Mikuni – Sushi in the Village at Northstar

I recently stumbled across this fantastic sushi restaurant in the heart of Northstar California.

I wasn’t planning on doing an article about the sushi restaurant that we accidentally came across Saturday in the Village at Northstar. After heading to a neighboring restaurant that happened to be closed for an event, we reluctantly walked to Mikuni Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar. I say reluctantly, because it is hard to find a good sushi restaurant in the mountains.  Surprisingly, this is one of the best sushi restaurants I have dined in, in terms of quality, freshness and presentation. The creativity put into the dishes warrants a blog post.

Apparently Mikuni has several different locations from Davis to Roseville. This article is about my particular experience at the Northstar California location, which is a quaint ski town in the winter and mountain biking hub in the summer.

We arrived  when they opened for lunch on a Saturday, and it was fairly quiet. I was told by another local that Mikuni can get very busy, especially during the winter. They have a restaurant entrance which encompasses inside dining, an outdoor patio, a sushi bar and a separate take-out entrance. We decided to hit the sushi bar.

Chutoro and Charles Krug Sauvignon Blanc - Mikuni Sushi
Chutoro and Charles Krug Sauvignon Blanc – Mikuni Sushi

They had quite the extensive menu along with specials for the Northstar location only. I ordered my go-to sashimi, chutoro or fatty blue fin tuna. I also selected Charles Krug Sauvignon Blanc, a Napa Valley staple. The chutoro was exceptionally fresh with a nice firm texture. The color was a delightful pink and the fat marbling was perfect. The Charles Krug Sauvignon Blanc was crisp and bright with notes of grapefruit and lime. The crisp acidity balanced the fattiness of the tuna pleasantly. I usually pair a stainless steel fermented sauvignon blanc with the chutoro. It’s a perfect marriage.

Next we ordered a roll and an entree, The Benjamin Roll and the Tuna Sliders. We had to order The Benjamin Roll due to the fact that we are ‘The Benjamins’. It looked delicious and consisted of unagi (eel), seared tuna, panko shrimp, crab mix, avocado, jalapeños and a spicy aioli mayo, which was torched and topped with tobiko and green onion. I am not a huge eel fan but the roll looked so colorful and vibrant that I had to try it.

The Benjamin Roll - Mikuni
The Benjamin Roll – Mikuni Northstar California

This roll had so many flavors and layers going on. The smokiness of the unagi and the torched aioli contrasted with the cool seared ahi and the spicy jalapeños. And that was before you even got to the roll.  It was served with 2 sauces on the side, a hot chili sauce and a spicy mayo. The presentation was very nice on the plate. I wanted to dissect each part and eat it but then again it tasted perfect together. The richness of the aioli and smokiness of the eel combined with the panko on the shrimp worked nicely with the tartness of the Charles Krug. I feel like any cooked roll with a hint of richness to it can be paired with this sauvignon blanc.

Tuna sliders - Mikuni Northstar
Tuna sliders and Charles Krug sauvignon blanc – Mikuni Northstar

The last entree was the Tuna Sliders, which I actually wanted to call it Tuna Sliders (deconstructed) because it is not what you think as a traditional slider. Crab mix was wrapped in ahi tuna and topped with chopped asparagus tempura, chili-teriyaki, black tobiko caviar and green onion. I was thinking this would taste similar to my favorite sushi dish, the hamachi bon bon. The colors on the plate were a vivid combination of reds, greens, blacks and golds. The dish was visually stunning and tasted just as exceptional. The tuna tends to melt away in your mouth leaving the sweet crab mix. The asparagus tempura adds a nice crunch, and the teriyaki ties it all together. The chili sauce on the side packs a punch so it’s not for the faint of heart. The sauvignon blanc married nicely with the sweetness of the sliders.

I wanted to try everything on the menu but since I am mostly paleo, anything with rice fills me up immediately.  There were some other items on the menu that I would like to try when I return. The Black and White, a lightly torched white tuna toro with garlic, jalapeños, ponzu and black tobiko caviar was recommended by the waitress . I was also interested in the pork belly skewers with yuzu salt and shichimi (japanese spices).

I think this place knocked it out of the park. The service was friendly and the food came out quickly. The presentation was excellent and the fish was very fresh. If you are headed to Northstar, this is an excellent sushi experience.

Enjoy.. Wine Ho

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