New Zealand Café Seafood Grill & Sushi Bar

This small, but very lively sushi restaurant nestled inside the Sardis Crossing Shopping Center in Matthews is a treasure waiting to be found. New Zealand Café features seafood and Asian Cuisine, however they are known for their fresh, delicious daily $1 sushi.

My children, who are sushi connoisseurs, suggested we sample the best of all sushis by ordering the famous Sushi Boat (for two) $39.95. This entrée (or ship) came with your choice of soup or salad and Chef’s Selection of 12 each Sushi and Sashimi, along with a Rainbow Roll (California roll draped w/tuna, salmon, white fish, shrimp and masago) and Bigger Fried Roll (tuna, salmon, white fish, avocado, with smelt roe and scallion).

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the sushi “lingo,” sushi is described as a finger-size piece of raw fish or shellfish on a bed of vinegared rice sometimes dipped into shoyu (soy sauce) and then eaten. Sashimi is raw fish served sliced, but as-is — this means no rice bed or roll. My boys, who love sushi, were a tad bewildered when the boat was delivered with “raw fish” and no rice ball underneath . . . they have never experienced the Sashimi, but that didn’t stop them from diving in and enjoying each and every roll, especially the Sashimi. We even had to order an extra sushi roll because they just couldn’t get enough!

The Sushi Boat for two certainly provides a variety of sushi samples that two could feast upon; however with two curious boys with manly appetites, more is better! Each piece of sushi was visibly displayed with a precise presentation. The Sushi Boat was overflowing with fresh fish, sushi rolls, shrimp and cucumber decorations. The wasabi (Japanese horseradish) and ginger were aligned along the “stern” of the ship for dipping pleasure. The presentation of the ship entrée was quite impressive and undeniably worth every penny.
For those of you who prefer their meals cooked to order, there is an overflowing variety of entrées to choose from: seafood, steak, chicken, pork chops and vegetables. However, we definitely recommend trying at least one sushi roll. You never know until you try!

Since the Sushi Boat for two left us feeling not too hungry, but not too full — just right — we chose to call it a night! The friendly waitress brought us our bill and while we were waiting, the itamae (sushi chef) brought over an orange sherbet dessert for the boys.

The ambiance of the restaurant set our mood from the beginning, with the pleasant and courteous wait staff, the chic bistro tables and dim lighting. Chic but kid –friendly . . . New Zealand Café offers carry out, as well as a catering service for your next big event.

The Chow Down

Dollar Deal: $1 sushi daily; dinners $5.75-$9.95
Kid Friendly: Yes
To avoid a wait: go earlier or later in the evening
Noise level: quiet with music playing in the background
Décor/atmosphere: Modern/chic
Kiddie fare: Two items — chicken nuggets or fried shrimp, both served with “smiley fries”
Anything healthy on the kiddie menu? No, but sushi is very healthy!
Parent fare: Sushi, sushi and more sushi
Bathroom amenities: Clean
High chair/booster seats: Yes
Got milk/juice: No
Address: 1717 North Sardis Road, Suite 6A, Charlotte
Phone: (704) 708-9888 Fax (704) 708-9896
Hours: Mon-Fri. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. noon-10 p.m.
Web site:
Yums: Four

Jeannie is a single mother of two boys and a sales representative at Charlotte Parent.