The first thing you notice about Ariyoshi is the adorable back entrance in the SOPAC parking lot: little paper lanterns and cheerful colored lights are strung up making it almost feel like Christmas year-round.
The second thing you notice takes advantage of another sense—smell. The delicious scent of tempura batter and sizzling meats and vegetables fills the restaurant and makes you immediately twice as hungry as you were before you set foot in the doorway.
My friends and I were seated quickly on an un-crowded Sunday night. While we were seated in the corner, we did have a view of the impressive 15-foot fish tank that occupies the middle of the largest dining room. Our waters were in front of us before we could even order, and the delicious miso soup that we did order also came out promptly.
The menu has a large variety, so those students who aren’t the biggest fans of raw fish—or even sushi in general—are guaranteed to find something to nibble on. Our waitress did not pressure us to order and gladly came back when we requested more time to ponder the vast array of menu choices.
The food came out relatively quickly, and all the sushi rolls were brought out at the same time. One dinner guest could not stop raving about her Mexican Roll, which consisted of shrimp tempura, avocado, carrots, and spicy sauce.
“It was so delicious, and the roll didn’t fall apart once!” said Lindsey Barber, class of 2011, who often has difficulties keeping sushi together.
Fellow Setonian writer Laurel Barbot described the gyoza she ordered as having a “light and crispy texture with surprisingly tasty filling—a great appetizer before sushi.”
The price range at Ariyoshi varies from a mere $2 miso soup to decadent $15 special rolls. The classic California Roll will set diners back $4.50, and there are many other choices to fit even a starving college student’s budget.
For our over 21 students, the lovely staff at Ariyoshi will supply you with wine glasses and even take your wine back to chill while you eat.
When dining with larger parties, try reserving the back room. This almost-hidden dining area features a large wooden table with raised seats and sunken floor space underneath the table—you can feel like you’re sitting on the ground without being uncomfortable. Make sure you take your shoes off, this room is set to mimic traditional Japanese style and customs.
Whether you’re craving vegetable tempura and rice or the Lobster Roll, there is something for everyone at Ariyoshi.
Amanda Berrill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.