This is a popular restaurant, and for good reason. The food is delicious! Every time I've walked by or been inside, it's been full, or nearly so. A lot of coming and going, diners all. A lot of menu choices. The atmosphere is pleasing, open; bright, but not blinding. The staff is pleasant and professional, though not stuffy. The sushi is very, very good -- and I rarely say that about sushi. I was in there with my friend Kelly once and she ordered sushi that had cooked shrimp. She said the best way to eat sushi is to eat it all at once, not to take bites of it -- which was exactly what I had been doing. Maybe that's why I never came over to the sushi side of things. So I tried her suggestion. Ate the whole thing. All at once. Wow, what a big mouthful that makes. It was difficult to try not to look like you just swallowed an entire sushi. A rather challenging undertaking, because you just want to go munch, munch, as if you were home alone eating where no one could watch. Ergh. There go my cheeks bulging out, oh dear. But hey -- it made a huge difference! The taste experience was miles apart. Really good. (Duh. I'm still learning how to eat Japanese food.) Aside from all the technique, it really was outstanding. The ingredients were fresh, altogether tasty, leaving you wanting more.
When Steve & I stopped in to get a quick bite before a movie, we both had ordered miso soup, which came to us with plenty of seaweed and a creamy-colored broth that I hadn't seen before. Most Japanese restaurants have a fairly standard miso soup recipe, looking and tasting very similar everywhere. This was wonderful, and we drank it all. I especially liked the big pieces of seaweed because I love seaweed anyway.
Steve ordered some potstickers. They appeared to be deep fried rather than the way the Chinese cook them, which is to steam or poach them. The ones here weren't slimy-sticky like the Chinese potsticker dumplings, but lightly breaded and then fried. He loved them. I had spring rolls, three to an order, with vegetables inside, and fried with an outer coating that was nice and crunchy, a harbinger of the movie popcorn that was to come. The rolls were approx the circumference of nickels, and approx 1 and 1/2 index fingers long. This was all very filling, which we weren't expecting. After all, we were only ordering from the Appetizers menu. But everything was so good. That's why we ate it all. And even the most humble of orders -- a bowl of miso soup -- is very tasty.
We barely had room for that popcorn. Oh, and of course what also contributes to Sansei Restaurant's popularity is that it's almost kitty-corner from Cinema 21.