Sushi 101 – Noodle Sushi Bar
Sushi is a hard sell for most kids, but Sushi 101-Noodle Sushi Bar, tucked away in the Shops at Woodlawn Road, came highly recommended by friends, so we decided to give it a try and “noodle” reassured us that our son would find something other than sushi on the menu. Walking into the strip-mall store front, I was expecting a sterile environment with bare-bones service and mediocre food, but what we got was a delicious meal the whole family enjoyed with warm, friendly service.
The long, black sushi bar was mostly empty when we arrived but the tables tucked up against ochre-colored walls with bamboo accents, were filled with families, co-eds and couples chatting and dining. This was a good sign.
We selected edamame to start. The tasty green pods were served warm in a bamboo steamer with sea salt. We showed our son how to eat them while browsing the menu. There is no children’s menu here, but yakitori ($2) — small skewers of 3-4 pieces of meats, veggies or tofu served either grilled or fried — are perfect nibbles for kids. Small bowls of plain noodles or steamed rice will satisfy picky eaters. We tried tempura shrimp, grilled beef with asparagus and sesame seeds, and fried zucchini. Each came with a different sauce for dipping.
From the five varieties of noodles (Glass, Ramen, Somen, Udon or Soba) prepared several ways with meat, tofu and veggie toppings, we chose Ramen with grilled shrimp. It came steaming hot in a deep bowl with expertly grilled vegetables and sauce. A big hit with the little guy!
My husband and I ordered various sushi and rolls. The spider roll — a deep fried soft-shell crab roll — was fresh and crunchy, and the sushi was tasty. The spicy tuna roll, served with a spicy mayo sauce fell short of expectations.
Overall, this sushi experience is great and the price is right. We shared an assortment of foods for under $50, and everything was gobbled up — even by a picky 7-year-old boy. Dessert options include ginger crème brulé and fried ice cream.
Dollar deal: $1 per sushi piece; $5.95 appetizers; $14.95 noodle bowl with steak
Kid-friendly: Yes! Many parents with toddlers, but no crayons or kid stuff.
Noise level: Moderate to lively conversation
Décor/Atmosphere: Modern with Japanese influence
Kiddie fare: Plain noodles, steamed rice, yakitori
Parent fare: Sushi, noodle bowls, teriyaki, salmon, tempura
Bathroom amenities: No changing table, but clean
High Chair/Booster: Yes.
Got milk/juice: No milk, but juice available
Address: 1730-F East Woodlawn Road, Charlotte
Web site: www.sushi101.net
Rating: xxx out of 5