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West Valley City • Mizu Japanese Cuisine couldn't be further away from Japan at its strip mall location on 5600 West.
Yet, with a warm bottle of sake (small $5, large $8) presented in distinctive sets displaying red and white flowers and a menu covering many facets of Japanese cuisine, a sense of place begins to take form.
The menu covers a vast array of Japanese cuisine from tempura and udon to bentos and sushi. An extensive collection of familiar sushi rolls and more inventive choices consumes several pages of the menu. Of the six specialty rolls ordered over the course of several visits, a common theme was overly thin slices of sashimi (tuna, salmon or yellowtail) topping many although the rolls were made well enough to hold up to novice chopstick users.
And with price tags in the $11-$14 range per roll, Mizu sushi is relatively expensive without the buy-one-get-one-50 percent-off special we encountered each meal.
Several savory choices included the Batman roll ($13) featuring slices of salmon rolled in pepper seasoning, made hotter by the accompanying spicy tuna and wasabi sauce, and the filling sashimi roll ($13) a soy paper roll holding firm chunks of tuna, salmon and yellowtail wrapped up with seaweed salad. The Ocean World roll ($7.55) highlighted two kinds of tuna, avocado and salmon topped with eel sauce and a thick, sweet yum yum sauce.
For those who enjoy fruit with their sushi, the Perfect Match roll ($13) was just that marrying spicy tuna and salmon with ripe mango slices.
Less successful was the Executive roll ($6.75), which tasted of stale tempura shrimp and had too-thin slices of tuna on top dotted with too little tobiko for flavor or texture.
Weekday lunch sushi specials include a selection of basic rolls like the California ($3.75), Philadelphia ($6) or salmon skin ($4) and several more for $8.50 for two choices or $11.50 for three rolls. Chef's choice sashimi can be had for $11.95 or $13.95.
While Mizu isn't the place I would send diners who are looking to exclusively eat sushi, the sheer number of rolls on the menu means that large work groups or families could satisfy a variety of tastes here.
But I would encourage all guests to venture into the heartier offerings on the menu such as the kitchen specials, teriyaki and tempura entrées for the tastiest selections.
Try the yaki udon noodle dish ($13.95) for toothsome udon noodles stir fried with vegetables and chicken, all tossed in a soy-based sauce. The portion size was generous and I came away with leftovers for lunch the next day after consuming the nondescript bowl of miso soup and iceberg lettuce salad served at the beginning of the meal.
By far the best value at Mizu are the dinner boxes. At $16.95, the beef teriyaki box came loaded with velvety slices of beef served medium rare with a deft coating of teriyaki in addition to steamed gyoza ($4.95 à la carte), six slices of California roll and tempura including two plump and crisp shrimp. Rice, salad and miso also accompany the tray.
Service at Mizu is accommodating although sometimes on the slow side, as one server manages the entire front-of-house operation.
With limited non-chain restaurants in the area, Mizu delivers a dining experience filled with familiar Japanese cuisine that will satisfy most guests.
Heather L. King also writes for http://www.slclunches.com and can be found on social media @slclunches
Mizu Japanese Cuisine
Food • HH
Mood • HH
Service • HH
Noise • b
Look to the kitchen specials and teriyaki boxes at Mizu for standout Japanese staples in West Valley City.
Location • 2843 S. 5600 West #140, West Valley City; 801-969-3389
Online • mizuutah.com
Hours • Open Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 11 p.m.; and Saturday, noon to 11 p.m.; closed Sunday.
Children's menu • Yes
Prices • $-$$
Liquor • Beer and wine
Reservations • No
Takeout • Yes
Wheelchair access • Yes
Outdoor dining • Yes
On-site parking • Yes
Credit cards • All