Friday, February 28, 2014

LOCAL REVIEW: Soon's Sushi Cafe of Kenosha

Alright, everyone, listen up! Kenosha is a tough place to live in. Not only do we have to endure 11 months of winter, but we also have a stunning lack of foreign restaurants. Sure, greasy burgers and 24/7 breakfasts are great and all, because- as the Japanese puts it -us Americans, "...basically like sweet, high fat, high calorie things."
This is true.
But, but, buuuuut... As a Kenoshan- or as a Wisconsinite, even - you have to wonder what the alternative to sweet, high fat, high calorie things is. I suppose the Japanese would know, huh? I guess the only sensible thing would be to go out and try their food. Like sushi! But for many Wisconsinites, this may prove to be a challenge, as- like I said -foreign restaurants are far and few between in our lowly Midwestern state. Most towns in Wisconsin would never have a sushi restaurant, let alone know what sushi is. But thankfully, Kenosha is, like, the fifth biggest city in Wisconsin, so we have one golden sushi joint. One. Technically, there is another sushi restaurant in Pleasant Prairie, a village located in Kenosha County, but I'm focusing on the city of Kenosha alone. 
So, yeah! We have ONE Japanese restaurant. And it's not even really Japanese. It's Korean. But, whatev! That just makes the place all the more unique! What's the name of this place, you may ask? Well, it's Soon's Sushi Cafe- a teeny tiny building tucked away in a really shady party of town. But, hey, I got my pepper spray and have my phone ready to type 911 into any second, so let's go!

Soon's is a cute and cozy little cafe most of the time- there's plenty of Asian decor, like kimonos, paper lanterns, scrolls, fans, and what-have-you. There's about fifteen tables and more seating at a small sushi bar, where you can watch the chefs make your sushi by hand. There's always music playing and a television running- but tell me why there isn't K-Pop blasting on the radio or Fullmetal Alchemist playing out on the TV screen? That would boost up the foreign theme that much more! ...Of course, I'm not sure how many people would actually go for that... Forget I said anything!
Soon's, being the sushi cafe that it is, serves up plenty of sushi rolls, nigiri, and sashimi, which are all listed here. There are spicy rolls, cream cheese rolls, tempura rolls, vegetable rolls- a lot of rolls. And they have pretty much every fish under the sun- even weird stuff like octopus, squid, and eel. Raw fish for all! But Soon's can make way more than just rolls. Sushi rolls are just the cold stuff. There is also hot stuff from the kitchen like teriyaki dishes, yaki udon, yaki soba, hibachi, chapchie, fried rice, and bibimbap. You heard me: BIBIMBAP. Overall, I'd say that Soon's offers up plenty of unique and exciting dishes. I don't care who you are, there is going to be at LEAST one dish on the menu you have never tried yet. Unless you're the guy who we met while dining that actually DID try every dish on the menu. Not all at once, of course, but still... Yowsers!

So, one thing I have GOT to say about Soon's right away... Usually, it's fairly calm, business wise. Most of the time, you can get in without any waiting or anything. There are tables to spare! But never, never, neeeeever come to Soon's at seven o' clock on a Saturday night. We had to wait THIRTY MINUTES to get seated. And the hippy chicks who arrived after us got to get seated before US! Note to self: Do NOT let hippy chicks stand in front of you when you want to get a table. Rather, don't let ANYONE stand in front of you. Or maybe Soon's just could've been more conscious of who came into the restaurant first. And you might say, "Oh, Ri, it's just because the hippy chicks had less people in their party than yours did." And to that, I say NAY! Kinda. I mean, there were three of them, and they got seated at a table of four. Our party was made up of four, so you can't say there wasn't enough seating for us at the table that opened up first. Keep a watch on that, Soon's. Maybe keep a guest book or something?

So, after we were finally finally seated, it probably took at least another thirty minutes before our table received our tea. And by the way, it was cold. Not as much cold as lukewarm, but still! Our waitress could've at least gotten our drinks right away as soon as we ordered them and then waited other tables. Drinks aren't that hard to do! 
Thankfully, our miso soup wasn't as cold as our tea. Oh, by the way! You get a soup or salad free with an order over $15.00. It used to be both soup and salad were free though... What happened? Oh well... If anything, I would suggest ordering the miso soup over the salad. It's delicious. 
But anyway, yeah... The miso soup was nice and hot, and very flavorful. The flat, wide pieces of seaweed added a slight crunch to the mix, and there was plenty of tofu in just that little bowl. I always thought miso soup would taste really weird when I was young, but it's fantastic. You should SO try it!
Our table also ordered edamame- little soybean pods sprinkled with salt that are totally great, and totally healthy. The skins are very tough, so you pull the pod through your teeth as the beans squeeze out one-by-one. Fun appetizer option for beginners to the sushi scene. One serving of edamame at Soon's fed three of us, so I would suggest ordering more for more people, of course.

And after what seemed like forever, our sushi came at long last! Oh, I was starving by that time, but I was able to hold myself together to snap a few photos. I order the Octopus Roll and the Green River Roll (most front and most back, respectively); my mother ordered the Rainbow Roll and the Spicy Tuna Rolls (second row, to the left and the two rolls covered with yellow flakes on top, respectively); and my brother and his friend ordered two California Rolls each (the rolls that are left).
The Octopus Roll and Green River Roll were two newbies for me- never had them before. I really wanted to order something with eel, but also something with octopus. Turns out the best way to get my eel fix was to order the Green River Roll, which is only $6.50- nearly half the cost of the Caterpillar Roll, which is also made with eel. I have to say, the Green River Roll was fantastic: it was totally flavorful, probably because it was drizzled with a very sweet sauce reminiscent of teriyaki sauce (which I LOVE) and covered with green tea powder on the outside. Also, the eel was soft and sweet! Must have been marinated in that delish sauce. Also, the serving size for the Green River Roll is great! Just as big as more expensive rolls. Certainly a must-try.
Oh yes, the other rolls were very enjoyable as well (the Green River Roll was just the breakout star, that's all). I think I liked the Spicy Tuna my mom had ordered second-most: the tuna-spicy mayo mix on the inside was surprisingly smooth, and its flavor was very pronounced, and just spicy enough without becoming overpowering. The tempura flakes on top also added a flaky, light crunch. Super enjoyable! I also like Soon's Spicy Crab, on a somewhat unrelated note...
The Octopus Roll I ordered tasted very fresh- it wasn't as flavorful as the aforementioned rolls, but the fresh seafood and avacado were very enjoyable and obviously of a high quality. Plus, octopus is chewy, so yay! 
The Rainbow Roll is always a classic- like the Octopus Roll. the top is covered with fresh fish, but of all kinds. Salmon, tuna, shrimp... other stuff. I dunno. Oh, P.S: Please don't be worried to try raw fish! Sushi chefs are trained in curing it so that all the bacteria and diseases come out! Or something like that. Uh. Hm. What do they do...? Erm... Trust me, it's safe.
And as for the California Roll... Well, I didn't have any this time, but it's a great roll for beginners. It's made with crab, avocado, and cucumber- and crab always has to be cooked, so it's safe for raw-fish fearfuls. 

Overall, Soon's has fantastic food, especially the sushi. I can't say I've had everything on the menu, but other than sushi, I have also had the Teriyaki Shrimp and Teriyaki Chicken- both of which are awesome! All the soups and salads are great, and the tea is usually hot. Great food, all around.
As for service, Soon's is usually quiet, so it's not a big problem most of the time, but when it gets busy, like how it was for our party when I came to review, things were very hectic. It took FOREVER for us to be seated, and even longer for our food to arrive. I think the matter is that Soon's need more waitresses. At least on busy days. That way cold tea can be avoided and people can be served faster, meaning they might possibly leave faster, meaning faster service for all. Or that's my thought, anyway. But I suppose one good thing about the service are the owners, Soon herself and her husband. They are both just so friendly and personable. They come up and ask about your meal and everything- so nice! Of course, they didn't really have time to stop and talk that Saturday, but maybe if more waitresses were around...
As for prices, I don't know if you know, but sushi is pricey. But that's understandable. A lot of work goes into preparing sushi so that it is safe to eat. There are plenty of other dishes you can order for a reasonable price that will fill you up.
To conclude, Soon's is not a place to be missed. It's THE BEST place to get sushi around the Kenosha area. Even if you do not like seafood or sushi, they have plenty of exotic and delicious meat, chicken, and vegetarian dishes. It's a must-try for those living in Kenosha or nearby it! And don't feel like eating at the restaurant? They also do take-out!
I'd give Soon's Sushi Cafe's Food a 9/10.
I'd give Soon's Sushi Cafe's Service a 7/10.

Till' then, this has been RiRi ri-porting!

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