Excellent Japanese food is hard to come by in Northeast Ohio, but look no further than Aoeshi Restaurant at 24539 Lorain Road in North Olmsted. Aoeshi screams with intimacy and tradition as this is a small hidden restaurant tucked near Great Northern Mall.
Aoeshi’s decor is simple, yet elegant with warm colors, wicker chairs and low-ended wooden tables and the hint of original Japanese music flows throughout the restaurant.
Aoeshi offers both contemporary items on its menu and an array of sushi and sashimi. More than 70 items are offered on the sushi and sashimi list from the raw to the fried.
My guests and I were served miso soup and salad with dicon radish, lettuce, cucumbers and a light soy dressing. The soup and salad course was a refreshing start to a heavy meal.
Aoeshi offers several drink choices such as beers, saki, distilled beverages and fountain drinks. We ordered both Sapporo and Kearns Ichiban; the two most popular Japanese beers sold in the United States. Sapporo has a milder finish and Kearns Ichiban has a sweeter taste to it.
My guests and I who favored the sushi menu ordered several items from it both raw and semi-cooked.
We ordered the sushi and sashimi platter, which covered the gamut of flavors and textures. Such items on the plate were California rolls, salmon sashimi, tuna rolls, mackerel sashimi, eel hand rolls and tuna sashimi.
The platter was decorated with colorful patterns of dicon radishes, onions, pickled ginger and a small island of wasabi, Japanese horseradish.
We also ordered spider rolls and dragon rolls. Spider rolls are crab meat deep fried in a tempura batter and wrapped in seaweed. Dragon rolls are lobster rolls that are also deep fried in tempura and stuffed with rice and fragrant spices.
The presentation was spectacular as the spider rolls and dragon rolls were served on each platter with a sense of artistry and style in whimsical patterns.
Although most of the sushi was flavored well, some needed the saltiness of soy sauce and the spiciness of the wasabi to enhance its stiff flavor.
The guests who didn?t like sushi ordered the crab tempura and the salmon teriyaki. The crab tempura was a nice piece of lump crabmeat seasoned in panko bread crumbs and deep fried. Unfortunately it wasn?t as fresh and captivating as expected.
The salmon teriyaki however, was sweet and delicious as it was served on a bed of rice and vegetables in a luscious teriyaki sauce. The salmon was fresh and succulent.
We finished our meal with tempura ice cream; a beautifully filled soft serve ice cream placed in a tempura shell laced with slices of kiwi and fresh Japanese cherries laden with a sweet, simple syrup. This dessert was refreshing and cleared our palates from the heaviness and richness of our meals.
Aoeshi is a great place to experience traditional Japanese food in a relaxed and beautiful setting; however, it can be rather expensive, as a meal for four could cost $100 or more. The only downfall about Aoeshi is its location, as it’s hidden away from the viewpoint of impending customers.