K is for Kyoto


When people harangue me for my notorious pickiness when it comes to food, I always cite sushi as my lead counterpoint. Sushi isn’t for everyone, but I love it!

So it is amazing that, for several years, I’ve possessed the knowledge that all-you-can-eat (AYCE–thanks Cindi) sushi is available in our area but I haven’t given it a try. Thanks to Adam selecting Kyoto and winning during this quest, that was about to change.

On a chilly Monday evening we ventured out of Milwaukee for the first time during this quest. Kyoto, like many sushi places for whatever reason, is located in a strip mall–known to no one as Woodland Court. (Does anyone ever know the names of strip malls?) This one, on the southeast corner of the intersection of 76th and Layton in Greenfield, is bookended randomly by a jewelry shop and an employment services provider.

We chose Monday because the AYCE option is only available on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Michelle and I arrived first, we were seated at a six person table near the back of the restaurant. The place was relatively busy–we had a reservation but didn’t need it–and larger than I expected, the lighting was low and, beyond the impressive sushi bar, minimal effort was put into the oriental theme.

Soon Cindi, Adam and Marilyn arrived, followed shortly by TJ and Shannon.

Reviewing the menu, we learned the AYCE option was $23.99. Adam noticed instantly that they had put many of their more expensive rolls on the AYCE menu. We were all impressed with that. The catch was that if you did not finish a roll, you had to pay for it. Included was a salad and Miso soup, as well as a the option to choose from a number of appetizers.

Four of us–Adam, Cindi, Michelle and I–decided to go for AYCE. Discussion centered around how many rolls we would order and whether or not soup, salad and appetizers were a good choice.

Miso soup

Appetizers, Soup and Salad

I opted to get both the Miso soup and the salad. I love both of these things and had recently had some of the best Miso soup of my life at Dreams in Los Cabos–it had large mushrooms and was incredibly umami. Sadly, this Miso at Kyoto was on the bland side, with only a small amount of tofu and–in my memory–no green onions.

The salad–typically highlighted by ginger dressing–was also not among the best I’ve had in the area. It was fine, but not as crisp and flavorful as others.

Adam, on the other hand, opted to avoid soup, salad and appetizers and focus solely on sushi. In my mind, he missed out.

Age tofu

I opted to have an appetizer and chose age tofu, which turned out to be excellent. The large, gelatinous fried tofu squares melted warm in my mouth and were served served in a sweet, soy-flavored broth.

Michelle said:

I really liked Nick’s tofu appetizer and I’m looking forward to it again the next time I visit.

Shannon and TJ ordered the edamame. She said:

I thought it was very lackluster. Granted, it is probably the best and most traditional way to serve it but I thought it needed a little salt and seasoning.

Tempura chicken

Dinner

As I mentioned, sushi isn’t for everyone, so while most of us were excited, TJ, who doesn’t like fish–in case you haven’t heard–had to make due. He said:

I went to a Sushi place and ordered “chicken tenders”. It actually was Chicken Tempura but it was nothing more than a giant chicken tender. I guess the silver lining in this would be: if you do not like sushi and your friends do, order the chicken tempura and you’ll be satisfied.

Shannon’s ruby maki

Shannon joined us for sushi, but not AYCE. She said:

In past experiences with sushi, I know it fills me up quickly so I opted to NOT do the AYCE. I ordered one roll of ruby maki. I thought it was very good and wish I could have fit three more pieces.

Various rolls

The rest of us had carefully decided how many rolls we thought we could eat. It was strange that they brought all the rolls out for the first order on two plates. It was hard to tell what was what. We stared at one roll for a while trying to determine what it was.

Michelle said:

The rolls I ordered were spicy tuna, salmon and avocado and the magic maki roll. All of the rolls were awesome. Three was more than I usually get on my own but it was the perfect amount.

Michelle and I always get spicy tuna. Spicy tuna is my favorite roll and this variation was excellent. At other places, in addition to the tuna, I am used to veggies. This variation featured tempura crumbles, which soaked up the soy/wasabi mix and provided and warm, fluffy crunch. In addition, I had a lobster roll and a ruby maki roll. The lobster roll was equally as appetizing and consisted of the same tempura crumbles. It possessed a hearty, rich flavor, but the lobster was somewhat indistinguishable from any other seafood found in rolls. The special roll I ordered looked beautiful and was tasty and flavorful—including, finally, veggies. I believe it had crab and tuna.

Fried oyster rolls

Cindi ordered three rolls, one featured eel, which she really liked. Another had fried oysters, which she would not recommend. She said:

I don’t usually like AYCE places but sushi is an exception. All of the rolls were fresh, clean tasting, and delicious.

More various rolls (Adam ate more sushi than was on this plate).

Though three of us declined an offering for more rolls, Adam pushed forward. It was a sight to behold. He said:

I’ve never had AYCE sushi before either, so I was excited to see how disgusted I could be with myself by the time the check came. The answer, unsurprisingly, was very. I managed to put down five rolls and they were as follows: Spicy tuna, ruby maki, godzilla, rainbow and king scorpion. Spicy tuna is a staple for me and I always have to order one. It was just as good as it always is. The king scorpion I didn’t much care for. This could have more to do with the fact that I had about a pound of sushi down already when I ate it, but I’m pretty sure I would have been unimpressed anyways. The godzilla roll was by far my favorite. I believe it had crab and veggies inside the roll and eel on top. Whatever was in it, it was great and I would recommend it to any sushi fan.

One green tea ice cream, six spoons…

Dessert

I’ve expressed my fondness for green tea ice cream before, so it is no coincidence that I convinced our table to share a bowl. Topped with whipped cream, it was a very enjoyable ending to our meal, even though I could barely fit another scoop into my full stomach. I think we all felt that way as we shuffled into a cold, crisp evening.

Ratings for Kyoro were, as follows:

Adam: 6.75
Cindi: 6.25
Michelle: 7
Nick: 6.5
Shannon: 6
TJ: 5

Kyoto cumulative rating: 6.3

Of the area sushi places I’ve been to, Kyoto, flavor-wise, was middle of the road. The uniqueness of the AYCE menu, though, will lead me to recommending it to all gluttonous sushi fans I know.

Cindi said:

If you can eat 3 rolls, this is worth your while.

Though the sushi lovers in our group would recommend other places first–including Fujiyama, Benihana, Screaming Tuna and Wasabi–I think it is safe to say we will be back to do AYCE, even if it causes us to feel how Adam looks in that last photo.

Michelle said:

I have been wanting to try this place for awhile since the idea of AYCE sushi seemed too good to be true. I’m looking forward to bringing my brother to Kyoto.

Losing nominations for ‘K’ were Kegel’s Inn (Nick, Michelle and Cindi), The Knick (TJ) and Key Westconsin (Shannon).

Introduction to the ABCs of Milwaukee Dining
AJ Bombers: 6.8
Beta by Sabor: 7.9
Comet Cafe: 7
Distil: 5.8
Eatery on Farwell: 6.2
Fajitas Grill: 5.3
Ginger: 7.4
Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub: 7.5
Irie Palace: 6.2
Jow Nai Fouquet: 6.9
Kyoto: 6.3

WHERE ARE WE EATING NEXT?

One of these restaurants was selected for our next dinner … Which is it?

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