“Billy said everything! Everything is fresh!”
This is the response you’d expect from any sushi chef on the East or West coasts, but it comes as a surprise here in Minnesota, more than 1,000 miles from the nearest ocean.
Sushi Fix is a restaurant born despite initial skepticism and a fair share of furrowed eyebrows. Chef-Owner Enkhbileg “Billy” Tserenbat started his journey to his new 40-seat restaurant from the back of a food truck. While the thought of sushi coming from a truck seems strange, Tserenbat defied all expectations and gained a loyal following. Building on this momentum, he set his sights on his new location, which opened in early March. But does Sushi Fix’s success as a food truck carry over into a full-fledged sushi restaurant?
The interior of Sushi Fix is bright, welcoming, and spacious. Guests have the option of sitting at a table or at the sushi bar, where they can observe the sushi chefs at work.
Sushi Fix’s menu is extensive, perhaps overwhelmingly so for first-timers or those new to Japanese food or sushi. However, servers and chefs alike seem very open to explaining anything on the menu and offering a few recommendations to guide the way. The drink menu provides options for beer and wine, along with a pleasingly varied range of sake.
Upon ordering we were informed that, sadly, the restaurant had run out of udon noodles from the previous night’s service. This initial disappointment was soon to be erased with the arrival of the grilled Surume squid ($11, above right). Full of oceanic flavor balanced with sweetness and the slight char of the grill, this appetizer was a great start to the meal. The agedashi tofu ($7, above left), while fair, could have benefited from being cut down into smaller pieces for more texture.
Diners are sure to have their work cut out for them when trying to decide on which of the two dozen sushi rolls they’d like to eat. We opted for the American sushi classic, the California roll ($7.25, below right). Unlike the vast majority of interpretations, Sushi Fix’s California roll uses real snow crab, not a fish-based imposter. The addition of the semisweet and briny interplay of snow crab pleasingly elevates the oft-mundane California roll. This small yet pivotal difference exposes the importance of ingredient quality in sushi, even in its Americanized roll form.
For our second roll we sampled one of the most popular items from Sushi Fix’s truck, the 2-14 roll ($20, above left). In this roll a plethora of seafood including tuna, salmon, yellowtail, shrimp tempura, and tobiko are wrapped together in a pink soy paper. Despite the many accoutrements, the seafood shines through with freshness and holds its own flavor well. This held true with our third roll of the evening, the Wayzata Trojans ($23), which paired fish with the citrus of ponzu and heat of spicy mayo.
Scrawled on the daily specials board was a selection of the day’s featured fish. Wanting to sample the quality of the fish selection minus the distraction of sauces, we ordered the sashimi sampler ($20). The sampler features 10 pieces of three different fish varieties, selected by the chef. We were given generous cuts of maguro (tuna), sockeye salmon, and tai (snapper). Each cut of fish was very fresh, devoid of any “fishy” scent or taste. While the quality provided here is not transcendental, it is a cut above any other sashimi I’ve sampled here in the Twin Cities.
In order to take stock of Sushi Fix’s use of rice with fish, we ordered a plate of a la carte nigiri sushi, including tuna ($6, above, center top), yellowtail ($6, above, center bottom), salmon roe ($5.25, above left), and mackerel ($4.50, above, right). We experienced the same freshness and quality in the fish here that we had seen in the sashimi sampler. The rice, while slightly chewier than we had expected, is flavored and seasoned well. The slight zing of vinegar balances the fattiness of the fish, while just the right level of saltiness accentuates the overall level of flavor in each bite.
The dessert options are limited, but we did get an order of the mochi ice cream ($2 a piece). Unfortunately the otherwise great meal of sushi ended on a poor note: The mochi had a hard, mealy outer shell.
Having grown up in Hawaii (with many visits to Japan), I’ve been on the search for reliable, quality sushi ever since I moved to the Twin Cities two years ago. In my search I’ve sampled sushi at most of the notable restaurants around town: Origami, Crave, Fuji Ya, and Masu, just to name a few. The level of quality and execution I experienced at Sushi Fix exceeded my expectations and surpassed any other sushi experience I’ve had here in the Twin Cities.
It’s clear that Sushi Fix puts a heavy focus on sourcing quality ingredients. The rather bold statement that opened up this article rang true throughout the night — everything we ate was fresh from the grilled squid to the no-frills sashimi. As long as the quality of its product endures, Sushi Fix is sure to become a favorite among local fans of sushi.
Japanese / Sushi in Wayzata
862 Lake St E
Wayzata, MN 55391
OWNER / CHEF: Enkhbileg “Billy” Tserenbat
HOURS: Sun-Thu 4:30-9pm, Fri-Sat 4:30-10pm
BAR: Beer, wine, and sake
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED: No / No
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / Limited
ENTREE RANGE: $15-$25
Being outside of a serious sushi area must’ve had a lasting effect because there’s no way the sushi here is better than Masu–which even then is a 3* or 3.5* on a 4* scale. Don’t be kind just because it’s Minnesota.
I’d like to think that my standard for sushi hasn’t been dulled after only two years, especially considering I’ve eaten it all my life (as opposed to more recent adopters). Even thought I’ve lived in MN for the past couple of years I have visited Hawaii on several occasions as well as the west coast since moving – all trips where I’ve had sushi. I’ve been to Masu’s a handful of times and would say that 3 stars would be a very generous rating of their sushi.
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