First and foremost, I would like to state for the record that I am NOT a restaurant critic. I lack the training and sensibilities to do justice to that role.
Secondly, I am not what you would call a ‘foodie.’ I can’t tell you what region a balsamic vinegar came from or whether my asparagus is organic or not.
I simply enjoy and appreciate really good food of most any kind and, to be completely honest, I realized that I have been a bit lax in the “Food” portion of the “Food, Family & Culture” focus for Local Exposure.
With that in mind, I happened to find myself in Florence, KY recently with an empty belly and some time to kill. I have been told by many friends that if I want to find good, authentic sushi, I need to go to Florence. Since Toyota opened their offices in the Northern Kentucky region in the 1980’s, an influx of Japanese restaurants has made that area a haven for Asian cuisine.
I truly wish I had a chance to visit Japan to experience real, authentic sushi and to get schooled in the art of its preparation and its consumption because it is one of those things that I always feel like I’m just plain doing it wrong.
My first introduction to sushi came when I was playing hockey on a team in Crescent Springs, KY. After late-night games, we would often go to Newport on the Levee (to a restaurant that no longer exists, sadly) and indulge ourselves in an abundance of flavors and textures (“We’ll have one of each, extra wasabi, please -- oh, and another Sapporo.”). It was there that I learned to love spicy tuna, eel and my all-time favorite – octopus. I became so hooked on it that my team nickname actually was “Sushi.”
Lately, I have been on a sushi hiatus because of an experience that can only be described as “bad sushi.” Those of you who have experienced it, you know. Those of you who have not, I’ll spare you the details.
So, it was with a tiny bit of trepidation but more with a sense of reconnecting with and old friend that I entered Miyoshi.
The restaurant itself is immaculate, austere and very… well… Japanese. When I arrived, it was still early in the evening so the place was sparsely populated. I sat at the sushi bar because I love to watch the artistry of the creation. Secretly, I always like to think that my sushi is being prepared by Hattori Hanzo like in the movie Kill Bill. I ordered the Rainbow Roll and, yes, some octopus (it’s almost imperative).
I cannot speak highly enough about the Rainbow Roll. It had such a fine balance of flavor and texture that I made a concerted effort to leave out the soy and wasabi. I did not want it to mask the combination of crab, rice, tuna, salmon and fresh avocado that I saw prepared before my eyes. Each piece of the roll was unique in its own experience – some with more avocado, some with more tuna, some with more salmon, but each seemed to be purposefully concocted by the sushi chef.
I left the octopus for last – almost a dessert. A good friend once told me, “Octopus is the bacon of the sea,” and I wholeheartedly agree. I tend to think of it as a treat. It is crunchy and meaty but so full of bold flavor – a perfect balance with the delicate orchestra of flavors that are found in a sushi roll.
For anyone interested in Japanese cuisine outside of sushi, Miyoshi offers several noodle dishes, soups and traditional Japanese barbecue dishes. The prices are very reasonable and the staff is very pleasant and professional.
I think it is fair to say that my sushi hiatus is over and if I find myself in the neighborhood with a certain craving, I will definitely return to Miyoshi.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Miyoshi Umeki