Treasures of the Sea
When you want your sushi served with a side of hip atmosphere, Sushi Hana is an excellent choice. The decor is clean, modern, inviting, and so is the food. Owners Kenny and Shirli Chan seek to give customers the finest in texture, flavor and artistry. In addition to traditional rolls bursting with fresh ingredients, you can order a Sushi Hana specialty, like the Secret Garden roll (cucumber, Japanese pickle, daikon, carrot, jelly noodle and masago in soy paper with mango sauce).
Sushi is art. It’s about a balance of flavors and textures to create beauty for your eyes and joy for your taste buds. At Sushi Hana, chef and owner Kenny Chan creates his art using 30 years of experience as a restaurant owner and traveler. With his creative, modern take on Japanese fusion, Chan creates meals as beautiful as they are delicious.
Chan takes his inspiration from exploring the world. “We travel a lot, to a lot of different places. I take the things I like to eat and puzzle them together to create something new,” he says.
Sushi Hana’s Brookside location is a peaceful sanctuary from the bustle of the traffic outside. Hanging light fixtures create a quiet and intimate atmosphere. Filled with colorful decorative fish including an enormous alert arowana watching over the people sitting nearby, a fish tank dominates the dining room.
Chan was born into the restaurant business, working in his grandfather’s restaurants in New York City from a young age. “My grandfather came to New York in the ‘60s,” he recalls. “They opened a lot of restaurants and he wanted the family to come in and help. He didn’t want us sitting home and watching TV, so I peeled shrimp and mopped floors. I learned alongside a multi-star master chef. When I grew up, I partnered with a friend to open a sushi restaurant.”
The Sushi Hana menu includes cooked and fresh options for every family member, no matter how adventurous their taste. “We try not to make the same things everyone else is making,” Chan says. And there are a number of paths for your meal: try small plates, order sushi or get an entrée.
You can begin your meal with traditional edamame, which is a bowl of steamed soybeans sprinkled with salt or try a tuna or salmon tartar. Try whetting your appetite with the crispy duck salad or a miso, wonton or udon soup.
The sushi options include fresh and cooked nigiri (fish served atop rice), sashimi (slices of fresh fish), and Sushi Hana’s basic and special rolls. You can order combination plates, or pick and choose your favorites. The special rolls include colorful names like the Flying Dragon roll which is crabmeat, shrimp tempura and eel, topped with salmon and mango or the Tsunami roll, made with salmon, spicy crabmeat, and avocado, topped with white tuna. The bar is stocked with a selection of wine and sake to accompany your meal perfectly.
Some of the most popular menu items include the yellowtail jalapeno appetizer — fresh yellowtail tuna topped with jalapeno and drizzled with yuzu — or the steak carpaccio (grilled steak served with spicy horseradish).
“The steak carpaccio is very popular. Two guys came in recently and told me it was the best carpaccio in the galaxy,” Chan says.
Another popular choice is the peppercorn steak teriyaki, a grilled fillet cooked with peppercorns and served on a sizzling bed of onions and peppers in a sweet and savory teriyaki sauce. Chan’s favorite menu item is the tuna avocado salad with fresh ahi, seaweed salad, avocado, and a wasabi-sesame dressing.
Of course, the sushi is the star at a sushi restaurant, and Sushi Hana is no different. “The Bonsai roll is always popular,” Chan says. “It’s salmon, wrapped with spicy crab with a radish sprout and spicy mayo. We torch it, which gives it a nice smoke flavor, then sprinkle it with chili and serve it with a spicy yuzu dressing.”
What about for those who are new to sushi? “We have a lot of cooked items, like teriyaki or hot and sour soup,” says Chan. “We have cooked rolls, like the fried shrimp roll. In fact, the whole menu caters to people new to sushi.”
You may be asking yourself how a sushi restaurant can serve fresh fish in a land-locked state. The answer isn’t as complicated as you might imagine. “UPS is the wonder of the modern world,” Chan says. “Our fish is overnighted from Hawaii.”
If you want to learn to make your own sushi, the Riverside location offers Let’s Roll! Sushi Making. The class teaches how to make sushi rice, select and cut fish, and how to roll. Classes are announced on the Sushi Hana Facebook page, so give them a like to get a notification when the next class will be held, or give the Riverside location a call for more information.
Also offered at the Riverside location is the convenience of online ordering. You can check off the items you want, make special requests, and even order ahead for pick up later. The online order form indicates whether an item is raw or vegetarian, so there are no surprises in your handmade roll.