Eiko’s – Great Sushi in the Heart of Downtown Napa

Located steps away from the future Archer Hotel Napa, Eiko’s offers up some great sushi, and generous portions without the high price tag.

When people think Napa Valley and sushi, they automatically think Morimoto’s, a high-end sushi restaurant off the waterfront in downtown Napa owned by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. It’s a unique place to dine, but realistically how many of us can afford Morimoto Napa except on a special occasion? I am always looking for excellent sushi in my neighborhood that I can eat at least twice a month or more. Eiko’s modern Japanese cuisine is my favorite option, with a diversified menu that never tires.

Eiko’s is located in the heart of Downtown Napa, next door the Archer Hotel which is set to open late spring of 2017. With the devastating Napa earthquake and businesses suffering, this area of Napa is finally bouncing back, revitalizing into an urban hub of world class restaurants, tasting rooms shopping and lodging. Eiko’s has the prime location for tourist clientele but is also a favorite among locals as well.

Sushi Bar at Eiko's in the heart of downtown Napa
Sushi Bar at Eiko’s in the heart of downtown Napa

Eiko’s is a large space with separate bar area, outdoor patio, large sushi bar and dining room. It has great natural lighting with an open feel. We arrived around 1 pm to enjoy some sushi rolls, bento, sashimi and of course wine. I always choose the sushi bar to sit; I love to watch the chefs prepare the many different sushi rolls and sashimi items on the extensive menu.

The Hamachi “Bon-Bons”, hands down is my favorite thing on the menu, some days driving the 16 miles to get and order for lunch or dinner. With a record 12 bon-bons at one seating, they are on the lighter side, luckily. Snow crab wrapped with a nice slice of hamachi and topped with scallions, tobiko, and sweet sesame soy make this a mouth-watering combination. They come three per order for $12, but I order them four at a time. I recommend trying the bon-bons while dining at Eiko’s, maybe with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.

Hamachi "Bon-Bons" - one of the best items on the appetizer menu - Eiko's Napa
Hamachi “Bon-Bons” – one of the best items on the appetizer menu – Eiko’s Napa

Another must-try on the Japanese Tapas menu is the Chili Rock Shrimp, a hearty bowl of deep water rock shrimp, tossed in sweet and spicy glaze and topped with sesame seeds for $15. Being on the richer side with nice crispy batter fried shrimp and the sweet sauce, a more acidic white wine would pair well. The Chili Rock Shrimp is another Eiko’s favorite among diners.

Chili Rock Shrimp - Japanese Tapas at Eiko's
Nice portion of Chili Rock Shrimp – Japanese Tapas at Eiko’s

With our appetizers ordered, I ordered a glass of the 2015 St. Supéry Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. Eiko’s has an extensive wine and cocktail list with many more wines by the glass than most restaurants. They also have signature cocktails, over 20 beers, and many different sakes to choose from. This St. Supéry pairs nicely with most of the items I order off the menu.

2015 St. Supéry Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc - goes perfectly with Hamachi "Bon-Bons"
2015 St. Supéry Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc – goes perfectly with Hamachi “Bon-Bons.”

I like the brightness of this wine, when I drink it, no matter what time of year, it feels like springtime. The creaminess of the snow crab brings out more of the acidity and fruit in the wine than when I have it with sashimi alone. Other wines by the glass on the menu that are “sushi-friendly” are Miner Family Viognier, Trefethen Oak Knoll Reisling, Calavera Albariño, Kung Fu Girl Reisling and a Gundlach Bundschu Gewurztraminer to name a few.

Yellowtail Jalapeño - Sashimi with Yuzu-soy sauce and "sprinkle-sprinkle" vegetables
Yellowtail Jalapeño – Sashimi with Yuzu soy sauce and “sprinkle-sprinkle” vegetables

For my main course, I decided to stick to the paleo side of Asian cuisine and ordered the Yellowtail Jalapeño, a dish with six pieces of sliced yellowtail, yuzu-soy, topped with slices of jalapeño, cilantro, and sprinkled with small chopped vegetables. This dish had a kick to it, the sashimi was fresh, the jalapeno and veggies were crunchy, and the sauce had great citrus undertones. This heat and citrus in this dish brought out a creaminess to my Sauvignon Blanc that I didn’t get from my appetizers or Japanese tapas.

My husband ordered the Lunch Bento Box with Shrimp Tempura. Ranging between $14-$19 each bento box gives you miso soup, steamed rice, house salad, two piece California roll and your choice of New Zealand King Salmon, NY Strip Steak, Sesame Chicken, Vegetable Tempura or Shrimp Tempura.

Nice serving of hot Miso Soup - part of the Lunch Bento Box at Eiko's
Nice serving of hot Miso Soup – part of the Lunch Bento Box at Eiko’s

The miso soup was served first followed by the large bento box, served traditionally, with a hearty portion of shrimp tempura. With good value being hard to find in Napa Valley, the Lunch Bento Box is probably one of the most popular lunchtime items. It is also served promptly if you need a quick lunch option.

Lunch Bento Box - served from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm at Eiko's Napa
Lunch Bento Box – served from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm at Eiko’s Napa

Besides lunch served from 11:30am-2:30pm Monday-Friday, Eiko’s serves dinner Sunday-Thursday from 5pm-9pm and Friday-Saturday from 5pm-11pm. They also have a Social Hour Monday-Friday from 4pm-6pm (no Hamachi “Bon-Bons”) and Sunday Brunch 11am-2pm. As for the locals, Friday DJ nights from 10:30pm-1am in the bar area is a blast. I only list all these time because the restaurant’s schedule does get confusing and I have shown up on a Saturday at lunch to find it closed. Eiko’s also has an Oxbow Market location with sushi bar items available from 9 am every day.

If you are looking for quality Asian cuisine, Eiko’s is a place you can come without emptying your wallet. I feel you get more bang for the buck here and is an excellent choice if you like something besides standard sushi rolls. The fish is fresh, the atmosphere is fun and inviting, and there is something on the menu for everyone.

Enjoy… Wine Ho

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