RESTAURANT REVIEW

Sushi joint in Holland surprises with complexity

3/6/2014
BILL OF FARE
From left, yellow tail maki, crystal, and Mexican maki.
From left, yellow tail maki, crystal, and Mexican maki.

Mushroom chicken served with white rice.
Mushroom chicken served with white rice.

There is more to Spicy Tuna Sushi Bar & Grill than first meets the eye.

Situated in a strip mall along Airport Highway in Holland, the sushi joint offers a hip, big city vibe. The dining room is spacious and is decorated in minimalist fashion, featuring metal furniture and a few televisions mounted on the relatively bare walls. The most striking aspect of the dining area is a brightly colored anime-inspired mural on the rear wall.

But each night at Spicy Tuna brings a reason to celebrate: half-off appetizers on Mondays, half-off sushi and sake on Wednesdays, and karaoke on Saturdays to name a few. The 1:30 a.m. kitchen closure on Fridays and Saturdays is an added bonus.

The wide-ranging sushi menu is clearly the focus, but Spicy Tuna also offers a fair number of Chinese dinner entrees and an sizable and creative drink menu.

We started dinner with crab rangoon (six for $7), veggie spring rolls (two for $2.50), and a side seaweed salad ($5.50).

Spicy Tuna Sushi Bar & Grill

★ ★ ★

Address: 7130 Airport Hwy., Holland.

Phone: 419-720-9333.

Category: Casual.

Menu: Pan-Asian.

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday; 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Friday; noon to 1:30 a.m. Saturday; and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Wheelchair access: Yes.

Average Price: $$

Credit Cards: AE, Dis, MC, V.

Web site: spicytunasushi.com.

The seaweed salad was good, but as expected. The spring rolls were tiny and the wrapper overwhelmed the vegetable filling.

The rangoon were also on the small side, but they had a great crispiness and a nice mix of crab and cream cheese filling. They also lacked the greasiness that can ruin the appetizer, and the accompanying sauce was a solid balance between sweet and sour.

From the expansive sushi menu, we ordered the Mexican (eight for $12), Philadelphia (eight for $8), crystal (eight for $16), and the yellow tail (six for $8). All were served with wasabi and pickled ginger.

The Mexican, featuring spicy crab, avocado, jalapenos, and cream cheese dipped in tempura and served with eel sauce and spicy mayonnaise, stole the show. The addition of the jalapenos to more traditional sushi ingredients gave the roll a surprising kick.

The crystal had a nice combination of seafood — tuna, white tuna, salmon, shrimp, and crab — and avocado and spring mix, wrapped in rice paper and topped with eel sauce and spicy mayonnaise. In this case, however, the sauce seemed to overpower the roll.

The yellow tail was a nice, simple roll to have paired with the heavier Mexican and Crystal.

Philadelphia roll.
Philadelphia roll.

The Philadelphia, with smoked salmon, cucumber, and cream cheese, was also a simple roll, but it had a great mix of flavors without the cream cheese overwhelming the other ingredients.

Although our selections came mostly from the sushi menu, the mushroom chicken ($10.99) is worth a mention. The dish, also available in pork ($10.99), beef ($11.99), and shrimp ($12.99), featured chunks of mushrooms, carrots, onions, and zucchini served in a mushroom soy sauce with a side of white rice. The vegetables kept a nice crunchiness, and the flavorful sauce had a hint of sweetness that complemented the dish well.

Overall, the food was tasty and satisfying. Our server was knowledgeable and attentive without being pushy. She was also patient as we took our time perusing the wide-ranging menu.

The variety of menu options and relaxed atmosphere are sure to draw a return visit.

Contact Bill of Fare at fare@theblade.com.