“Kon’nichiwa,” or hello in English, was an unexpected welcome to Hana’s Japanese Fusion restaurant. Hana’s specializes in authentic Japanese cuisine.
I went into Hana’s without any expectations. I have only had sushi once before in my life and it was from a convenience store. The restaurant only holds around 50 patrons with every seat being empty when we walked in. My brother and I sat in a booth near the open sushi kitchen where a Shokunin, a Japanese chef, awaited our orders. I looked over a plethora of choices that ranged from soups and teas to different kinds of rice and sushi and assortments of bento boxes. With the suggestion of our waitress, I ordered a teriyaki chicken bento box and my brother got spicy tuna and spicy crab sushi rolls and a clear broth soup.
The atmosphere was unique to any restaurant I have been in. The lighting was dim with traditional style Japanese curtains covering the only windows in the front and then hanging lamps above each booth. Smooth calming piano music played in the background.
Our waitress brought out the clear broth soup and a tiny salad that came with my bento box along with my brother’s clear broth soup he ordered separately. The soup tasted like a strong chicken broth and was actually delightful. The warmth and taste reminded me of a mother’s homemade chicken noodles. The salad was a very basic lettuce salad with a special house sauce; it was my least favorite of the two starters.
Shortly later our waitress brought out the main courses, my bento box came with not only teriyaki chicken but steamed vegetables, gyoza, fried rice and California rolls. I cracked open the chopsticks provided, and after watching a quick two minute tutorial on YouTube on how to use chopsticks, I was good to go. I started with the teriyaki chicken. The chicken pieces were larger than any other teriyaki chicken dishes I have had before. The teriyaki sauce was not as strong as I expected, but it still served a mild punch. The seasoning and the sauce gave the chicken a taste that I enjoyed and goes down in my top five chicken experiences, and this is coming from a kid who only ate chicken nuggets growing up.
The gyoza was similar to a pork dumpling. The fried rice was unexpectedly different from that of traditional fried rice I have found in a Chinese restaurants. The Japanese fried rice had different seasonings and was lighter than a traditional Chinese fried rice. It came with finely cut carrots and pieces of fried egg to help with the flavor and garnish. The taste and texture between the seasonings and the egg were very pleasant.
The sushi rolls were unusual as they had a texture that was different from any American food that I have ever eaten. The spicy tuna and spicy crab rolls were kind of like a mushy taste with a consistency similar to mashed potatoes. They had a bit of a kick, but overall, I did not enjoy the taste. Combined with the mushy texture, the taste and seasonings just did not seem to enlighten my taste buds. However, my brother stated that everything was delicious and it was some of the best sushi he had ever eaten.
The price of everything was relatively cheap for the amount of food I got. The bento box which could realistically feed multiple people only cost $14.50, while steak and fish bento boxes were $15.50. The average price for six rolls is around $5.50; this can cost more depending on how delicate the kind of roll is. The prices all around — especially for the various types of soups and meals they offer — are all very affordable to most high schoolers and it offers quite an experience that most are not used to.