Lunch at Li-Ao Sushi

C and I decided to go for sushi last week since it is one of our favorite foods.  I wanted to try some place new and suggested Li-Ao sushi even though it is pretty much on the opposite end of town, but if I don’t deliberately make a trip to here I will never be in the area! So while our significant others thought we were crazy, we braved ourselves and made it all the way here.  The things that foodies will do for food…! As soon as we sat down, we found out the restaurant was Chinese owned but that’s ok, we weren’t expecting authentic Japanese food.

Here’s what we tried today:

Li-Ao - Tuna Gyoza

Deep Fried Tuna Pork GyozasComplimentary

These were packed with ground pork and cooked tuna – then deep fried to a crisp.  Drizzled with spicy mayo sauce and maybe C can chime in, but I couldn’t tell what the green sauce was.  It was sweet and refreshing.  It might’ve been something of an avocado puree.  They were a good starter, and I love it when restaurants do an amuse bouche.

Li-Ao - Shrimp Tempura

Shrimp Tempura (4 pcs) – $4.95

We decided to split a hot food item to share and chose this.  Fresh, piping hot with sweet, crunchy shrimp, but I thought the batter could’ve been crispier.  The good thing is they were quite light and not greasy.

Li-Ao - Sushi and Sashimi Combo (2)

Sushi and Sashimi Combo (18 pcs) – $16.95

We were quite shocked when this was set before us b/c we weren’t expecting the portions to be so massive! The combo consists of 5 pcs of nigiri (L-R: salmon, tuna, smoke salmon, red snapper and cooked prawn), 8 pcs of California roll and 5 pcs of sashimi (2 salmon, 2 tuna and 1 scallop).  The California Roll was one of the better ones I’ve had – the imitation crab mixture was very creamy yet it wasn’t laden with mayo.  The nigiri were just huge and the piece of fish was cut quite thick. Each piece of nigiri was a 2-3 biter.  And then look at the sashimi…

Li-Ao - Sushi and Sashimi Combo (3)

Look how thick they are! While I am happy with the generous portions, I didn’t feel like I was eating sashimi – I felt like I was eating a chunk of raw fish.  Each chunk is 3-4 slices elsewhere! However, the sashimi was quite fresh and had a sweet taste to it.  The scallop had no fishy taste to it and the tuna was not mushy.  My favorite of the bunch was definitely the sweet salmon.

We were so stuffed with all this food and had trouble finishing everything.  Too bad b/c I had wanted to try their specialty rolls too!

Service was really good and attentive, and this restaurant has got to be the lowest in price, yet serving the biggest portion of sushi in the City (that’s also great tasting).  I am so sad that I live so far away from here b/c I will not often drive across town to an unfamiliar neighborhood to eat.  Yes, even if it was my favorite food.  However, I will come back again.  I must.  Soon.  Their business hours are quite long so perhaps I can come here after doing my grocery shopping at Kingsland Farmers Market, that is, if I haven’t already stuffed my face at Big Catch :)

Li-Ao Sushi on Urbanspoon

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