April 15, 2004

Finger Lake'n Good

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What if there was a sushi restaurant that didn’t force its stench on you? What if there was a guarantee that you could go to Johnny O’s and not worry about having Band-Aids on your fingers from crappy chopsticks? What is there was a sushi restaurant in Ithaca that hearkened back to your favorite sushi restaurant at home? Would you walk there? Better yet, would you run there? (At this point the Sun should be clutched in your fist as you sprint towards the new establishment). Miyake is the answer to these woes, along with other possibly life ruining problems.

I have to admit, the first time I went there I was supped up for sake. But at this point in Miyake’s career, a liquor license had yet to be acquired. This will be of no worries to you- their liquor license is now fully in tact. However, when I went back I came armed with wine. As I entered the restaurant, I realized that this was not the place it had been only months before. The black and red interior is only the beginning of the new and improved restaurant at 416 Eddy Street. As the hostess brought us to our table, conveniently located in one of a few “niches” along the walls of the restaurant, the artwork jumped out from all directions. When we sat down, there were two things that pleased us before we even got our menus: 1. The sushi bar was on the other end of the restaurant, preventing us from leaving and smelling any differently, and 2. The chopsticks were fancy! They even had painted designs on them — hooray! As you know, it’s the little things here at Cornell that make the days worthwhile. As the waitress uncorked our wine, she brought us some delicious bean sprouts — the Japanese equivalent of bread and butter with less fat calories.

In pouring over the menu, I realized this was no poor man’s sushi. However, to my delight, the items were not priced as such. We decided to try as many things as possible — a new restaurant calls for a lot of sampling. We waited, “slowly” sipping our wine and admiring our neighbor’s meal. They had thrown caution to the wind and ordered a boat. A boa,t my friends, comes in three sizes — Cornell Love Boat, Big Red Boat, and Slope Day Boat. We were immediately jealous and wished that we had a boat too. However, when our appetizers arrived, we were instantly appeased. The green salad was, well, a green salad, but the ginger soy dressing was the perfect balance of sweet and salty. The edamames were cooked to perfection but my friend with the salt addiction went straight for the shaker. My other partners in crime ordered soups. The gyoza soup, veggie dumplings in broth, was plain but tasty, and huge at that. The other soup, oddly listed under salads as Yu Tofu, could have fed at least five more of us. Huge chunks of tofu and steamed vegetables in a light broth were steaming hot and got us psyched up for the next course — The Fish.

Anyone that knows me knows my love for spicy tuna. But nothing, nothing, could have prepared me for the spicy tuna salad that we ordered in addition to the sushi (don’t fret, descriptions are coming). The presentation of the meals moved Miyake up a notch. Everything was on white porcelain plates in different shapes and the dishes were decorated with innovative sauces. They even place some of the rolls in the shape of sushi flowers. The spicy tuna salad came on a big square shaped plate. If there is one thing Miyake is not, it’s stingy on portion size. It was big pieces of tuna mixed with crab, radish, and cucumber doused in spicy sauce. It was all discernable; nothing mashed up into a big mush. The tuna was melt-in-your-mouth fantastic and the sauce left nothing to be desired. After not talking for fear of losing some of the sauce, we saw the chicken teriyaki go by. Just for the record, I think it’s a safe bet. Then we moved onto the rolls. We tried to steer away from the basic rolls because the menu offered so many innovative choices. The Golden Gate roll, tuna and avocado with spicy yellow tail on top, aimed to please with the perfect blend of spicy on top and creamy texture in the middle. The Osaka and Choi rolls had amazing flavors merging together to form two of the most perfect rolls I have ever had. But the crowning glory of the evening was the Black Pepper Tuna Roll. By covering the tuna in black pepper, rolling it up with avocado, and swirling wasabi mayo on the top, Miyake has discovered the secret to sushi.

So, is Miyake the answer to all of our problems? Probably not. But, if a slab of tuna and some crazy spicy sauce can make the evening a little better, count me in.

Miyake is located at 416 Eddy St. It is open Monday – Sunday.

Archived article by Zach Jones