In July 2010, Cleveland area Chef Hiroshi Tsuji (CIA graduate and owner of Shuhei Japanese Cuisine and Sushi Bar in Beachwood, Ohio) opened Hiroshi's Pub at 3365 Richmond Road, Building B, Beachwood, OH. A sleek, beautiful space, the Pub contains a sushi and ceviche bar in addition to a fully stocked cocktail bar, private dining area and regular restaurant space. Most important, Hiroshi's Pub has a broad and ambitious menu that ranges from salads, sandwiches and mac and cheese, to BBQ and smoked meats, to the above referenced sushi and ceviche.
A friend and I lunched there shortly after the opening, and I decided not to post about it because, honestly, we didn't have a lot of positive things to say about either the food or the service. Still, I wanted to give them another chance. That opportunity presented itself last week, as a group of four hungry lawyers agreed to join me for a Hiroshi's Pub rematch.
The front dining room was lively, but the sushi bar and cocktail bar were both quiet. And the cavernous room in the back, completely empty. I describe this to more fully explain an important problem I noted on my first visit, that still hasn't been solved: parking. We got the only empty spot in the entire bank of spots in front of Building B, except for the spots reserved for the Physical Therapy place, and the restaurant wasn't even close to well populated. Spots in front of Building A are mostly reserved for tenants of that building (and restaurant Moxie causes most that are left to also be filled at prime dining time). The space now occupied by Hiroshi's used to house various take-out food ventures that needed a lot less parking - I hope they figure out a solution by the time nice weather returns.The first time I visited, my handicapped friend couldn't get a handicapped or other close spot, and had to park in the PT-reserved area.
Three of us ordered a "Sushi Lunch Special" on the blackboard ($13.95). One person ordered a sandwich and the fifth ordered sushi a la carte. The sandwich-eater enjoyed his Grilled Eggplant and Artichoke with grilled onions, Provolone cheese, sundried tomato tapenade and side of potato salad or cole slaw; from the look of it, this dish was considerably improved from the one I'd sampled in July.
The lunch special started with this salad:
And choice of house-made dressing:
The other lunch special eaters both had the ginger dressing, which they loved. I really liked the dressing, which tasted rich without being too indulgent. Though the salad was nicely fashioned from actual (versus food service) vegetables, it was so cold so as to be nearly inedible as presented. Clearly, each salad plate had been assembled early in the day and the plates put in a chiller. This was a shame because the dressing tasted nice and the salad was crisp and fresh - just too darn cold.
Any complaints that I might have had about the food, however, disappeared when this plate was set in front of me. Four nigiri (l. to r. "white tuna," probably Escolar, Salmon, Hamachi, Tuna) were joined by both a Spicy Tuna Roll and a California Roll. And the ginger, not seen here, was actual ginger-color and not electric red, indicating a quality product (which it was).
All four varieties of fish offered pristine smell and taste, complimented by expertly prepared sushi rice.
No - those are not strands of cucumber to the right of each piece of the tuna roll, but cilantro! Which I much prefer to cucumber, so I especially liked this roll. The "spicy" part was in evidence, but not overpowering. The sprinkle of roe added a bit of crunchy textural contrast.
I'm normally not a big fan of California Rolls for a number of reasons, including the use of processed crab stick and the ubiquitous insistence on filling the roll with cucumber. This roll, which did contain crab stick, used a creamy avocado spread instead of either chunks of food-service pack avocado or cucumber. Also, the crab stick was a better-quality product, and instead of being halved or quartered, was left whole, giving the roll more toothiness. All in all, I'd happily order this lunch again. Our a la carte sushi eater was also pleased with his fish.
Hiroshi's Pub does not have a dedicated lunch menu, though most sandwiches can be had for $6-9 and other less-than-ten dollar options are available. Salads range from $7-12. Entrees and sushi/ceviche will set you back a bit more for meal-sized portions. My experience this visit demonstrated that the quality of the product definitely justifies the price points, at least for the fish. I need to return and give the BBQ meat another try. In the meantime, I had great fun playing with Hiroshi's sushi!