Uki Japanese Restaurant

Located in an unassuming strip mall in front of Sam’s Club and Menards on E 96th St, we tried Uki on a whim one evening when we didn’t want to cook and we felt like having a meal that wouldn’t “greasify” us. So sushi it was.

The waitstaff was very friendly, and (as with most sushi bars) the chef was very chatty with the patrons at the bar. The patrons themselves were entertaining enough to listen to…

The salad (first criteria for a sushi restaurant) was just all right. The dressing had a much more distinct ginger flavor and texture than other restaurants in the area, and was less creamy. We both prefer the creamy dressing, but it was tasty nonetheless. Just not my favorite. The miso soup was also fine. There’ s never much variation there.

The sushi, on the other hand, was phenomenal. Since I couldn’t have raw fish (stupid rules of pregnancy) I ordered a California roll and a spicy tempura asparagus roll. However, either I made a mistake or the chef did, because I received the spicy asparagus roll (utterly fantastic) and something with spicy tuna. I had to (sniff!) give it to Chris, and he traded the California roll that had come with his shrimp tempura box dinner.

The California roll, though a staple, was also excellent. The pieces were cut on a diagonal, making it slightly less classy to try and fit the whole piece in one’s mouth at once, but it was worth the hampster cheeks. Both a good and a bad thing, it seems most sushi restaurants have “Americanized” the size of their rolls and you can eat dinner and still leave feeling very full.

Chris’s tempura shrimp and vegetables also came with a California roll (which we traded), two pork dumplings, and rice. The tempura was perfectly light and not at all greasy, and the dipping sauce was an ideal blend of sweet and zesty. We fought over the sweet potato, but he eventually won since he did order it, after all.

I know this will become one of our sushi staples. It’s close to home, the food is excellent, the service is friendly, and if they would just change the salad dressing, I’d say we’d have four stars.

A 2 Z Cafe

This Breakfast and Lunch joint has a Mediterranean flair and a pretty well-rounded breakfast and brunch menu, and after passing by and reading several other reviews, we decided it was time to try it out for Sunday.

We arrived just after 9am and managed to beat the other churchgoers; we would have had to wait for a while had we gotten there much later. Our waitress was friendly and seemed to manage her tables well, so we were offered a warming cup of coffee just moments after sitting down. One other little touch I really liked: they set a caraffe of ice water on the table, so we didn’t have to keep asking for refills.

Chris went for the omelette special (bacon, tomatoes, portabella mushrooms, basil, and goat cheese) and was pleased. It came with a dish of fresh fruit (including mangoes!) but nothing else. At the very least, we thought it should come with breakfast potatoes or toast.

My Eggs Benedict was a special treat. I don’t get to order this very often (usually because it doesn’t work as well with Egg Beaters, but I splurged) and it was worth the wait. While the Canadian bacon was a little on the salty side (yes, I know…it’s supposed to be salty, but this was a little much), the sauce wasn’t overwhelming and my dish did come with potatoes and fruit as well.

The breakfast and brunch menu is pretty typical…lots of omelettes, eggs several ways, some French toast and crepe options, and everything we saw looked tasty. The lunch menu was intriguing as well, with several seafood and pasta dishes that certainly warrant a visit at a later hour.