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Local sushi outfit celebrates silver anniversary

Mikuni commemorates 25 years in business with several promotions
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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A local sushi empire commemorates its 25th anniversary this month.

To help Mikuni celebrate the milestone, a friend and I decided to drop by for a weekday lunchtime visit to Mikuni Kaizen in The Fountains at Roseville. This venue is one of seven Mikuni locations in the greater Sacramento region, with another one in Truckee, Nev.

This was my first visit to Kaizen. Our hostess called out a Japanese greeting upon our arrival and we were seated in a comfy booth underneath a large painting of Albert Einstein making sushi.

The restaurant's interior is sophisticated and modern, with an open feel and exposed ceiling - and a completely unpretentious vibe. Mikuni's service was so speedy that one would never guess almost every seat was filled on this particular afternoon.

I selected the Yasai roll combo off the lunch menu for a reasonable $9. The dish included an avocado and cucumber roll with sesame seeds, and a veggie tempura roll with asparagus inside and a sliver of fresh avocado mounted on top.

I ordered a bowl of $1 Miso soup - and this wasn't just any Miso soup. This was the best I've tasted, with an abundance of green onions and pieces of tofu. The sushi rolls were delicious and just the right bite size.

"Is it tasting amazing?" asked our charming waiter, to which we eagerly nodded our heads.

My friend chose the bento box - for $9.50 - with the Avokyu Roll, which is an avocado and cucumber roll, and the California Roll. Yes, I know, of all the sushi choices available, we managed to select simple options. After all, Mikuni's extensive menu features more than 300 original creations.

In January, Mikuni premiered 25 Sushi Roll - panko shrimp, crab salad and albacore tuna, topped with a special sauce, then torched and garnished with unagi sauce and crunchy tempura bits. This special dish is part of the Mikuni Restaurant Group's promotions to celebrate their anniversary.

"We are so incredibly grateful to our guests for giving us the opportunity to serve them over the years," said CEO Haru Sakata, in a news release. "We want to be able to celebrate with everyone who helped us get here, and we hope these promotions and prizes will show our loyal patrons how much we appreciate them."

The Arai family opened the first Mikuni restaurant in Fair Oaks in 1987. The husband-and-wife team prepared food, while their children - Kotaro, Naomichi and Keiko - worked as a greeter, busser and server. In 1999, the family opened a location in Roseville.

More restaurants followed: A sushi bar in midtown Sacramento, Taro's in Market Square at Arden Fair, Mikuni Elk Grove, Mikuni Northstar in Truckee and a second location in Roseville.

But Mikuni isn't all about food. The company's charitable foundation has donated more than $1 million dollars in cash, gift cards and in-kind contributions to schools, churches and civic organizations throughout the Sacramento region.

Back to my recent lunch. I finished eating quickly, prompting our waiter - did I mention he was charming? - to ask if I needed anything else.

"Are you satisfied?" he asked, smiling. "Want another roll?"

My friend ate slower - we agreed his ineptitude with chopsticks may have been to blame. As you probably guessed, he's not a regular sushi eater. He describes himself as "not opposed to sushi. "So I was surprised when he said, "I liked it. I'd come back." That's a glowing recommendation in his book.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com.

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Mikuni's Roseville locations

Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Dinner 4-9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 4-9 p.m. Sunday.

Where: 1565 Eureka Road and 1017 Galleria Blvd. Suite 160 in Roseville

Info: (916) 797-2112 for Eureka location or (916) 780-2119 for Galleria location. Visit www.mikunisushi.com.

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Mikuni Japanese Street Festival

When: 5-8 p.m. Thursday, May 17

Where: Main stage at The Fountains, Roseville Parkway and Galleria Boulevard in Roseville

Info: Free