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Last Update 28 February 2004

Reno Sushi Report

This is a report on all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants in Reno, Nevada. (And now, also on sushi experiences everywhere.) Not the sucky buffet style kind. The good kind that are just like normal sushi bars. For some reason, there are a lot of them here. Who would have thought a landlocked high desert town would have this much fish?

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23 February 2004.

TK's Spicy Scallop Salad

4 large scallops, cut into 6-10 evenly sized pieces
2-3 tsp mayo
2-3 tbsp Trader Joe's Pinjur (Roasted Red Bell Sauce)
1/8 tsp ground chili (chipotle preferred)
1 dash sesame oil (or 1/2-1 tsp toasted sesame seeds)
1/2-2 tsp rooster (sriracha) sauce
1-2 pinches cumin (roasted and ground seeds preferred)
salt to taste
1-3 tsp minced chives (and/or green onions) (optional)
1/2-2 tbsp crushed potato chips or tempura bits (optional)

Mix all ingredients, cover with plastic and let rest in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Serve on sushi rice or in sushi rolls, or with romaine leaves.

28 February 2003. Reno sushi bars are da hook-up. Wasizzle to the nijizzle.

13 February 2003. Sister Jenn and I had a fantastic chef's menu at Sasabune: albacore sashimi, bluefin, toro, stuffed squid, ono, halibut, salmon, hamachi, pink scallop, albacore sushi, kanpachi, scallop, chu toro, crab roll, tuna roll. Kanpachi was the best, possibly my new favorite sushi.

I was disappointed to not have gotten the monkfish liver or the mackerel, but all the new things made up for it.

I've already linked to The Sushi Bar, but will do so again, specifically to the Chipsan Says column which I found interesting.

8 January 2003. Downtown Restaurant in Berkeley has what appears on their website to be an extensive cold bar. But when Poirier and I stopped in for dinner sometime last week, the only sushi they had was scallop. So that sucks. However, the scallop sashimi was the best I've ever had. Delicate sea flavor, and a texture like no previous...perhaps something like a Sunkist Fruit Gem, but not sticky. $7 for five thin slices, though, ouch.

Check out the Sushi World Guide.

29 November 2002. On a tip from Garrett, the family ventured to Nozawa Sushi in Los Angeles. The selection pales compared to Sasabune, but is otherwise comparable in almost every way. Portions are significantly larger than Sasabune. Excellent hamachi, albacore, baby tuna sashimi, toro roll, crab roll, and eel. Over-decorated salmon. Marginal sweet shrimp and red snapper. But is that shit ever any good?

Revisited Genki Sushi in Berkeley a few weeks ago with Matty E, Johnny K, and Mikey P. Previous visit was a good five years ago with a couple of the same cast. This time around, it was all great-for-not-being-Sasabune: salmon, hamachi, spicy tuna, unagi, toro. And a bitchen eggplant tempura appetizer.

16 September 2002. Last month, Poirier and I went to Denver and Boulder to, among other things, eat sushi. Places of note:

Hapa Sushi in Denver. Stylish interior, gimmicky maki roll names ("Multiple Orgasm") with cooked stuff. Young, attractive waitstaff and sushi chefs. (Our chef, an early 20s crackergurl, was pretty deft with the rice and fish, but a little uneven with the knife.) Glamour aside, they served some respectable sushi and rad t-shirts.

Sushi Zanmai in Boulder. Excellent-for-not-being-Sasabune. $1 nigiri and $3 maki during Sunday Super Happy Hour. High quality, low price.

A few weekends ago, Poirier and I stopped in at Angelfish in Alameda. We came late Saturday night and by that time they'd been reduced to ends and scraps. The salmon was middling, but everything else was very good. Best mackerel outside of Sasabune. Good miso broiled cod, good monkfish liver.

9 April 2002. Hit the AYCE at Edo Sushi. Has apparently gotten very popular with the Freetown natives. Or at least was, last night. Was again, okay. The spicy scallop roll is almost all mayo, blech. Spicy tuna, good. Seaweed salad, rock.

Check this out: I got an order of unexciting salmon and decided to go shabu-shabu by dipping the fish into a very hot bowl of miso for a few seconds. It was awesome! Have I lost credibility?

30 January 2002. You can occasionally find some sushi coupons from the coupon page at the Gazette-Journal page.

Odds n ends: I don't know if Edo still has all you can eat, but I did try it a couple months ago and forgot to write a report. Good, not great. Spider rolls are available, though!

Poirier and I made another trip to Sasabune in December. Discovered that their monkfish liver is unfrickinbelievable. So, if you go, here are the things you should try: monkfish liver, regular mackerel, salmon, albacore toro, regular toro, amaebi. And uni, if you want to know what top shelf uni is like.

17 November 2001. Just got back from an impromptu Reno trip. My old pal John Ascuaga had the grand old idea to liven up the normally sleepy winter season by offering 2:1 on blackjacks during weekday graveyard shifts. Give it up for pops for spotting the announcement on Stanford Wong's blackjack page. The promotion went for two days before being cancelled, I was only able to make the second day. I made a little cash, and ate a little sushi. Where I come from, that's called success.

First night at Ichiban was very good, some excellent spicy rolls and salmon skin rolls. Good hamachi and salmon, but a little skimpy on the ratio. The only drawback is their non-free-drink-refill policy.

Second night at Kokopelli was just okay. The most expensive place in town, and they no longer use real crab unless you specify.

Update from the bay area: Edo Sushi in Newark, CA, now offers all you can eat sushi on Monday and Tuesday nights. I'm a little wary; it sounds like a ploy to use up odds and ends. (Anthony Bourdain, in Kitchen Confidential, discourages ordering fish on Mondays, claiming that Monday-fish are often leftovers from the Friday's fish order.) But I'll have a report on that soon enough.

10 October 2001. Back in Reno for the first time since April. Paid visits to Sushi Pier and Asian Gourmet Square. Summary: AGS is acceptable, but not as good as Sushi Club, Sushi Pier, or Aloha Sushi. Its main virtue is its proximity to downtown, and that food can be comped.

I did discover that I adore upside-down shrimp, which is an inverted ebi nigiri, with spicy scallop on top. I still maintain that sushi shrimp is often overboiled and bland, and I don't think I'd like it without additional components.

While I'm here, lemme portion and parcel mad props to Sasabune, down yonder in Santa Monica. Last month was my 3rd visit, this time accompanied by sister-Jenn and girlfriend-Jen. Sasabune is the best sushi I've ever had, and everyone I know who has been there agrees. If you think mackerel is supposed to taste like old bait, Sasabune will change your mind. Their mackerel, unlike most other sushi bars, is served raw and is superior to hamachi. (Their hamachi, however, isn't any better than that which can be found elsewhere.)

This time I ordered a lot of things I normally don't, because I knew that whatever I got would be the immortal nuts. This included Toro, Halibut, Red Snapper. The toro was 'only' $12/order (a far cry from the $36/order I had comped at the Mirage) and was the best I'd ever had. The halibut was the best I'd ever had. The snapper was the best I'd ever had. Still, I think I would take average salmon or yellowtail over the best snapper or halibut. But now I know.

Poirier ordered a salmon skin roll, which was excellent, and had the potential to be the best ever, but had too much flesh and not enough skin. The skin that was there, though, was buttery, crispy, sweet, and wood-smoky.

A shout out to Kioku in Newark, CA. Inexpensive california rolls made with real crab. How do they do it? I don't care. It rocks. So does their other sushi.

6 April 2001. Added report on Genghis Khan. Summary: a good value, with a word of caution.

3 April 2001. A long layoff after a two-week visit to the Bay Area.

For the two or three of you who check this page on a regular basis, know that I plan to leave Reno sometime in late April. Definitely no later than late May.

Two more AYCE sushi bars have been discovered: Kim Lee's and Genghis Khan (as reported by Steve Brecher). A report of Kim Lee's has been added. Summary: extensive list of rolls, but overall the experience was unremarkable.

Derek, Jen and I (accompanied by Aaron) had some god-frickin-awful sushi in Palo Alto at Miyake's, located on University right off of Stanford U. I'm on the verge of tears just thinking about it.

You're thinking this page needs more links. Well, here's one to and one to

19 March 2001. An exciting sushi day! Sort of. Inspired by Poirier's recent foray into (and appreciation of) sushi, Aaron Bos decided that he, too, was willing to supplant his usual lunchtime taco with a little nigiri. For this purpose, I took him to Aloha where he tried four different things before waving the white flag. This effort, in my opinion, was a substantial improvement in norm-departure. I'm so proud!

Mildly interesting is that my opinion of Aloha hasn't changed since my last visit, which was before I started this report. I would have thought that my tour would have shed new light or imposed new darkness, or something. But apparently my standards have reached a plateau of sorts.

17 March 2001. Second visit to Sushi Pier. Again, a very good experience except for the lack of personal space.

14 March 2001. Second visit to Ichiban. Am realizing now what I probably should have known all along: multiple visits = possibly different chefs = possibly different experiences. Not sure how to accurately and succinctly convey this information. In this particular case, some things were better, some were worse, but overall still an excellent experience.

I'm starting to add ratings for crystal shrimp rolls, in part because they are popular, and also because they are becoming a guilty pleasure.

Click here for a UNR article about some of the clubs in town.

12 March 2001. Added report on Woo Chon. This completes the preliminary report, woo-hoo! Follow-up visits are to begin shortly, though I'll probably skip Kyoto. I see no reason to give them a second chance.

10 March 2001. Added report on Kokopelli. Summary: Worth trying! Side note: Female sushi chef number four (as well as the aforementioned number two).

Is it just me or does smoked salmon sometimes taste like really good grilled hot dogs? Tangentially, why don't AYCE sushi bars serve Spam Musubi? You'd think Aloha would, at least.

7 March 2001. Added report on Kyoto. Summary: Stay away. Side note: Female sushi chef number three.

Pick up a copy of Reno News & Review for an Ichiban "Early Bird" coupon. (Given what the proverbial early bird catches, not sure that's the most appropriate choice of ad copy.) AYCE Sushi only $14, down from $20. Do it for the salmon!

And while I'm at it: There's another Nevada Dining Guide floating around with a 10% off coupon for Aloha Sushi.

6 March 2001. Added report on Sushi & Teri. Have you ever seen raw bonito? It would look delicious were it espresso semifreddo. Not so much otherwise.

Over the weekend, I hit a sushi bar in California to make sure that all my Nevada living hasn't lowered my sushi standards. I'm happy to report that it hasn't. Though perhaps "Sumo Sushi" wasn't really the best place for a reality check.

1 March 2001. Via the yellow pages, I've discovered four more restaurants offering all-you-can-eat sushi. That brings the total to ten. Stop the madness!!1111!1!

Newest finds: Sushi & Teri, Kokopelli, Woo Chon, Kyoto.

Another female sushi chef spotted, this time at Kokopelli. (First was at Ichiban.) When I find a fifth, or a non-asian one, I'll shut up about it. I promise.

28 Feb 2001. First draft of this report hits the web.

Some background: I first discovered Sushi Club about five years ago. A time of innocence, a time during which I was a Welcome Customer of The Clarion, a time before I became an Unwelcome Customer of The Atlantis. All you can eat sushi for $13? Jackpot. Of course, back then, Sushi Club's fish:rice ratio was on just this side of pathetic. But for $13, what do you expect? (After a few visits, I learned to hide excess rice by smashing it between sushi palettes. The rice-adhesive made the busboy's job a lot easier. So it was like I was saving them money, kind of.)

A year or so later, a newspaper ad directed my attention to Aloha Sushi. I tried 'em and decided I liked 'em. Liked 'em even more than Sushi Club, on account of more generous fish portions and a larger variety of rolls. I stayed loyal to Aloha for a few years, rejecting Sushi Club because of my early carbo-laden experiences, and Seoul because of a hardwired bias against restaurants that serve multiple types of Asian cuisine. (I know we all look alike and...well, we probably all are alike. But can we pretend otherwise? For now?)

Then a couple weeks ago, I found myself wandering around Airport Square, lost, forlorn, unwashed. In a haze of confusion, I glanced up to see the Sushi Pier storefront bearing the slogan-of-glory, "All You Can Eat Sushi!" A fourth AYCE sushi restaurant? What gives? I ambled in, scoped the scene, scored a menu, calculated the distance and obstacle count between the rear exit and the cash register, etc. The next day I went for lunch. The crowd conditions discouraged me from having much interest in a revisit, but the quality was certainly high enough to put a crack in my dogmatic Aloha zealotry. Overcome with spirituality, I decided to give the other two places a chance at redemption, the same chance at redemption given to Mark "The Hammer" Coleman in UFC XVII: Redemption, in which his ass got redeemed like a 25-cent-taco coupon.

Around this time, Steve Brecher tipped me off to a fifth location at the El Dorado Casino, and I also spotted an ad in a dining guide for a sixth location, Ichiban. I begun to realize that this project was of a magnitude far greater than originally anticipated, a project that demanded more than the idle, superficial treatment I've ordinarily rely upon to get through life. A project whose findings must be made public to the internet community, for the sake of justice (efficient market) and the American way (gluttony).

And so, the project begins. And may never end. Ever. To infinity. Plus one.

:::[ news ]:::[ comparison chart ]:::[ write-ups ]:::[ ratings ]:::[ misc ]:::

Comparison Chart

All of the restaurants have these items:

With a few exceptions, I'm not going to specify the various special rolls offered by each restaurant. It's more or less moot since the chefs at each place will make just about any custom roll you request, subject to ingredient availability.

Some of the restaurants have time limits. I've yet to see them enforced.

Comments and detailed ratings to follow this restaurant comparison chart.

  Aloha Sushi Asian Gourmet Square Genghis Khan Ichiban Kim Lee's Kokopelli Kyoto Seoul Sushi Club Sushi Pier Sushi & Teri Woo Chon
Lunch $14 $14 $11 n/a $14 $19 sat $15 $11 $13 $11 $13 $15
Dinner $19 $19 $15 $20 $19 $25 TThS $21 $16 $18 $16 $18 $20
Rice Type Sticky Sushi Sticky Sticky Sticky ? Sushi Sticky Sticky Sticky Sushi Sushi
Fish to Rice Ratio usually above avg above avg low below avg to high below avg below avg very low low high avg low low
Filling to Rice Ratio varies low above avg high low high very low low high avg varies low
Number of Rolls on Menu 30 15 35 25 65 20 20 15 30 35 65 25
sea urchin   a   a     a ** d      
smelt eggs **     **           **    
smoked salmon     **   ** **         **  
bonito (katsuo)     **   **           ** **
beef                       **
pork                       **
real crab           **            
red snapper **   **   **       ** ** **  
striped bass               **   **    
halibut/flounder ** ** **   ** **     ** **   **
albacore ** ** **   ** **     ** ** ** **
cooked scallop **   **   **       ** **    
seared/cooked tuna ** **   **                
cooked mussel **   **     **       **    
fried clam         **           **  
crab tempura     **   **           **  
softshell crab a     a a   a ** a a   **
vegetable tempura **   **   **           **  
crystal shrimp ** ** **   ** **       ** ** **
popcorn shrimp                   **    
tempura shrimp **   ** a ** ** **   **   ** **
misc fried rolls     **   ** ** a       ** **
godzilla roll ** ** ** a ** d a   d d **  
futomaki roll ** d ** a   d ** ** ** ** **  
mountain roll ** d ** a ** d a ** d d d **
quail egg **     ** a ** **   ** ** ** **
cream cheese **   ** ** ** ** **   ** ** ** **
lettuce       ** **           **  
shiso leaf   **   ?       ? ? ?   ?
cilantro         ** **            
japanese pickle             **       ** **
white onions     **   **   **       **  
daikon         **   **     ** ** **

Rice Type: Sticky = normal, Japanese sticky rice. Sushi = vinegar and sugar mixed in. I may be inaccurately assessing some places as having sticky rice, when in fact they may just be seasoning lightly.

Fish:Rice Ratio: Generosity of fish, with regards to nigiri sushi.

Filling:Rice Ratio: Generosity of filling, with regards to rolls.

Number of Rolls on Menu: That is, number of rolls actually available for AYCE. Some restaurants offer rolls which are only available a la carte. As mentioned previously, you can request custom rolls at any of the places, so the number of possible combinations are practically infinite. However, it occurs to me that most folks aren't interested in playing chef and would prefer to just point to things on the menu. Fair enough. You say "maguro", I say "maguro".

godzilla roll = hamachi + green onion roll, battered, deep fried
futomaki = fish and vegetable combination roll
mountain roll = crystal shrimp roll, wrapped in three kinds of fish with spicy scallops on top
misc fried rolls = examples: salmon + cream cheese, tuna + crab + avocado, california roll

** = available
d = available during dinner
a = available a la carte
(These limitations are not always in effect. In other words, you should always ask for anything you want, even if the menu says you can't have it.)

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Notes on Individual Restaurants

Aloha Sushi
3338 Kietzke Ln
(775) 828-9611

Visited: Mar 2001, Feb 2001 (3 times), Jan 2001(6 times), 1996-2000 (many times)

The most flexible in terms of custom/special rolls. The only off-limit item is the softshell crab. Everything else--mountain, godzilla, etc.--is up for grabs.

Drink service is spotty.

Crystal shrimp rolls are sometimes short of actual shrimp meat.

Has more seating than any other restaurant on this list. Crowd level variable.

I've been a regular here for a few years, but after working on this report have decided to spread myself out a bit...

Asian Gourmet Square
(at the El Dorado Casino)
345 N Virginia St
(775) 786-5700

Visited: Feb 2001, Oct 2001.

Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Except for the clanging slot machines in the background, this sushi bar has fairly nice ambience and decor.

Usually uncrowded.

Casino comps available.

Good spicy rolls, generous fish pieces, otherwise nothing too spectacular.

Got a very unpleasant order of seared tuna. I'm not sure I can articulate how it was bad, except that it tasted like paste. I don't mean the good kind of paste from 1st grade, I mean the kind of paste from 7th grade shop class. Actually, I never took shop in 7th grade. But I know what 7th graders would have mixed into the paste when the teacher wasn't looking. And it wouldn't have tasted very good.

Good crystal shrimp. Good spicy scallop.

Genghis Khan
3702 S Virgina St. #2
(775) 829-8868

Visited: Apr 2001.

Opened in Feb 2001. Also has large Chinese buffet.

Some things were very good, other things were questionable. The fresh and smoked salmon were very good, though a bit skimpy. The spicy tuna roll and eddie roll were also good, though I had to ask for green onions on the side. The Wendy roll (a version of the crystal shrimp roll) was excellent, both with and without lemon slices.

On the downside, the hamachi I got seemed a little old and dried out, and--I'm reluctant to mention this--the spicy scallop roll had a slight bitter taste. Later that evening I felt some allergic reaction. Note that I am just speculating upon causality, and also that the spicy scallop roll was actually quite good, even with the bitterness.

210 N Sierra St (2nd floor)
(775) 323-5550

Visited: Mar 2001, Feb 2001.

Advertises half-price sushi on Wednesdays.

Long rolls are 1 inch in diameter instead of the standard 2 inches. Very thin layer of rice.

Rice beds for the nigiri sushi are sometimes pre-made.

The chef made an interesting (and good) hand roll using inari (tofu skin) instead of seaweed.

Twice I've had the bar to myself on a Wednesday evening.

The first visit I got some slightly disappointing hamachi. The second time it was good. Unfortunately, the salmon skin roll was a let down from the time before.

Good crystal shrimp roll.

On both visits the avocado was flavorless. C'mon people! 99c Hass from Raley's, two days on the counter, boom, problem solved!

Some of my dad's family went to Ichiban and reported an overworked staff and, consequently, spotty service. They were also charged $9 for large Sapporo which was either a mistake or an unforgivable ripoff. The crystal shrimp was not as well received by my family as was the Aloha version. I guess we will have to agree to disagree (see my above complaint about Aloha's crystal shrimp).

No free refills on drinks.

Kim Lee's
1255 Stardust Drive
(775) 624-6334

Visited: Apr 2001.

Opened Feb 2001. Near the Keystone exit off I-80, next to a Gateway Inn. Apparently owned by the original Sushi & Teri owner, or something?

Closed on Mondays.

I went on a Tuesday night and had the bar to myself, but three takeout orders came at once, and there was only one chef working. The chef seemed just barely competent: rolls were sloppily assembled, nigiri was cut into haphazard shapes. I got the impression he didn't have a lot of experience eating sushi much less making it. Decent quality overall, some really interesting and tasty-sounding rolls, but the chef's inexperience, as well as the poor fish and filling to rice ratio, left a lot to be desired.

Made a discovery, though: crystal shrimp (which was very good here) is improved by lemon slivers. Probably other fried rolls.

Kokopelli Sushi
Circus Circus Hotel & Casino
500 N Sierra St
(775) 329-0711

Visited: Mar 2001.

Closed Sunday and Monday.

Inside Art Gecko's Bar and Grill.

Lively, clean, a bit loud, usually crowded.

Casino comps available.

Worth pointing out: the only place in town with real crab. It's not great crab as far as crab goes, but better than phony-baloney (phogna-bologna?).

The menu says "allow 15 minutes" for things like godzilla roll, salmon skin roll, etc., but this is an overestimate.

Seriously understaffed on a Saturday afternoon.

Pieces are very small; I would not recommend ordering a la carte.

The chef repeatedly passed around sushi we didn't order. The other customers seemed to like this, and I certainly do in some cases (e.g., I prefer to limit my consumption of things like crystal shrimp roll to one or two pieces), but for the most part I feel put upon. Speaking of crystal shrimp roll, the piece I had was superb.

Received a gristly order of albacore, and an experienced sushi-eating party next to me claimed the ikura was not as fresh was it should have been (shudder). However! Other than those two observations, quality was good overall.

I had to assemble my own salmon skin + octopus handroll, but the result was worth the effort.

The only place in town where the chef puts wasabi on the sushi; everywhere else seasoning is at the discretion of the eater. In the hands of a capable chef, this is preferred, but I felt the chef at Kokopelli was a bit indiscriminate and heavyhanded.

I couldn't taste any cilantro in the cilantro mayo. And there was too much of it in the smoked salmon roll.

I thought the godzilla roll was inferior to the ones I've had elsewhere, but Poirier seemed to like it better. I think it's made with salmon instead of yellowtail.

Had a too-spicy scallop roll, but a great spicy tuna roll. Fabulous unagi.

Kyoto Restaurant
915 W Moana Ln
(775) 825-9686

Visited: Mar 2001.

$1 nigiri and $3.50 rolls from 5pm to 7pm.

Great atmosphere, beautiful Japanese decor and ultra-modern interior design.

A lot of rolls offered here. Unfortunately, very few of them are available for their all-you-can-eat or one-dollar-sushi specials.

"All you can eat" only available on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. I accidentally went on a Wednesday. Against my better judgment I decided to partake of their $1 happy hour sushi.

The filling:rice and fish:rice ratios were shockingly stingy. And some of the pieces I got were puny. I suspected I might get ripped off, I just didn't think they would be so shameless about it. One order of hamachi came with fish piece the size and shape of a Nilla Wafer. The spicy tuna roll consisted of fish shavings buried into a monstrosity of mayo-drenched rice.

I stuck around after happy hour to see if the ratio improved. It did not.

Upon the arrival of the check, I discovered that the happy hour special is "$1 per piece" not "$1 per order". At $1 per order, it was merely a bad deal. $1 per piece was highway robbery.

The ginger is really good here, though.

1999 South Virgina St.
(775) 829-2115

Visited: Feb 2001.

Decent value. Quality is reasonable but not outstanding. A good place for lunch, especially if you want Sea Urchin or Softshell Crab.

Also serves Chinese, Mongolian, and Korean food.

Usually uncrowded.

Sushi Club
294 E Moana Ln # 1
(775) 828-7311

Visited: Feb 2001, many times in 1996(?).

Almost always crowded, often with an abundance of twentysomethings.

A very good place overall. Be sure to ask for chili oil in your spicy rolls.

Sushi Pier
1290 East Plumb Ln #J
Airport Square
(775) 825-6776

Visited: Mar 2001, Feb 2001, Oct 2001.

Has nice atmosphere. Many of the other restaurants are dim or dingy, Sushi Pier is bright and lively.

Sushi Pier is a terrific value, the best among the sushi restaurants. Quality is very respectable, and the price is low. Unfortunately, this goldmine is no secret to the Renofolk. Expect a line for both lunch and dinner, and to be packed like sardines at the bar.

I found some their cooked rolls to be fairly lame. The crystal shrimp roll was mostly tempura batter, not much shrimp. Their Wayne's roll failed to thrill as well. The salmon skin + octopus handroll can be excellent.

Sushi & Teri
5000 Smithridge Dr
(775) 827-9191

Visited: March 2001.

Well-lit but sterile, like a diner. Moderate crowd levels.

Skimpy fish:rice ratio for nigiri. High filling:rice ratio for handrolls, but low for long rolls.

As far as I can tell, what they call "chives" are really just green onions.

I rated their spicy rolls as average, but they could easily move up a notch or two with the addition of green onions (aka "chives"). If you go, be sure to ask for them specifically. A spicy roll without green onions is like a day without pork chops.

Woo Chon Korean & Japanese
5085 S McCarran Blvd
(775) 825-2552

Visited: March 2001.

Closed on Sundays.

Also serves Korean food.

Slightly odd smell in restaurant the first time I stopped by. Less severe or non-existent during actual visit.

Usually uncrowded.

Chef listens to Korean power ballads. I was teary-eyed even before the wasabi hit the board.

Quality was good overall, except for a bland order of albacore. The crystal shrimp roll was a bit above average. I didn't try the beef or pork (both cooked, I assume) hand rolls, but probably will on the follow-up visit. Which will probably be awhile, on account of the poor fish/filling:rice ratio.

:::[ news ]:::[ comparison chart ]:::[ write-ups ]:::[ ratings ]:::[ misc ]:::

Ratings of Specific Types of Sushi

Since my tastes are narrow, I don't feel I'm a very good judge of overall sushi quality. I've eaten a lot of different things at different places, but the only thing that really matters to me is how well my favorite types are prepared.

How did each restaurant stand up to my demands? See for yourself:


Aloha Very good or better
Asian Gourmet Average
Genghis Khan Not recommended
Ichiban Around average
Kim Lee's Very good
Kokopelli Very good
Kyoto Excellent, but not nearly enough of it.
Seoul Average
Sushi Pier Average to Excellent
Sushi Club Average
Sushi & Teri Below Average. Tasty, but some gristle.
Woo Chon Excellent, but not enough of it.
Best I've had: Yusan in El Cerrito, CA

Salmon (often in a roll with avocado and tobiko)

Aloha Usually average
Asian Gourmet Average
Genghis Khan Very good (fresh and smoked), but not enough
Ichiban Some of the best I've ever had
Kim Lee's Average
Kokopelli Fresh salmon average, smoked salmon good.
Kyoto Excellent, but not nearly enough of it.
Seoul Average
Sushi Club Excellent
Sushi Pier Good or better
Sushi & Teri Good. (both fresh and smoked)
Woo Chon Good, but not enough of it.
Best I've had: Mikado at the Mirage in Las Vegas, NV (fresh) and Banzai Sushi in Berkeley, CA (smoked)

Spicy Tuna Roll

Aloha Below average
Asian Gourmet Very good
Genghis Khan Very good
Ichiban Very good to excellent
Kim Lee's Above average (must ask for green onions/tobiko)
Kokopelli Above average to excellent
Kyoto Terrible. Almost all rice and mayo.
Seoul Good
Sushi Club Best I've ever had. With spicy oil, chili flakes and fried garlic.
Sushi Pier Average
Sushi & Teri Average
Woo Chon Below average
Best I've had: Sushi Club in Reno, NV or Light & Healthy in Los Angeles, CA (though it's been awhile)

Spicy Scallop Roll

Aloha Usually excellent, sometimes runny and horrible
Asian Gourmet Good
Genghis Khan Above average, with reservations (see review)
Ichiban Very good to excellent
Kim Lee's Very good (must ask for green onions/tobiko)
Kokopelli Inconsistent
Kyoto Bad. Almost all rice and mayo.
Seoul Good, but not enough filling.
Sushi Club Excellent
Sushi Pier Very good to Excellent
Sushi & Teri Average
Woo Chon Very good, but not enough filling.
Best I've had: Sushi Club or Aloha Sushi in Reno, NV

Salmon Skin + Octopus Roll

Aloha Very good or better
Asian Gourmet Average
Genghis Khan Above average, though mostly flesh
Ichiban Can be the best, with lettuce and black sesame, and no fish flesh. Can also be just average.
Kim Lee's Below average. Soggy skin, octopus in cubes.
Kokopelli Excellent
Kyoto Average. Good skin and 'pus, too much rice.
Seoul Good, but not enough filling.
Sushi Club Below average. Too much flesh, too much sauce.
Sushi Pier Average to Excellent
Sushi & Teri Average
Woo Chon Good
Best I've had: Ichiban in Reno, NV

Upside-down Shrimp

Asian Gourmet Mediocre
Genghis Khan  
Kim Lee's  
Sushi Club  
Sushi Pier Excellent
Sushi & Teri  
Woo Chon  

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Rituals and Voodoo

Salmon: I brush with lemon slice (if provided). Dredge fish in and touch rice with soy sauce.
If salmon is smoked, I'll sometimes eat the lemon slice with the salmon.

Other raw fish nigiri: Slather wasabi between the fish and rice. Sop up soy sauce with ginger, put ginger on top of fish.

Rolls with fried component: Sometimes will smear with wasabi and/or eat with bits of lemon.

Everything else: I'll usually leave alone. Occasionally will add a piece of ginger or dab of wasabi.

Sushi consumption is interspersed with ginger nibbling.

I rarely mix wasabi into the soy.

My best performance to date:

Kokopelli, Mar 10 2001

(handrolls = 4 pieces)

Piece count: 45 pieces

Note that Kokopelli pieces are small compared to most sushi clubs. By any other standard, the above would have been 30-35 pieces. But I'll take extra credit where extra credit isn't due. Any day.

Self-Indulgence: My Sushi Novelty Wish List

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