The sign for Springfield’s newest sushi spot, Niji Sushi Bar & Grill (3938 S. Lone Pine Ave., Suite 100-B, Springfield, 417-851-1707) had been up on Lone Pine Avenue just south of Sequiota Park for months before the restaurant opened its doors. And because I drive by that part of Lone Pine regularly, I had been curious for way too long—anxiously waiting for it to open up so my husband, Eli, and I could indulge in a sushi date.
When it was finally time to try it, we only briefly breezed through the dining room on our way to the outdoor seating. What we saw were bright white walls, shiny silver details, sparkly light fixtures and cobalt blue pops of décor. On the patio, we enjoyed the cross breeze and the gurgling from the fountain, and we appreciated the umbrella shade and potted plants that helped us to forget we were dining on hot concrete in the heat of late summer. It was a pleasant patio vibe, and I think I’d choose it on future visits, too.
As we always do when we go out for sushi, Eli and I over-ordered. We can never narrow down our choices! We started with shrimp tempura, which was nicely fried for a crispy, airy coating that was so satisfying to crunch into. I ordered a cocktail before our sushi came, too. Curiosity got the best of me, and I opted for the unusual Niji Cherry Blossom Tini, which comes to the table bright pink and topped with a bubble of vapor formed from liquid nitrogen that you pop to create a cauldron-like effect. The drink was too sweet for my taste—but I’ll tough it out for a clever gimmick any day.