Suika Snack Bar is a bustling and boisterous izakaya on West Broadway, near Fir Street.
We arrived at about 6:30 on a Friday evening without reservations. They were full, but agreed to give us a table if we could assure them that we could finish before 7:30. We agreed and were seated immediately.
Suika is a large space, well-lit, with a fairly modern feel.
We stared with th Hainese Chicken Salad
This is steamed sliced chicken thigh served over greens (iceberg lettuce, cucumber slivers, radish slices, cube tomatoes, sprouts), tossed with a ginger and scallion dressing. This was an okay salad. The greens were crisp and fresh, the dressing was tangy, with sweet tones. The chicken was a well prepared, but added very little flavor.
Next came the Kakuni Bibimbap
this is stewed pork belly, sweet dried shrimp and scallions, dressed with thick sweet soy, served over short grained rice, served in a searing hot stone bowl. The server mixed the rice and other ingredients together at our table side. The taste of this dish was terrific. The sweet and savory flavors worked well together, and the pork belly was rich and meaty. But usually, bibimbap has crunchy rice on the bottom and sides, resulting from the hot bowl. While this bowl was hot, the rice never developed a crunchy layer. Was it not hot enough? Was the sauce making everything too wet? Not sure.
Next came the Enoki Mushroom Pizza
This is a very thin flat bread, topped with enoki mushrooms, seaweed, scallions, and a creamy cheese sauce, baked to a light crisp. This was only okay. It was an item on the daily feature menu, and it sounded better on paper. The flat bread was crisp around the edges and on the bottom and held up to the toppings. The seaweed, and the sauce had some decent earthy savory flavors, and the scallions provided some fresh green herbaceous snap.
Lastly came the Aburi Toro Battera
This is a pressed sushi, smeared with avocado and sesame seeds, topped with fatty tuna, and pressed into a mold. The tuna is then seared with a torch, then topped with thick soy and seaweed sauce, then sliced ans served on green shiso with a generous mound of pickled ginger. This was excellent sushi, some of the best I’ve had in long time. The rice was just the right doneness, with a light tart flavor from rice wine vinegar. The tuna is mild and silky smooth. The soy and seaweed sauce added some sweet and savory tones, and the drizzle on the plate had a fruity tart quality.
Our servers were cheerful and pleasant, but very busy and difficult get any additional attention. When the house if busy, to room is very loud, in part due to the music and the din of conversation, and in part due to the boisterous shouts between the servers and the kitchen staff.