I am no fan of Yelp. I hate the negativity of the bad, sloppy reviewers that you have to read through to get to good, insightful reviews.
Yet Yelpers do seem to get the Top 100 list right. Recently the 2015 Top 100 Restaurants reviewed on Yelp came out. (I like to make clear that this is a list compiled from Yelp data. Just like I wish people would realize that the Top 100 list on OpenTable is only of OpenTable restaurants and not ALL restaurants.) Anyway, the point is that two Sacramento area restaurants made this year's list and one was Ninja Sushi and Teriyaki in Roseville.
Disclaimer: Ninja reached out to me asking me to come by and check them out. I told them that I would have to come unannounced in order to do an honest review. They did send me a gift certificate to pay for my meal. But that in no way is what is influencing this review since I truly do see the reason they have such great reviews on their own.
Ninja is located just off of Highway 65 at Pleasant Grove Boulevard on the west side of the freeway. The complex has a lot of restaurants, including the new Chando's Tacos Roseville and the Brazil churrascaria restaurant, Flame and Fire. I went with a friend on a Sunday night to find that every table was occupied and there was a wait.
We were finally seated and handed a lengthy menu. Ninja serves not just sushi, but also a lot of entrees including teriyaki, noodles, and tempura. The sushi roll list was quite long and made it difficult to decide. While we were thinking about it we were brought bowls of miso soup.
First you need to understand that the major reason I don't really review sushi restaurants on this blog is because I've only been eating sushi for the last 10 years. It was when I tried a roll and liked the interaction of flavors and textures in rolls that I started to eat sushi and eventually was able to move on to sashimi. So basically, I'm no sushi expert.
The light bulb moment for me was upon the arrival of our appetizer plate of Pepperfin. I often eat at Kru, the best Japanese/sushi restaurant in Sacramento, and recognize them as having absolutely the best quality. Here comes Ninja's plate of pepperfin and I was blown away. The tuna just melted in my mouth and tasted so fresh! I would have to say it was the best plate of pepperfin I've ever had.
For our main order my friend ordered some hamachi nigiri and the quality of the fish matched that of the pepperfin. We also ordered a couple of rolls. I got the Roseville Roll (Tempura shrimp, crab salad, grilled asparagus, apple, avocado, salmon, spicy cream sauce, and green onions). Both rolls were large and good except for one criticism from my friend - the sushi rice was too sweet. We both agreed they could take down the sugar that is added to the sushi rice a bit.
We were nicely surprised that we had a bowl of deep fried ice cream at the end. We had seen another table eat it earlier and hadn't realized dessert was included. It had whipped cream, strawberries, and a few Pocky sticks for garnish. A nice ending.
As I said, I can see why Ninja has gotten such great reviews and why there is a wait for seats. I'm sure Roseville area folk are just thrilled to have them in the area and thus the happy reviews.