Coral Gables has its fair share of hot sushi spots, but every now and then we discover one of the lesser-known places that seems to surprise us with an innovative and equally impressive menu. That was the case when we ventured to Ikura Sushi Lounge, a tiny spot along Giralda Avenue that can be easily missed if not on the lookout.
On a quiet Tuesday night, we found the small restaurant nestled along a street of other dinning locations. Our first food selection was the Kanikama Crunch Plate ($9), which was the perfect kick-off to our delectable dinner. The crispy dish, which was incredibly refreshing and surprisingly light had kanikama (imitation crab), yuzu tobiko (flying fish roe with citrus), scallions, sesame seeds, spicy mayo, tempura flakes, and honey on top. We highly recommend the Kanikama crunch plate as an appetizer, which we were told is an Ikura favorite. We also had the Salmon Rolls ($13), which bring five pieces of salmon, wrapped with asparagus, Kaiware, cucumber and drizzled with spicy mayo, scallions, Tobiko (flying fish roe) and Ponzu sauce (the rough Japaneese equivalent of vinaigrette). The salmon was very fresh and the uniqueness of the untraditional pairings like asparagus and Kaiware, really made this appetizer an item to remember.
After having appetizers that were so good, the pressure was on for the rolls. We tried one roll of each variety (baked, fruit and riceless) to get a good feel for the selections available. By far our favorite was the Jalapeño Yaita Roll ($14), which was from the baked selection and brought shrimp tempura, cream cheese, scallions, jalapeno, Parmesan cheese and spicy mayo. It had a strong spicy kick (in a very good way) and the roll’s powerful flavors will definitely leave you wanting more. We also tried the Pokor-iko-roll riceless roll ($12), which had shrimp tempura and crab salad, spring mix, avocado, scallions, carrots, wrapped in soybean paper with yuzu ginger sauce. This is a great option for those people interested in a healthier roll sans rice. In fact, there’s a wide variety of riceless rolls that sound very interesting and are all wrapped in soybean paper.
To cap off our roll bonanza, we tried a fruit roll and ventured with the Uramaki Mango ($14), which brought salmon, Ikura shrimp, avocado, cilantro, Tobiko mix, glazed mango and aji amrillo sauce. This is definitely a great option for the lovers of sweet delights. The mango is the main flavor of the roll but the shrimp, cilantro and aji are good companions for an overall good quality roll.
Our last culinary treat was the dessert and as guided by the waiter, we chose the Coquito float ($10). We weren’t sure what to expect, but this was truly one of the highlights. The Coquito float was a rum soaked vanilla cake with an egg-nog like sauce that dripped all over a scoop of vanilla ice cream – mouthwatering good! It’s a spin on the traditional Puerto Rican alcoholic beverage, Coquito. Although it has no resemblance to the other Japanese items on the menu, that’s what we loved about this treat. It’s so good it should be on the menu, and it is. Sometimes the rules are meant to be broken and this was a perfect example.
We should also mention the service was impeccable. We had an awesome waiting staff and the food came quickly and with a courteous smile. If you’re in the mood for some good sushi in an unassuming, laid back restaurant, Ikura is the match for you!
Ikura Sushi Lounge
Address: 143 Giralda Ave. Coral Gables Miami ,Florida 33134
Telephone: (305) 814-5874
Hours of Operation:
Tue – Wed: 12:00pm-3:30pm / 5pm-10pm
Thurs: 12:00pm -3:30pm / 5pm-11pm
Fri: 12:00pm-3:30pm / 5pm-12:00 am
Sat: 5:00pm – 12:00 am
Sun: 5:00pm – 10:00 pm