Threats of savory sushi

From left, Pisal Pompaladisai and Patcha Pompaladisai share a bite at Rickshaw’s Sushi.

From left, Pisal Pompaladisai and Patcha Pompaladisai share a bite at Rickshaw’s Sushi.

Photo By David Robert

Rickshaw’s Sushi

4944 South Virginia St.
Reno, NV 89502

(775) 828-2335

I hated Rickshaw’s Asian Bistro. That was the less-than-palatable, miscellaneous Asian restaurant that’s now morphed into Rickshaw’s Sushi.

The concept of the old restaurant was, if memory serves me, some nonsense about Irish people making Chinese food. I only ate there once—maybe twice—but had a terrible experience: mediocre food, indifferent service, threats to my life. I was locking up my bicycle to one of the poles connected to the restaurant’s metal awning when some gray-haired, purple-faced jerk who worked there rushed at me, fuming, threatening to call the cops.

“I don’t think so, buddy!” he steamed. “You better get that piece of shit out of here before I come dismantle it myself!”

Imagine my delight at discovering that now, years later and under partially new ownership, Rickshaw’s has transformed into a nice little all-you-can-eat sushi place with, get this, exceptionally friendly service. The interior and the menu have also been given an attitude makeover.

My girlfriend, Sara, and I were dining with our friends who recently moved back to Reno from the Bay Area. Mark was especially excited to be back in the land of all-you-can-eat sushi. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We are lucky to have all these all-you-can-eat sushi joints, being a landlocked city in the high desert and all. I don’t know how the trend got started here, but I don’t think anywhere else in the country does stuff-your-face fish with the same quality we get here in Reno.

The service at Rickshaw’s was great. Our waitress was friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. When Michele asked about vegetarian options, the server directed her toward the vegetable tempura for $8.95. She cracked some good-humored jokes, and when I asked for a large Kirin, she replied that they were all out of the larges, but she’d bring me two regular-sized. Mark, Sara and I opted for the all-you-can-eat sushi for $20.95. It’s not the least expensive in town, but it’s well worth it. We sampled a variety of rolls ranging from dull to very impressive.

Some of the nigiri, like the sake salmon, were a little lackluster, with fish that tasted weirdly dry. And some of the more traditional long rolls, like the crystal shrimp, lacked some of the crystalline perfection of the best simple sushi. But still, some of the more complex and showy rolls were interesting concoctions, like the black sunshine roll (spicy crab, asparagus, eel, avocado and tobiko). The consensus favorite was the macho roll: crystal shrimp, onion, jalapeño, avocado and cream cheese.

Purists will probably balk at a sushi joint where the cream cheese-laden rolls are better than the simple nigiri. It’s definitely worth a try.

Certainly the new Rickshaw’s is a better, much safer alternative to the older version.