Following a heads up e-mail from the world famous foodie MSPD, Josh and I headed over to the Ronin Sushi Cafe in Lakeville, MN which is located in the storefront that was previously occupied by Papagayos which closed in April of 2007 and hasn’t been in use since.
I stopped by there at around 12:45 today and found a small sign on the door that said that they will be open this entire weekend including today (the 4th of July) and they will be serving their Thai dinner starting at 5 PM. I called Josh and asked him to bring along his camera and let him know to look over their menu for when we headed back later tonight. While they have their Thai dinner menu available they said that their full sushi bar menu will not be available until August. As of today they don’t yet have beer or wine but they soon will (they said that the beer man doesn’t deliver on the 4th of July).
Their About Us page shows their sushi options which include Omakase (Open Sushi) and they say you that start with $30 and work your way up until you’re full. They have three levels (“rookie” through “hardcore”) which offers you the option of eating sushi and rolls without many raw items up through spending a ton of money (they say, “Beware!”) and eating some hot foods. On that note, their page also lists that their spiciness scale goes from 1. mild to 5. “5 – Insane – Don’t even go there, there’s no going back!”
We headed over there around 4 and walked in to a nearly empty restaurant. According to the owner (who is a first time restaurant owner/chef who has experience working in other family restaurants) they were supposed to open yesterday but due to a family emergency it had to wait until today. There was one other person eating when we arrived and when asked what he thought he said, without pause, “Delicious!” Knowing this was their opening day I thought to myself, “whatever.” The interior hasn’t changed much at all since Papagayos but it looked nicer somehow — I might just not be remembering correctly.
The waitress came over and handed us our menus which Josh remarked, “That’s a way to do it, just print out your website.” While I already checked the menu before we left I decided to do my usual and ask the waitress what her favorite dish was and try that. She immediately recommended their Drunken Noodles which are listed on the menu as “Fresh fun noodles, basil, tomatoes, mushrooms, bell pepper,” and normally whenever I see that I smile and think, “yeah right,” and that’s exactly what I did today. When ordering the waitress asked if I wanted meat or tofu added and I chose chicken and also how hot I wanted it. I asked how hot their hottest was and if it was recentered for Minnesota tastes and she said she’d add fresh Thai peppers to it for me. I asked for extra napkins (nose blowing) and as much water as they had in preparation. Josh couldn’t decide what we wanted at first but after much decision making he decided on their Yellow Curry which has potatoes, onions, and carrots and he also asked that they add chicken to his.
When they brought the dishes out I immediately noticed the large portion size and the gorgeous fresh vegetables that added a ton of color to the dish. We were notified that if it wasn’t hot enough they would gladly cut up some more fresh Thai peppers for us. Josh had received his first and had already taken a few bites and determined that it was not hot enough. After a few bites of mine I also came to the same conclusion. I asked the waitress and after quite some time they arrived at our table with two more small bowls filled with freshly cut Thai peppers and also a bright orange habanero. Both Josh and I dumped a good bit of the peppers on our plates and the waitress and owner said, “Oh! You like it as spicy as we do!” Yup, sure do. The habaneros did the fucking trick and minutes later our mouths were on fire and the napkins were being used to clear our noses (I dumped them in the bathroom trash so the poor waitress wouldn’t have to clean up our snot).
The vegetables were quite fresh and the chicken was plentiful. My dish was fantastic and even though I enjoyed what I had eaten at Spice Thai in Savage, this absolutely wrecked that. I may have found my newest favorite South Metro restaurant! Josh’s also improved with the additional peppers and the cocunutty sweetness of the curry dropped the spice down to tolerable thresholds. Another impressive dish although one I wouldn’t order myself because I’m already watering at the mouth for another plate of those noodles. YUM FUCKING O! Seriously.
After dinner they brought us two dessert sticks with our bill (which came to $23.38 before tip) and soon after that they dropped an excellent sticky rice treat that had some sort of bean paste inside and were made with some fruit that I have never heard of before. The taste was similar to green apple candy and one that I would definitely order in the future. Please forgive the photos, we dug in before I remembered to snap some.
I absolutely, positively, and unconditionally recommend Ronin Sushi Cafe in Lakeville and am already excited to go back and try their sushi. If their Thai dishes are this good I can only imagine how tasty that will be. According to their website they are planning sushi training sessions and also visits from other local sushi chefs. Sounds pretty good to me…
If you head over to Ronin let us know what you think below!
Ronin Cafe and Sushi Bar
7704 160th St
Lakeville, MN 55044
See all the pictures from Ronin Sushi Cafe in Lakeville, MN on Flickr here (camera).