With two locations and guests who typically range in age from 8 to 80, this Japanese bistro has set the precedent for being the perfect family dining destination for both casual and formal occasions. “Making our guests feel important is always our top priority,” says Harry Yu, owner of Mikasa Japanese Bistro. “If it is their first time to the restaurant, we want to know exactly what they like – whether it be beef, chicken or seafood – to match their taste. “We always suggest families order together as a group to get the ultimate experience.”
It is an experience that has expanded in the past year as the original Mikasa Japanese Bistro in Lathrop was joined by a second location that opened in March of 2013 in Tracy. “We have had a lot of customers from the Lathrop location that have followed us to the new location in Tracy,” notes Yu. “Some customers try something new and others stick to their favorites. Either way, they enjoy the same quality experience, just at a new location.”
The highlight of both Mikasa restaurants has to be the wide variety of sushi rolls, which always showcase the freshest fish that is delivered daily. “When people look at a sushi restaurant, they should see how busy the restaurant is to judge the freshness of the fish,” he explains. “We offer both half-cooked and fully cooked sushi rolls for all tastes. We also have spicy and non-spicy rolls, so guests receive exactly what they like.” The variety of sushi offered at Mikasa will leave even the most experienced sushi lover in awe. Their Nigri sushi selection includes salmon, tuna, scallops, eel, prawn, snapper, squid and macro. Hand roll options feature spicy tuna, spicy salmon and spicy scallop. Over 50 different sushi rolls are offered–many with popular cultural and geographical references including the 49ers Roll, Alaska Roll, and a Philly roll. Frequent diners have also taken a fancy to the SJMag Roll, a specialty roll of spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, sashimi and deep fried asparagus. To add flavor to the rolls, many different ingredients are used like mango sauce, avocado, seaweed salad and green onion. “We like answering questions about all of our sushi options,” says Yu. “We can even create a custom roll that mixes the fish and a certain sauce. That is why people love coming back, because they know their appetite will be satisfied.”
Those who want an entrée outside of sushi have plenty to choose from. The ginger beef tenderloin, chicken teriyaki and barbecue beef ribs are all popular non-fish entrées. Traditional noodle entrées are also popular, from chicken and pork wheat noodles to a seafood selection that features salmon, calamari, prawns, fish balls, green muscles and vegetables in a broth. Often guests of Mikasa select several appetizers in lieu of entrées because of the selection of salads, cold and hot dishes.
The Ika Sansai salad has marinated calamari and vegetables, and the related Ika Wakame is made with seasoned and marinated calamari. Popular cold dish appetizers are the Poki Tuna, Spicy Garlic Albacore Tataki, and the Hawaiian Pokey Tuna. Hot dishes include Grilled Eggplant, Grilled Squid, Deep-Fried Chicken Wings and a Shrimp Spring Roll. “We offer a variety of dishes so that when two or three generations of a family come in everyone can find something they like on our menu,” he adds. “We have great dishes that people can recognize, and that is one of the reasons we are so popular.” Their Tuna Ceviche is an example of this, based off the popular Mexican shrimp ceviche dish, using wonton chips instead of corn chips. Tabasco sauce is blended with ahi tuna, along with sea salt, avocado, cucumber and cilantro. “Guests often order it as a meal because it is not too heavy and is light and fresh,” Yu says.
To complete the dining experience, Mikasa Japanese Bistro offers a simple, yet satisfying dessert menu that includes green tea and flavored ice cream. There are traditional flavors of strawberry and vanilla, along with mango. They also offer a fried ice cream with chocolate sauce and sugar powder. “Our dessert menu isn’t too sweet it is just the right amount of sweetness for all guests, no matter what their age is,” he concludes. “We always encourage people to step out of their comfort zone and try something new. You never know, it could become your favorite dish.”
TASTE FOR YOURSELF:
MIKASA JAPANESE BISTRO
15138 Harlan Rd, Lathrop
2610 S. Tracy Blvd, Suite #110, Tracy