Perhaps one of the most anticipated restaurant openings this year, Ariake Sushi & Robata had a lot of expectations to live up to before it even opened its doors. That’s partly due to who the owners are. John Jung and Young Jun also own Haruno, Kai and Karai, three Springfield restaurants with excellent reputations. Now that I’ve had a chance to try Ariake, I have to say: It didn’t disappoint!
With Ariake’s gorgeous modern interior, fun sake menu and spot-on service, it was more than just the food that my husband, Eli, and I loved when we visited for dinner. But for this review, let’s focus on that food. We tackled the menu of (very) small plates by ordering a bunch of items that excited us and shared them all for a true tasting experience.
Hands down, my favorite dish was the white usuzukuri, a raw flounder dish from the cold tasting menu. Each piece of flounder was rolled into a perfect bite, which included a thin slice of pear, candied quinoa, lava salt, yuzu and chili oil. In my mouth, it was simultaneously delicately tender and explosively flavorful. It tasted bright, refreshing and, best of all, surprising. When I say this dish made me feel pure, unadulterated joy, I’m not exaggerating. I did a little happy wiggle with every bite. I even saved the last piece to eat at the very end of our meal.