Roll the rice
Hinoki Sushi may be the newest kid on the all-you-can-eat sushi block, but its staff works together like a well oiled machine. Comprised of Reno sushi veterans, this team is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. The menu is much shorter than some others in town, but it’s intended as a starting point. If you tell the chefs the kinds of things you like—and don’t like—they’ll put together custom creations just for you.
I was actually a bit startled by how quickly our appetizers arrived at the table. I might have suspected the baked mussels had been prepared in advance, except they weren’t overcooked and were the perfect temperature. Unlike some places that have a limit on appetizers, these folks keep ’em coming in rapid succession. In addition to the shellfish, we enjoyed cucumber salad, miso soup, gyoza, yakiton and agedashi—a traditional Japanese dish of deep-fried tofu served in a shallow bath of tentsuyu broth.
Moving on to nigiri, I ordered Cajun tuna, seared tuna, yellowtail, cooked and raw scallop, fresh and smoked salmon, red snapper, fresh-water eel and octopus. The fish-to-rice ratio was excellent. The rice held together well, and the flavors and textures of the fish were very good. The raw scallop and octopus were probably among the best preparations of either I’ve had in Reno.
My wife and daughter took the lead on ordering long rolls. Half-size rolls are available, which enabled us to try a broader range of flavors. They come tightly rolled and sliced in perfect, bite-sized morsels. The house Hinoki roll combined crystal shrimp with scallop, crab mix, Cajun tuna, basil and balsamic sauces, garnished with a fan of tempura-fried noodles. It was very pretty, but the heavily spiced tuna overpowered the other flavors just a bit. A little of that stuff goes a long way.
The Golden Gate was more subtle, with cucumber, crystal shrimp, lemon, salmon, ponzu sauce and a drop of chili sauce on each bite—quite nice. A little bolder was the ceviche roll, featuring crab, salmon, lemon, yellowtail, avocado, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno and sauce. The workout roll—perhaps one of the most interesting on the menu—involved seared beef sirloin, spinach, asparagus, spicy tuna, wasabi mayo, teriyaki sauce and scallion. The combination worked surprisingly well, though it wasn’t necessarily our favorite.
Next up was a pair of spicy rolls. The Casanova’s mix of cream cheese, mango, tempura jalapeno, crystal shrimp, lemon, salmon, lemon honey sauce and a dusting of togarashi—a spice blend of seven ingredients—had a lot of flavors competing for attention. Even more demanding, the playboy roll mixed cream cheese, white onion, tempura shrimp, avocado, red snapper, jalapeno, ponzu and habanero sauces into one of the spiciest rolls I’ve tasted—no wasabi needed with this hottie.
Then things took a sweet turn with the Yoyo roll’s blend of crystal shrimp, lemon, mango, crab, seared scallop and teriyaki and mango sauces. Sweeter still was the tundra’s mashup of mango, tempura shrimp, seared salmon, spicy crab, macadamia, honey mustard, balsamic and teriyaki sauces. It was too rich for me, but the ladies loved it.
Rounding out my meal with a favorite hand roll—a nori cone of crystal shrimp, cooked scallop, avocado and wasabi mayo—really hit the spot. Our meal provided something enjoyable for everyone, and the service was exceptional.