I’m perhaps the least qualified person ever to review a sushi restaurant. I avoid raw fish and hate the taste of seaweed. Yet I’m a big fan of Tokyo Rose, so consider this a heartfelt yet unqualified restaurant review.
Apparently back in the day this Ivy Road spot was a hot destination spot with great live music. Now, not so much. Since Tokyo Rose’s reopening in 2005, every time we visit there’s always a sprinkling of patrons but it doesn’t exactly scream nightlife. The setting is nice enough with a sushi bar that I’ve never seen anyone sit at and a private room with traditional Japanese floor seating. Supposedly there’s a downstairs karaoke bar but we have yet to see drunk revelers heading down or bad Bon Jovi sounds floating up.
Jed would probably tell you the traditional raw fish sushi is reliably good but not spectacular, and it tends to be better when served in the restaurant rather than delivered (although big kudos to them for delivering – one of my greatest frustrations with the Charlottesville restaurant scene is how few places deliver). But here’s the draw for me: awesome veggie options and soy paper. Tokyo Rose has absolutely fantastic options for vegetarian sushi eaters. Grilled shitake mushroom, kiwi, mango, asparagus, sweet potato, and the A.B.C special (avocado, banana, cucumber!) just to name a few. And yes, the soy paper. Tokyo Rose is one of the few sushi places I’ve found that will offer the option of soy paper for any rolls rather than seaweed paper. As someone who has felt excluded from the sushi experience for so long, I can’t tell you how exciting this is.
Tokyo Rose offers other standards like teriyaki, tempura, udon, katsu dishes, and a very good miso soup that comes with asparagus, but it’s hard to waste too much room on non-sushi options. So if you prefer kiwi over seaweed in your sushi, or just a reliably good if not incredibly exciting Japanese dining experience, head to Ivy Road. Bonus points to anyone who tries out the karaoke experience and reports back.
Jed says: “Not as great as the old Tokyo Rose, but a consistent source of decent sushi, and the go-to option for sushi delivery.”
Rating: Erin: Jed:
Pros: Great vegetarian sushi options, soy paper, delivery, friendly service.
Cons: Not the nightlife mecca it used to be.
Price: Appetizers $4-10, sushi and sashimi entrées $13-30, other entrées $10-17.