Caucasian Asian: Haiku Review

Sarah Margolin, Staff Writer

The first sushi I ever tried was from Gateway Market in fifth grade. I remember opening up the takeout container filled with pieces of nigiri zushi, pieces of raw fish on top of rice. At first I was not a fan of the salmon nigiri zushi which, because the fish is raw, gives it a chewy texture. The eel though, was amazing, and to this day, is my favorite fish to have in any type of sushi.

Since that first time eating sushi, I have tried many other places. The one that I keep going back to is Haiku. For the past month, I have eaten there once a week.

My friend introduced me to Haiku last summer. The place itself is very upscale, having an almost nightclub/bar feel with blue lighting and sleek, modern furniture. When we went at 5:00 on a Saturday night there were a couple people there, and by 6:00 it started getting busy.

Along with regular sushi rolls (ranging from $4-7), Haiku has their specialty sushi rolls (from $12-15). The regular ones are really inexpensive for sushi and out of the ones I’ve had I like all of them. Regular rolls are a good start for people new to sushi, and super cheap (but still really good) so if you don’t like it, you didn’t waste a lot of money.

There is one thing that needs to be said about sushi. No, not all of it is raw. When the word sushi is said the first thought seems to be raw fish wrapped up in seaweed. Yes they have things just like that (but with rice as well and it tastes better than people make it out to be), but they also have cooked sushi. Most of the rolls on Haiku’s menu are cooked and if not, it will tell you that it is raw. If you have not had raw before and want to try it, try it at Haiku. Do not go to a place like Hy-Vee or Whole Foods. Those places are good, don’t get me wrong, but for raw fish, you want to go somewhere like Haiku or another sushi restaurant.

My favorite roll that I have had is a specialty one called the Seacoast Roll ($12). The roll itself is just a California roll (crab, cucumber, and avocado) but on top is a mixture of baked squid, crab meat and shrimp. The topping on the roll is really what makes it amazing. I had never had squid before and now I love it. The pieces of the it are slightly chewy but have a delicious flavor. The whole topping has this smoky, sweet flavor to it so it does not have that fishy taste that most people would assume comes with sushi.

Along with a long list of 39 sushi rolls, including sashimi, Haiku has soups, salads, different appetizers ranging from the traditional Japanese Gyoza (pan fried dumpling, think of a Japanese version of the Chinese pot sticker) to things like Crab Rangoons, and either the Vietnamese Pad Thai or the Japanese Yaki Udon (which I have had and is delicious, the noodles themselves are thick and chewy and do a good job of picking up the sauce that they are cooked in.)

All in all, Haiku is probably my favorite place to go for Asian food in general. Everything I have no complaints for anything that I have eaten there. I know the idea of sushi and what you are eating can be gross to a lot of people but the best advice I have ever gotten about eating sushi is to not think about what you are eating and if you need to, do it with your eyes closed.