By: Deby Goldfarb
When you’re in the mood for some traditional Japanese cuisine in a casual atmosphere with easy, free parking that offers Dine-In, Dine-Out, Take-Out or Delivery, this restaurant fits the bill in every situation. Sumo Japanese Restaurant says that it “offers only the finest ingredients the world has to oer,” and it does. You will find an impressive array of dishes for lunch or dinner. The menu has every kind of Japanese dish imaginable and, from experience, we can vouch for the freshness.
Our delightful visit to the Orient began by tasting both hot and cold Sakes. The “Ozeki” Sake was cold and refreshing, served from a wine-shaped bottle that was brought to the table chilling in an ice bucket and then poured into regular wine glasses. It was light, dry and cool—perfect for a sultry Florida day or night. The hot Sake is served in the recognizable white porcelain “tokkuri” (vessel) with traditional “Ochoko” (small cups.) If you’re wondering why the sake cups are so small, it is so that one can drink and finish it before the temperature of the sake changes.
We were offered soup or salad to start. This was a difficult decision right off the bat since both Miso Soup (made with tofu, seaweed and scallions) as well as the House Salad are both healthy and delicious. Sumo’s House Salad is generously filled with mixed greens, carrots, purple cabbage and cucumber topped with the always tasty and well-loved ginger dressing.
Next you will find more than 30 different appetizers on Sumo’s menu, with approximately half “From the Sushi Bar” and half “From the Kitchen.” Difficult decisions! So we opted to try something from both sections. From the Kitchen, the Soft Shell Crab was a winner, deep-fried and served with spicy Ponzu sauce on the side. Edamame (green soybeans that are steamed and lightly salted) is served in a bowl that makes a fun finger food for all ages since you can squeeze the pod till the bean pops out or put the pod in your mouth and suck the bean out. (It is also offered in a tasteful spicy edamame wok charred with house garlic sauce and topped with togarashi, a Japanese spice mixture containing 7 ingredients.) Another perk of this appetizer besides the fun factor is that edamame is a good source of soy protein, healthy fiber, antioxidants and Vitamin K. Before moving on, one more suggestion From the Kitchen, is the Steamed Shrimp Dumplings, reminiscent of light and bite-sized Dim Sum.
Moving on to the Sushi Bar appetizer section, one of the ‘House Favorites” and newly added is “Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice” which is bite-sized crispy rice topped with spicy tuna, avocado, jalapeño, red tobiko and then topped with a house special sauce. Another long-time favorite Sushi Bar appetizer is The Sumo Pizza which is served on a crunchy tortilla topped with spicy tuna, jalapeño, avocado, and cherry tomatoes, then drizzled with house cilantro sauce.
The Kitchen Entrees really grab attention and if you’re a lover of shrimp, you’ll certainly enjoy the Jumbo Shrimp Tempura or mix it up with the terrific variety of a “Combo” Tempura entree of shrimp, kani (crab sticks), fish, chicken and vegetables (yams and broccoli.) Sumo also offers Teriyaki entrees, Poke Bowls, and Stir-Fry. On that note, tasty stir-fry noodles are offered with your choice of either yakisoba (egg noodles) in a brown sauce or udon (rice noodles) in a sweet garlic sauce as well as the delicious house fried rice that comes with a choice of chicken, beef or shrimp made in a wok and combined with egg and freshly cut veggies.
You will be pleased with the huge selection of Sumo Favorites (15 Rolls) and Sumo Special Rolls (20 Rolls.) With 35 types of Rolls, you will have a marvelously baffling choice. We tried the “Ocean Roll’ made of crispy soft shell crab, salmon, avocado, and scallions, topped with 7-pepper tuna, diablo sauce and eel sauce. It’s similar to the “Deereld Roll” which has lobster tempura instead of crab and cream cheese added. In the “Sumo Special Rolls” section of the menu, a popular roll with a nice kick to it is the Hawaiian roll which has crispy Chilean Sea Bass, spicy tuna, cream cheese, jalapeño and topped with avocado, masago, cilantro sauce, kimchee sauce and eel sauce. Speaking of sauces, Sumo makes every sauce right here in-house from scratch. That includes eel sauce, ponzu sauce, tempura sauce, cilantro sauce and a signature endo sauce for their sushi which is a little sweet and spicy that gets raves from their customers. (Just as a side note, for those avoiding starches, Sumo offers a variety of rice-less rolls wrapped in cucumber and a sashimi roll wrapped in seaweed with no rice. )
We couldn’t think of leaving without trying a few pieces of sushi, often one of the best tests of a Japanese restaurant. Is the sh fresh? Is it a sliver of sh on a cake of rice? Here’s what we found by choosing a few pieces from the “Sushi and Sashimi a La Carte” menu: The sushi was the best we’ve had—both salmon and yellowtail were divinely fresh, delicate and generous portions. Also calling to us on this section of the menu were the Japanese scallops, uni, toro, sweet shrimp and so much more, but we will just have to save them for the next visit.
Sumo’s first location opened in 1996. It’s no wonder that this restaurant has endured for almost 25 years and has expanded to this new Boca Raton location. It’s also no wonder that they have a loyal and supportive following. Here’s our newest Japanese expression: “Modotte Kimasu” or “I’ll be back soon”
Mission Bay Plaza
20449 FL-7 Suite A2, Boca Raton, FL 33498