Tag Archives: japanese

Ru San’s Japanese Sushi

Ru San’s is actually based in Atlanta, Georgia, but they have one tiny little unsuspecting restaurant outside of the Peach State and it’s located in our very own Dilworth.

My friend Andrea and I were drawn by the promise of $1 sushi rolls. Andrea writes a lovely healthy lifestyle blog, Thin Thighs and Sweet Potato Fries, so make sure to hop on over and support another Charlotte blogger.

When we got to Ru San’s, Andrea noticed that the volume level inside was a little high. They have a chic sushi bar and if you don’t mind raising your voice a little, it’s a nice environment. We opted to sit outside, though, since there was a ton of blog-talk to be done!

Our waiter was . . . different. We asked about his picks for the $1 sushi menu and he seemed unenthusiastic to say the least. I asked if he was too cool for the $1 menu, and he half agreed. I responded with something only slightly less awesome than (but along the same lines as), “Okay, moneybags, what would you get?” More waffling . . . and finally he recommended the Firecracker Maki roll. Good! Andrea and I decided to share one of these, and order Spicy Tuna and California rolls form the $1 menu as well. We rounded off our meals with house salads tossed with ginger dressing — always a fave.

Andrea wanted a spring roll boasting asparagus and carrots on the side, but our hipster waiter said he thought they were out of them. Well, um, are you out of them? Or aren’t you? I guess we’ll never know, since after cleaning all our plates, we decided we were too full to care. So how was the food?

The salad was great — your average little salad with crispy noodles and ginger dressing on top. I love ginger dressing, so I enjoyed it.

The $1 sushi was actually good stuff for the cost. Your $1 buys you one roll, or 3 pieces. To me, it was on par with some of the sushi I’ve gotten at, say, Harris Teeter — and that sushi actually costs more! It’s a nice deal. Andrea and I discovered that it was also the perfect setup for trying several different types of sushi and sharing it around, since it’s so inexpensive.

The $1 stuff was good for the money, but our waiter was right about recommending one of the specialty rolls. We would’ve really been missing out had we not ordered the Firecracker Maki Roll to share between us. This $9 roll was comprised of 5 pieces, and plated with a tremendous pile of bean thread noodles and a spicy, tangy sauce. This was definitely my favorite taste of the night. The outside of the roll — which is filled with white and red tuna — is fried lightly, making the texture combination in the dish really lovely. The cold, slightly crisp noodles against the hot exterior and cool interior of the sushi, particularly when coupled with the bright sauce, was so satisfying.

One pet peeve about this restaurant (besides the waiter who seemed to kind of hate the menu?) was that they don’t serve fountain drinks. I’m a beverage stickler. I kind of hate when restaurants serve canned sodas (and no free refills, of course).

All in all, though, we had such a fun meal. I’d recommend trying Ru San’s if you’re a sushi fan and perhaps going about it like we did — ordering one larger specialty roll to share, some $1 rolls for variety, and a nice salad to complete the meal. Enjoy!

Charlotte Spoon Rating: 3 out of 5 spoons


Niyoshi Japanese Express Restaurant

Restaurant: Niyoshi Japanese Express Restaurant
Location: 3509 David Cox Road
Website: none available
Dress: Casual
Cuisine: Japanese
Price Range:

  • Entrées: $5 – 8.50
  • Filet Mignon Entrées: $8.50 – 14.50
  • Combination Plates: $9.50 – 13.50
  • Udon Noodles: $7 – 16
  • Sides: $2 – 7
Rating: 4 out of 5 spoons

The Scoop:

Every now and then I’m in the mood for some quick and cheap Japanese food. I’ve found several wonderful restaurants for satisfying my craving including Iron Grill in Mooresville, Ishi in the University area, and most recently, Niyoshi Japanese Express in North Charlotte.

As you approach Niyoshi, numerous neon poster shout handwritten specials in your direction. There are usually several sushi specials, a filet mignon special, and a general special. The day Mike and I were there, the filet entrée was only $7.50 and those dining in the restaurant received a free miso soup and salad with their order. We ended up with a ton of food for only $25 (including a generous tip) — so much that even we couldn’t finish (and if you’ve been paying attention, you know that’s impressive)!

The dining room is clean with sturdy, attractive tables and Japanese decor. Two loud televisions were arguing with each other when Mike and I visited — one playing Mr. Bean (huh?!) and one blaring the news. Besides that minor annoyance, we enjoyed being the only diners in the dining room and partaking of free refills throughout our meal. Niyoshi’s setup is perfect if you’re in the mood for takeout as well. All orders are placed at the counter and either brought out to diners or packaged up to go. You’ll be impressed with the lightning speed of the kitchen — a hot, fresh meal is in front of you just minutes after your order is placed.

The food at Niyoshi is great for the price. We began with our free salad and miso soup. The salad was a simple garden salad — iceberg lettuce, carrot shreds — with a spatter of yummy ginger dressing. I love that stuff! I could’ve used a little more of it, actually, not that I’m complaining about my free salad. The miso soup had that nice, palate-cleansing, simple taste and set the stage nicely for our entrées.

Niyoshi Salad and Miso Soup
Niyoshi Salad and Miso Soup

For the main course, I chose my usual favorite, Chicken Teriyaki, which only set me back a low $5.50. Mike opted for the Filet Mignon special. Entrées are accompanied by fried rice, sweet carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, and shrimp sauce.

Niyoshi Filet Mignon

Niyoshi Filet Mignon

Niyoshi Filet Mignon and Chicken Teriyaki

One of the things I love about eating at Japanese restaurants is the range of flavors on your plate. The sweet carrots complement the savory broccoli and mushrooms. The tang and slight sweetness of the shrimp sauce augments the fried rice. The chicken melds with the sweet and salty teriyaki sauce. It’s a flavor parade! I vote for the Chicken Teriyaki as the better entrée of the two we tried. I typically find chicken more moist and flavorful than steak in dishes like these. Mike liked his steak better, though.

The prices of our entrées were so reasonable that Mike and I decided to share a side of Udon Noodles as well. The warm, rich noodles came out steaming with zucchini and onions. These may have had the best flavor of everything we tried. I was also impressed with the portion size (an entire plate of noodles!) considering the side costs less than $5!

Niyoshi Udon Noodles
Niyoshi Udon Noodles

There are a couple of minor gripes with our visits to Niyoshi so far: the plastic forks that are so wimpy that they’re difficult to use (especially for the noodles), the televisions that are trying to outscream each other, the excessive use of Styrofoam (the miso soup and salad both came in ceramic bowls, which is much “greener”). Overall, though, our experiences have been fantastic. We’ll definitely be heading back on those lazy nights when we’re looking for a quick, cheap meal.

Have you been to Niyoshi Japanese Express? Or do you have your own favorite spot for quick Japanese food? Share your thoughts by clicking on the “Comments” link below.