For years now I've driven by Nagoya Sushi and smelled enticing Japanese aromas wafting from the place — but I've never stopped. Always on my way somewhere else, I guess.
But when I saw a sign outside proclaiming "New Management," I finally made time to go in, and despite a few hiccups, I'm glad I did.
We arrived at Nagoya Sushi for a late lunch less than an hour before the place closes for the afternoon (it reopens for dinner).
Despite that, we were welcomed and given seats at a big booth in the clean, comfortable dining space.
We started with a couple of traditional appetizers, gyoza and yakitori, and one I'd never tried before, the tempura asparagus.
The gyoza — plump and moist bundles with savory fillings — were a fine specimen of their kind.
The yakitori tasted fine, but I found myself wishing for one more stick and a few more vegetables on the skewers — the menu advertised it as chicken and vegetable skewers, but the only veggies in evidence were onions.
The asparagus, on the other hand, was practically perfect — firm, bittersweet stalks battered and fried crisp, then cut into bite-size pieces and drizzled with teriyaki sauce.
For lunch, my husband had his usual, the chicken teriyaki, also a well-done version with an especially nice teriyaki sauce, as well as crispy tempura vegetables, rice, miso soup and salad.
Two of my daughters shared a huge bowl of naveyaki udon, slurpy soup full of thick noodles, chicken and vegetables. I found the broth a bit bland but enjoyed the rest of the soup.
My oldest daughter had the beef teriyaki, while I had the two-item bento box lunch, prettily presented and filling with three pieces of sashimi, chicken katsu, salad, rice and miso soup.
The miso was great, with lots of scallions and tofu hidden in its aromatic, cloudy depths, and I enjoyed the sashimi. Tuna and salmon I've had before, and Nagoya's were very good, but my favorite of the day was the escolar, a delicately textured white fish with a strong, clean flavor.
It almost made up for the chicken katsu, usually one of my favorites but sadly lacking here, as it was so overcooked as to make half the cutlet inedible.
Next time I think I'll try a specialty roll, as Nagoya has several enticing varieties.
I'm particularly interested in the sweet honey roll, which features salmon, escolar, cream cheese, avocado and strawberry wrapped in soybean paper with ginger sauce. Sounds good enough for a return visit.
Appetizers $4.95-$8.95, soup and salad $2.95-$7.95, bento boxes $9.95-$11.95, entrees $8.95-$9.95, sushi and sashimi $3.95-$49.99, maki sushi $3.95-$10.95, specialty rolls $6.95-$14.95, kids' meals $7.95-$8.95, dessert $3.50-$5.50.
If you go...
Where: 1086 E. Fort Union Blvd.
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, noon-10 p.m.; Sunday, 4-9 p.m.
Payment: Major credit cards accepted; no checks
Wheelchair access: Easy; watch for sidewalk steps nearby
Also: Daily roll specials and lunch specials
Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret News. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org