My wife and I recently had a day together—off from work, daughter at school—and ate lunch at Shan Kishi in Miramar Beach. Neither of us had eaten there before, but the prospect of sushi and Japanese-style cooking is always a big draw.
The restaurant is located in a heavily trafficked section of U.S. 98, near to large and small retail outlets. The dining room is rectangular, with booths and tables on either side, a decorative aquarium in front, and a sushi bar at the back. It’s done in brown and red, with quiet decorative touches on the walls.
Shan Kishi is a perfect spot for area workers to get a quick, healthy lunch, with a variety of sushi, sashimi, bento box (meat or fish teriyaki with dumpling, California roll, tempura and white rice), and hibachi entrees and combinations. Those with more open schedules (and heartier appetites) have the opportunity to give the menu a real run, with the all-you-can-eat special.
I had read about this before our visit, and figured it was some kind of buffet, or at least a very limited list. Actually, there’s a large and extensive menu of sushi by the piece (nigiri), rolls, handrolls, house special rolls, soups, salads, and hot appetizers and entrees. It’s $19.95 per person ($20.95 on weekends), and there are rules (written on the menu) about sharing and over-ordering.
Some advice if you go this route. First, relax—you don’t have to pig out to get (more than) your money’s worth. Second, take your time to pick and choose as you go, and to enjoy what you get. We were never rushed, though the servers were prompt about clearing away empty plates. You’ll end up with a varied and balanced meal for far less than you’d have paid a la carte. And the food is made to order. There’s a full menu for dinner, which has more options, but much of what is available can be obtained at lunch.
We ordered as we would for a regular meal, apps first. I started with beef negimaki—rolls of broiled beef wrapped around sautéed onion, with teriyaki sauce. My wife ordered a panko-crusted fried soft-shell crab, with citrusy ponzu sauce. I added a warm tuna tartare, a tuna base topped with crisp panko and tobiko (flying fish roe). Round One.
We shared. Japanese food is always so pretty, for the few moments it remains untouched. There were six beef rolls, with a carrot and lettuce garnish. Each bite was warm, slightly chewy, a winning combo of sweet, beefy and oniony flavors. Soft-shell crab is excellent pull-apart food, and panko adds a double crunch, especially to those tasty legs. The tuna was picture perfect (didn’t wait to take one) like a savory layer cake of fish, panko and crunchy little granules of roe.
Round Two. My wife and I each ordered a house special roll – fried calamari for her, a “bomb” roll (fried oysters) for me. Each plus-sized roll was filled with rice, cucumber and lettuce, topped with a sweet eel sauce. Hot, cold, soft, crunchy, sea and soy taste, it was all in there. Eating sushi teaches you to take your time, linger over the wasabi and pickled ginger, and scan the menu for anything you might want to try.
My wife called a halt for herself after the roll, but I ordered a closer of nigiri—slices of fish on rice cakes—tuna, scallop and red clam, two pieces each. This is the way I first tried sushi, and it remains my favorite, a smooth two-bite hit of pure seaborne protein, a little rice, and a dab of soy and ginger. The red clam was pretty, too, and an interesting new texture and flavor for me.
The main menu offers a more extensive list of nigiri a la carte, both hot and cold sushi/sashimi appetizers (including dumplings, tempura, grilled eggplant, and spring rolls) soups, salads, vegetarian rolls, hand rolls, house special rolls such as French Dragon (shrimp), Mummy (yellowtail), Passion (tuna and salmon), and King (king crab), sushi and sashimi entrees (including the family sized Love Boat for $65.95), hot noodle dishes, hibachi entrees, fried rice, teriyaki, tempura and katsu meat and seafood, and chef’s specials like baked garlic king crab and grilled filet mignon.
There are also desserts, including pudding, tiramisu, sorbet, etc. They looked good, but we we were full. It was all we could eat, just like the sign promised.
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