Thursday, November 15, 2007

Midori Korean BBQ Part 1 - Sushi

(EDITORS NOTE: Midori is under new management. They don't prepare the sushi from the old menu well, but we don't know how they prepare the Korean food. We suspect their own new menu items are probably what's best. However, watch out for any roll with cream cheese in it -- it's whipped and sweet and overwhelms the flavor of anything its in. Ugh!)

The following refers to the food under the old managemet:

I'm not exactly a purist when it comes to sushi. I adore the big bright flavorful "fusion cooking" rolls, especially when they come with a Korean flair. I'm not so hot on the slab of raw fish on a ball of rice. Not that I have anything against raw fish, and I can appreciate simple elegance. But most Japanese sushi is just too pure for me.

As a result I cannot say how Midori stacks up among the top classic sushi places. (I suspect they're pretty good, as the sushi is always prepared with great care.) But I can say that my favorite place for sushi is Midori Sushi and Korean BBQ. Their flavors are vibrant and textures varied. (I also love their Korean food, but I'm leaving that for another review.)

Here are a few of my favorite rolls:

The Spicy Shrimp Tempura (pictured in the center) is the richest and most irresistible roll they have, imho. Inside is shrimp rolled in the milder darker Korean hot sauce. (Koreans have a wide variety of hot sauces, with a lot of different flavors -- some fruity, some straight spicy, some blazingly hot.) There's also cucumber and cream cheese, all wrapped in rice and nori. Then the whole roll is lightly battered and quickly deep fried. It's then cut into slices and a dot of a different hot sauce is on each slice. The flavors all melt together with the cream cheese, but there is the very crunchy outside, and the fresh crisp of the cucumber inside. You can eat each piece with two bites, but I recommend trying to get it in one. The gestalt of all the flavors and textures is heaven.

Another fancy large roll is the Caterpillar -- a spicy tuna roll which is draped with avocado slices on the outside. (Pictured at the top.) Depending on the chef and the presentation possibilities of your overall order, they may present this in a snake along your platter, with markings and scallion anntennae so that it looks like a big caterpillar.

The other big roll we like here is the Futomaki (pictured on the Right), which I understand just means "Big roll". At a lot of places, this is served as a selection of fishes, but here it is filled with crab, cucumber, avocado, kampyo, egg, and the crisp, sweet radish pickle that they serve as a side dish for many of their Korean dishes. This roll is lightly sweet flavored, and a good respite for some of the heavier rolls.

We usually order a big roll per person, and then fill in the rest with smaller rolls, like an asparagus, or avocado roll. Maybe a plain spicy crab or tuna. In the picture, I believe that's a Spicy Crab along the left, and Asparagus roll between the Caterpillar and the Spicy Shrimp Tempura, and a Cucumber and Avocado roll at the bottom of the picture above.

Below is what the tray looked like moments after serving. (It was completely empty soon after that.)

I hope to have some pictures and do a review of the Korean food at Midori soon, especially the Hot Stone Bowl Bibimbap, and maybe the noodle soup with shrimp tempura in it. In the meantime, just remember you can get good Korean food there. (And for great mom and pop Korean food in East Lansing, you can't beat Korean House in the Trowbridge shopping center. )

Midori Sushi and Korean BBQ, 436 Elmwood Rd, Lansing. (527) 323-7991.

Recommended Links:
Much as I love Korean food, you'd think I'd have more blog links. But alas, right now I only have one. My Korean Kitchen. Although Zen Kimchi really looks promising.

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