It was one of those bitterly cold January nights when my wife and I decided to check out Tiger Sushi, the new restaurant in the freshly built Murals of LynLake apartment building at 28th & Lyndale.
It was a weeknight, too, so I wasn’t expecting a crowd. But as we pulled up, we could see through the vast expanse of glass surrounding the place that it was nearly full — a surprise, but no problem since we made reservations.
The restaurant is a sibling of Tiger Sushi in the Mall of America, but this one stands alone and it’s larger than its counterpart. Big, bright and modern, Tiger Sushi at LynLake is decked out with large green and orange panels that hang over a huge sushi bar that dominates the center of the space.
And it’s not your ordinary bar. It can accommodate groups of four or more at peninsula-like tables that do away with the awkward inability to communicate that often comes with more traditional straight-line bar settings.
Warm, seated and hungry, we started the night with an order of Gyoza, or potstickers. The $6.50 appetizer arrived as a plate of five neatly lined Japanese dumplings filled with pork, grilled vegetables and scallions. They were steamed and fried, making them slightly crispy on the outside and tender inside.
When it came time for the main course, we had a variety of options to choose from beyond sushi, including a tempting fish tacos entree, but we opted for a few different rolls. To be clear, we’re not sushi snobs, or even regular sushi diners.
Luckily the wait staff at Tiger Sushi was eager to explain their offerings and make recommendations. We ended up with three specialty rolls (which two people can finish if they’re really hungry) ranging in price from $12.50 to $17.95. More traditional rolls range from $4.50 to $8.50.
Our selections were the Snow Monkey Roll, the Number 10 (Zen) roll and the Crispi Crunchi Tuna & Salmon roll. The Snow Monkey, for starters, was a concoction of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado, spicy garlic mayo and masago (a type of fish) wrapped in rice and super-white tuna.
The Number 10 also pushed the limits of what you can cram in a sushi roll: Shrimp tempura, spicy garlic chile mayo, mango slices, rice, avocado, smoked salmon mango sauce, unagi (eel) sauce and sesame seeds.
Our favorite of the night was the Crispi Crunchi Tuna & Salmon roll, which really should be on a stick at the State Fair. It’s a hot serving of cooked salmon and tuna with spicy mango mayo, sliced fresh mangos, cream cheese, avocado, gobo (a type of root), rice rolled with nori (seaweed) and tempura. The whole thing is battered and deep-fried.
We stepped back into the cold full and satisfied. We’ll be back to try the cocktail lineup, and maybe some tacos.
Tiger Sushi • 2841 Lyndale Ave. S. • 874-1800 • tigersushiusa.com