Here's more proof (as if I needed it) that my husband loves me: For a Mother's Day weekend dinner, he took me to a sushi restaurant.
To say my sweetheart doesn't like sushi is something of an understatement. As I enjoyed Sushi In Joy's yellowtail roll and octopus nigiri with lip-smacking enthusiasm, he could barely keep his lip from curling back in disgust. But he managed it, for my sake.
Of course, he had a few consolations on his own plate, too. Besides a full menu of specialty and classic sushi rolls, nigiri and sashimi, Sushi In Joy has a decent menu of classic Japanese food, plus a few items that stretch beyond the traditional.
Take our appetizers, for instance. Besides a plate of gyoza, Japanese potstickers with savory centers and tender browned skins, we ordered a goblet of Hawaiian poke. This invigorating salad was a symphony of tastes and textures; smooth and sweet diced mango, creamy and rich avocado, strong and clean-flavored raw tuna and chewy-crisp seaweed sliced so thin it looked like lime zest.
Though I like to try specialty rolls from time to time, my true loves are classic rolls, sashimi and nigiri — high-quality fish simply and beautifully presented. I had a yellowtail roll, its succulent taste and silky texture almost dissolving into the surrounding rice and nori.
My favorite, though, was the tako, or octopus, nigiri. I asked our server for a recommendation, and she said the tako was her favorite. She seemed surprised, in a good way, when I ordered it, and told me a great little story about another way to eat octopus that involved live animals, a cleaver, chopsticks and wiggly tentacles rolling around in the mouth.
Maybe next time. I was just fine with my fabulous nigiri, snow-white ruffled slices of cool octopus on rice. The first one was delicious, but then our server brought me two wafer-thin slices of lemon to place atop the second, and the result was electrifying, elevating the dish to something sublime.
I should've stuck with that, but I was greedy, so I also had chicken yakisoba, a huge plate of noodles, thin-sliced cabbage, peppers and grilled chicken in a light savory sauce. It made for very nice leftovers for lunch the next day.
My husband, who, of course, avoided everything else but the gyoza, polished off his entire plate of Japanese-style steak, cooked medium-well, sliced and served with steamed broccoli and carrots, crisp tempura veggies and sticky rice. Despite a few fatty pieces, it was both juicy and nicely seasoned.
Sushi In Joy has a selection of ice creams, but we'd just decided to skip dessert when our server brought a small plate containing two little frozen bonbons of strawberry and green tea ice cream coated with sweetened rice flour, each sliced in half and arranged around a tiny pool of chocolate syrup.
It was a sweet way to end the meal — nearly as sweet as our server asking our names and promising to remember us next time, or as the restaurant's owner coming out to say thanks and send us off with a "Happy Mother's Day."
Appetizers $3-$8; salads $3-$5; lunch specials $7-$17 (including sushi); dinners $10-$19.50 (including sushi); specialty rolls $5-$16; nigiri $3.50-$6; sashimi combinations (five to 24 pieces) $11-$35; traditional rolls $5-$7; hand rolls $4.50-$5.50; dessert $1.50-$5.50.
Sushi In Joy
Where: 856 Fort Union Blvd.
Hours: Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Saturday, noon-3 p.m.
Dinner: Monday-Thursday, 5-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m.
Payment: Major credit cards accepted
Wheelchair access: Easy
Also: Lunch and daily specials available
Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret News.