Sushi Village offers Zen calm with Japanese fare

Sushi Village, situated on Coursey Boulevard near Home Depot, presents a pleasant, almost Zen, atmosphere. The restaurant’s menu and soft music transport customers to the tranquil corners of Japan.

We started lunch with the spring roll appetizer ($1.50) that arrived with two tiny spring rolls, about the size of a woman’s index finger. They were delicate, with a crispy rice paper wrap and filled with a finely shredded mixture of shrimp, cabbage and carrots. We fared better with the ample gyoza rolls ($4.50). About six to a plate, the dumplings were lightly grilled and filled with chopped shrimp. The vegetable tempura ($4.50) was superb. Pieces of sweet potato, zucchini and cucumber were deep fried with a delectable, light and crispy batter.

One of the best lunch options is the three-roll special. You get a choice of any three rolls, miso soup and a house salad for $10.95. This gave two members of our taste team a chance to sample at least six excellent rolls at one meal. Included were a crunch roll, shrimp and avocado roll and a California roll. The second grouping included an avocado cucumber roll, snow crab roll and sweet potato roll.

Especially delicious, the sweet potato roll offered the wonderful contrast of sweet potato in a crunchy tempura batter wrapped in traditional seaweed and vinegary rice. In a similar manner, the avocado and cucumber roll offered texture and a clean, crisp taste. Ingredients were very fresh. Tempura pieces were crunchy. Rice was moist and not too vinegary. The seafood was fresh and not fishy. Our waitresses went out of their way to answer questions and make sure all our requests were filled.

One guest chose the restaurant’s salmon avocado salad ($5), a refreshing seafood treat. Small cubes of fresh, pink, rare salmon were combined with soft avocado cubes and lightly tossed in a mayonnaise dressing with a slight peppery aftertaste. Toasty panko bread crumbs added a hint of crunch to the dish. While not large, this is a very filling meal.

Dinner is equally pleasant at Sushi Village. One of the chef’s special rolls, the Samurai ($11) was a briny combination of spicy tuna, avocado and thin slices of peppered tuna, all topped with spicy mayonnaise and drizzled with a sweet eel sauce. The seafood teriyaki dinner ($18) featured a combination of fresh salmon, tender shrimp and delicate scallops lightly sautéed and seasoned with a sauce of soy, garlic and ginger. The seafood was handsomely presented on a bed of lettuce and garnished with steamed broccoli.

We were delighted to see the Hibachi steak and chicken entrée ($15.99) was prepared in the artistic tradition of Asian cooking. All ingredients, steak, chicken and vegetables were cut similarly in small cubes (the size of dice). They were grilled to perfection and lightly seasoned. Condiments included a gingered brown sauce and sweet, mayonnaise-based sauce.

At lunch and dinner, most meals come with choices of house salad featuring cold, crispy iceberg lettuce with a light, aromatic ginger dressing, and a mild miso soup with a hint of onion and tofu. There are many styles of fried rice. This restaurant’s version was absolutely delicious, flavored with soy sauce and containing tiny bits of green onions, carrots and green edamame beans.

We suggest trying the fried banana with ice cream ($3.50) for dessert. It can easily be shared by several diners. Wrapped in a crispy tempura batter, the firm, warm banana was served with a generous amount of vanilla ice cream. Also, a small dish of green tea ice cream ($1.99) was rather forgettable, unless you just happen to be an aficionado of this dish.

Our wait staff was helpful and did much to provide a pleasant dining experience.