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DINING: I Love Sushi feeds raw fish ardor

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Dining - A&E

I love sushi. I admit it. I love the raw fish, the cooked fish, the veggie rolls. I love the seaweed, the sticky rice, the fiery wasabi. Heck, I even like the pickled ginger. So when we chose our review theme for August—The “I”s Have It—well, I jumped at the chance to try I Love Sushi (8603 E. 116th St., Fishers).

Now, I know that not everyone loves sushi—especially in Indiana, where fresh fish seems like it should be an oxymoron. (Thankfully, it isn’t.) As a result, one of the things I look for when adding a new restaurant to my sushi rotation is the non-sushi menu. I prefer places where I can get my raw fish fix without having to scare up another aficionado. I found that at this no-frills eatery in old-town Fishers.

We started with the Tempura appetizer ($6.95), which featured three pieces of shrimp and vegetables deep-fried in a deceptively light batter. The breading provided the perfect crunch, adding some texture to the sliced potato and Japanese lettuce but avoiding the extremes we’ve experienced elsewhere—nothing dry or greasy about this version. The almost broth-like dipping sauce worked well with the dish. Although we shared the starter, one person easily could have paired this scaled-down portion of the $14.95 dinner with soup and/or salad to make it a meal.

The Wave Roll, an I Love Sushi highlight, features shrimp tempura, tuna and avocado wrapped in soy paper. (IBJ Photo/Robin Jerstad)


Shrimp not your thing? Chicken and scallop tempura also are available.

As far as entrees go, the non-sushi menu was pretty standard: assorted teriyakis (beef, chicken, salmon and mixed seafood), neigimayakis, katsus and the aforementioned tempura. We tried the Chicken Katsu ($11.95), a pair of panko-breaded chicken breasts pounded thin and deep fried. Served with soup, salad and rice, the chicken was drizzled with a sauce reminiscent of A-1. That wasn’t a bad thing, but we’d have preferred to have the sauce on the side to keep the breading from getting soggy. Next time.

The salad—another notable sushi bar variable—was solid but nothing special. I Love Sushi eschews the mayonnaise other restaurants use to creamify their ubiquitous ginger dressing, opting for a more vinegar-based concoction. But there was plenty of it, which is always a plus in my book.

Sushi-wise, we ordered an assortment in hopes of discovering something to distinguish this restaurant from its competitors. Everyone has a California Roll and Spicy Tuna, right? We tried the Yellow Tail Sashimi ($4.95 for two pieces of darn good raw fish), the Indy Roll ($5.50), the New York Roll ($6.95) and the Wave Roll ($7.95).

Our favorite was the Wave, which wrapped cooked shrimp tempura, raw tuna and avocado inside soy paper and adorned it with spicy mayo and eel sauce. The flavors all but exploded in our mouths. The Indy Roll—spicy crab, avocado, daikon, cucumber, smelt egg and lettuce inside the standard seaweed-and-rice wrapping—was another winner, although the shredded lettuce seemed an odd ingredient.

The New York was less successful, in part because the cooked shrimp that topped the crabmeat-avocado-cucumber-stuffed roll was a tad dry and rubbery. We chalked it up to our late arrival, but we’ll probably try something else on our next visit.

After all, when you leave a sushi restaurant loving sushi even more than you did going in, there has to be a next time.•

 

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First in our month-long series of reviews of restaurants that start with the letter I.

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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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