A sushi joint just opened its doors in Travelers Rest, and it’s a welcomed addition to the area’s growing food scene. On the tail of Cafe at Williams Hardware, Tandem Creperie and Coffehouse, Swamp Rabbit Brewery, Whistle Stop Cafe and Sidewall Pizza, it’s one more notch in the cool belt of my hometown, and another draw for the crowds of people who are taking advantage of the Swamp Rabbit Trail connecting Travelers Rest to downtown Greenville.
We arrived at Sushiyama as the doors opened for lunch today. I immediately threw our server for a loop by asking her to have the chef make up something special sans gluten or squid. She pointed me to the wide selection of sushi rolls on the menu, but the more complicated rolls mostly contained fried this or crunch that, thus my request for something off-menu. I’m not usually an off-menu orderer, but thought I’d give the Sushi Chef an opportunity to show out a little. To start, I ordered a salad with Ginger dressing and my lunch date, Carolina Epicurean, ordered a Miso Soup with onion, Japanese Pumpkin and salmon.
Glancing around the room, I liked the gray and black color palate with pops of gold. The decor was simple and clean. The music, at that moment, was a popular reggae tune but then led into top 40 from the last decade or so. There was a television in the corner displaying local news and then the daily soap opera. Neither were obstructive or obtrusive, instead comfortable and sort of welcoming.
Our first course was very good. The soup was surprisingly tasty and the iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber was a great mechanism to get the delicious and refreshing Ginger Dressing into my face. I joked about drinking it and was prompting, and sarcastically, pointed to my straw by my lunch pal.
The sushi was nothing over the top, really. Two rolls with a selection of tuna, white fish and salmon. The first roll of white fish, tuna, avocado and cucumber was wrapped in cabbage instead of seaweed. This was a new one for me, but was a seamless texture for a sushi roll. It was topped with salmon and caviar. Nothing particularly stood out about the roll, but the fish was fresh and firm. Two thumbs up for the fresh fish. Nothing worse than a mushy sushi roll!
The second roll also contained tuna and white fish and salmon, but this time also contained spicy mayo and sesame seeds and was wrapped in the traditional seaweed wrapper and topped with assorted fish and tobiko (flying fish eggs). Again, nothing spectacular about the roll. It was simple and fresh with nice clean presentation.
For dessert we were offered assorted ice creams or a fried cheesecake. I was disappointed to hear that the ice creams and cheesecake were not made in-house. We settled on the fried cheesecake for the shock factor. It was interesting, but didn’t blow me away.
The table behind us filled with firemen half way through service. They ordered a Bento box (think Japanese lunch box) and, what appeared to be, assorted Hibachi dishes. One was broccoli and chicken. It looked delicious and will probably the next thing I order when I go back.
The sushi today Sushiyama didn’t overly dazzle, but I will be back again when I will throw my gluten allergy painfully to the wind and explore a bit more of their menu.
I think they have done a good job of appealing to the wide range of taste in Travelers Rest with their expansive menu. The Ramen, Hibachi and Teriyaki selections are safe bets for people who are a little squeamish when it comes to raw fish, and the long list of specialty rolls will woo sushi lovers. I was disappointed that cocktails have yet to hit the menu offerings. Wine, beer and Saki are available now, and they plan to get their liquor licence in the future. They don’t have a Facebook page or Website yet, but they are in the works.
A note to people new to sushi: Not all sushi is raw! If you want to start with a beginner roll, ask for a vegetable roll or the California Roll. Sushiyama is a great place to start exploring!
It’s exciting to see the food scene continue to grow and develop in Northern Greenville County. We’re thankful to now add sushi to the list of dining options.