WHY IT'S NOTEWORTHY
For a long time, Little Tokyo was the only sushi bar in Mandeville (or Covington, too, for that matter). Having a lock on the market didn't prevent it from becoming one of the best places for sushi and Japanese basics in the entire metro area. Now, even with much more competition, Little Tokyo remains very busy, for the best of reasons: it's still excellent.
WHY IT'S GOOD
The sushi chefs here are not only skillful--they're fun. The regulars joke around with them a lot, and newcomers are included in the chumminess. Meanwhile, the chefs cut sushi from a bigger selection of fish than seems possible in such a small restaurant. The proportions, temperature, moisture content, and everything else is just about perfect. Even the more involved rolls--which in most sushi places are more for effect than flavor--are delicious.
This is a franchise of the Little Tokyo in Metairie, opened in 1997. It began with the style and standards of the original place, but over the years has added to it, so that it's now may be the best of the restaurants under the Little Tokyo banner.
The sushi bar and dining room are crammed into a converted residential cottage. It doesn't look at all like a sushi bar, inside or out. At standard dining times, it's always a full house, and the brisk take-out business makes the area around the front door sometimes logjammed. The restaurant is a little hard to find. The best instruction is that it's about two blocks behind the K-Mart on the old US 190, at the only traffic signal along that road.
Lettuce wrap (for two; shrimp, mushrooms and vegetables)
Baked mussels with creamy smelt roe sauce
Seafood and vegetable tempura
Yaki tori (broiled, skewered chicken teriyaki)
Hamachi kama (broiled yellowtail)
Cucumber with seafood salad
Scallop or snowcrab with avocado
Angel roll (spicy tuna and snow crab inside, escolar, avocado, wasabi tobiko outside)
Baked salmon roll
Boston hand roll (shrimp, snow crab, avocado, seaweed paper, no rice)
Box sushi (salmon, yellowtail, tuna, and/or eel)
Burning man roll (spicy tuna inside, pepper tuna, avocado, green onion, hot sauce outside)
Cajun pepper tuna sushi / sashimi
Calamari crunchy roll
Chef special roll (yellowtail, salmon, tuna, asparagus, avocado, seaweed paper)
Cowboy roll (beef, lettuce, avocado and snow crab)
Dancing tuna roll (spicy salmon, sliced tuna, avocado)
Devil roll (salmon, tuna, yellowtail, cucumber, Japanese yellow mustard)
Dynamite roll (salmon , tuna, wasabi)
Fresh salmon roll
Jazz roll (BBQ eel, avocado, spicy tuna)
Lettuce wrap roll (shrimp, snow crab, avocado, lettuce wrap--no rice)
Louisiana roll (spicy crawfish and avocado)
Mandeville roll (whitefish, snow crab, asparagus, smelt roe, seaweed; whole roll fried)
Manhattan roll (fried soft shell crab, BBQ eel, snow crab, avocado, smelt roe)
Old school roll (scallop, tuna, salmon, yellowtail)
Rainbow roll (California roll inside, tuna, salmon, yellowtail outside)
Rice paper roll (tuna, salmon, crab stick, carrot, lettuce, asparagus, cucumber, avocado, rice paper, chili sauce)
Scallop and asparagus roll
Smoked salmon roll
Special eel roll (BBQ eel, cucumber, avocado, smelt roe, sesame, eel sauce)
Spicy tuna roll
Tiger roll (yellowtail, tuna, smelt roe, BBQ eel, salmon, avocado)
Tropical roll (coconut, avocodo, mango)
Tuna tataki (sliced seared tuna with ponzu)
Tempura udon (shrimp and vegetable tempura)
Nabeyaki udon (seafood noodle)
Yaki udon (pan fried udon noodles with seafood)
FOR BEST RESULTS
Strike up a light, smiling conversation with the sushi chefs. Avoid most of the noon hour and early dinner, when the place is busiest. The limited nature of the cooked side of the menu should tell you something.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Only a move to a bigger place could make this place significantly better, but I'd be wary that it would change the dynamics too much.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment
- Consistency +2
- Service +1
- Value +2
- Attitude +2
- Wine and Bar
- Hipness +1
- Local Color +1
- Open Sunday lunch and dinner
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Open some holidays
- Open all afternoon
- Quick, good meal
- Easy, nearby parking
- No reservations
This review was updated with new information on 8/24/2010.
A list of over 350 full, current reviews is here.