me and just ate the roll. It was not too spicy but flavorful. Their California roll is the best that I have had at a Minneapolis restaurant so far. This roll sometimes is done cheaply and sloppy because usually people who order these don’t know much about sushi. This one had real crab in it. Not that imitation crap.
I also liked the edamame it was salted and cooked correctly. I could have eaten an entire bowl by myself.
Next time I think I will skip the Miso Soup just because I didn’t need it with all the other items on the menu. I also would skip the Nigiri because it was really hard to eat and fell apart. It was awkward to eat at a table full of people watching you struggle. This place fills you up which makes it hard to try many things on the menu. There was so much more that looked interesting that I wanted to try. It gives me a great excuse to go back.
Masu has a great atmosphere with some odd art on the walls that adds to its charm. We also had great service and a server who explained to us what we didn’t know about the menus. It was helpful and not overbearing. I am excited to go to the new location in Mall of America.
If you go there try the plum sparkling tea. It is non-alcoholic and out of this world.
because sometimes the real stuff is the best stuff
Yes, it is off the freeway. Yes, the decor outside is tacky. But, Yes, they do have happy hour, a pretty good one at that. Although, they have Osaka restaurants all over the suburbs in Minnesota each one is very different. Chain, not a chain? I am not completely sure. They each seem to have different happy hours. So, do not take what I am saying as going for each of the Osaka’s across the suburbs.
The particular restaurant that I have visited is in St. Louis Park and has happy hour from 4-6PM and some kind of lunch special that I am not exactly sure of. They do not advertise their happy hours but they should.
Osaka is both a hibachi (I have not been) and a sushi restaurant. Although, on their website is called a seafood and steakhouse. Maybe, they have some kind of identity disorder.
I have been here several times and although the service is horrible. They left us outside for 15-20 minutes after they seated us without taking a drink order. I still keep going back because I like the sushi and the happy hour. If you can handle not having great service but getting fairly good sushi this might be a place for you to try.
They have a fairly nice patio outside, other than the fact that your view is a highway. The decor inside is typical of an Asian restaurant with water features and has a modernish twist.
Although, I don’t think I would ever take anyone here for a meal, I like it for when I don’t want to cook dinner and craving sushi. Although, I have heard about Sushi Tango in uptown having a great happy hour. So I might try that next time. Let me know what you think of the other Osaka locations or places that you like to get sushi.
because sometimes I don’t want to cook. When that happens, it is best to call in reinforcements.