6572 S. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, Cottonwood Heights ; 801-947-9800
Lunch and dinner menus offer plenty of traditional Japanese and sushi selections, though some are pricey.
Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi
Hours: M-F, 11 a.m-2 p.m.; M-Th, 5-9:30 p.m.; F, 5-10 p.m.; S, noon-10 p.m.
Liquor: Full Service
Corkage: $ 8
Recommended Dishes: Pan-seared ahi, salmon teriyaki, bento boxes at lunch.
June 11, 2008
Without equal emphasis on sushi, service, it comes off like a raw deal
By Lesli J. Neilson
Service can make or ruin a dining experience. At its finest, service is transparent and unobtrusive. At its worst, it is clunky and bothersome. A recent dinner at Mikado in downtown Salt Lake City left me disappointed at the lack of trained employees.
Our server couldn't identify some of the fish on our 30-piece sashimi platter. He didn't know if the miso-glazed sea bass was endangered Chilean or not-endangered black. (The report from the kitchen was that it was Chilean from Alaska. Come again?) And he didn't know Grey Goose was a brand of vodka.
Empty water glasses, forgotten items and a server who was missing in action -- and not just for a few minutes -- when we wanted our bill added to the frustration.
Fortunately, Mikado -- soon to be reincarnated as Naked Fish -- serves mostly great food.
To start, my dining group gobbled up refreshing iceberg lettuce cups ($9) filled with shreds of beef, pine nuts and red and green bell peppers. Agadashi tofu ($6), deep-fried tofu cubes in soy broth, were crisp on the outside and pillowy inside.
Entrees were hit and miss. "Pacific Rim" pork ribs ($19), glazed with a gooey, sweet barbecue sauce fell off the bone but an abundant shrimp tempura plate ($17), with slices of sweet potato, carrots, mushrooms, an onion ring, green chile and kabocha squash, lacked that just-from-the-fryer crunch.
The fish was faultless. Whether in nigiri, sashimi or maki rolls, the high-quality fish was the perfect temperature -- cool but not chilly -- and was sliced neither too thick nor too thin.
If you like fish without embellishments, sashimi (15-piece, $25; 21-piece, $35; 30-piece seasonal specialties, $95) is pristine.
The spider roll ($9), soft shell crab, cucumber, avocado, romaine and eel sauce, crackled with each bite while a fresh crab salad updated an Alaskan roll ($13) with avocado, salmon, lemon and ponzu sauce. The most expensive maki roll is $17. Save some money and try this Thursdays from 8 to 10 p.m. when selected maki rolls and appetizers are half price.
Some rolls need work. The spicy tuna roll ($8) wasn't spicy, the egg (tamago) nigiri ($2) was overly sweet and the salmon skin ($5) was limp. A serving of creamy sea urchin (uni) ($3.25) almost made up for those minor flaws.
Perhaps only in Utah would a Japanese restaurant offer bananas foster ($7), chocolate cake ($7) and New York-style cheesecake ($7) alongside mochi ice cream ($5.95) for dessert. The bananas foster was delicious and decadent -- unlike the freezer-burned vanilla mochi.
Same name, different experience
A dinner at the Mikado Cottonwood was the opposite of our experience at the soon-to-be Naked Fish. Our server was friendly, accommodating and knowledgeable, outshining the food, which was good but not excellent.
Slices of sashimi (15-piece, $24.95; 20-piece, $31.95) were too thick and a touch too cold, making them bland-tasting. A lighter hand would have saved Tosh's prawns ($7.95), five well-cooked shrimp drowned in a thick citrusy aioli.
Other dishes were much better. "Asian fries" ($3.95) were a unique starter: mashed ginger potatoes are wrapped in flour skins and deep-fried. Shrimp tempura ($16.95) and assorted vegetables were piping hot and crispy. Fluffy egg (tamago) nigiri ($2.50) had just a hint of sweetness, and a salmon skin handroll ($6.25), chockfull of crackling salmon skin strips, diakon sprouts, refreshing cucumber and burdock root, was good enough to want another.
At lunchtime, bento boxes ($11.95) and the lunch combination ($14.95, tuna sashimi, nigiri sushi, California roll, fruit, shrimp tempura, beef teriyaki, soup, rice and salad) cost slightly more than when The Tribune visited in 2003. On Mondays and Tuesdays maki rolls are half-off during lunch and from 5 to 7 p.m., selected sushi rolls and appetizers are discounted.
For dessert, there are interesting ice cream flavors, such as the roasted banana, ginger and chai (all $5.95). If you must indulge in chocolate, the sweet caramel brownie ($6.95) hits the spot.
As the downtown Mikado morphs into Naked Fish and the Cottonwood Mikado branches out and adds locations in Sandy and Bountiful, I hope both owners remember that a great dining experience is a combination of great food and a well-trained staff.
Tribune's rating system
1 star Good
2 stars Very good
3 stars Excellent
4 stars Extraordinary
$ Entree under $10
$$$$ Above $25
1 bell Quiet (under 65 decibles)
2 bells Can talk easily (65-70)
3 bells Talking somewhat difficult (70-75)
4 bells Raised voices (75-80)
A bomb Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)
The Tribune covers the cost of all meals at reviewed restaurants. Star ratings are based on a minimum of two visits. Ratings are updated continually based on at least one revisit. There is no connection between reviews and advertising.
March 28, 2003
Mikado at Cottonwood Brings New Flavors to the Old Mill
By Nancy Hobbs
The dining choices in Holladay's Old Mill neighborhood seem to grow almost weekly. With the introduction of Mikado at Cottonwood, diners can have a night of sushi and Japanese tempura, and later in the week enjoy Mexican, fresh seafood, Italian subs or, just around the bend at Tuscany, upscale Italian.
Salt Lake's baby boomers no doubt remember the downtown Mikado, although it has undergone some major face-lifting since our youth. The owners also have expanded to Park City, with the Cottonwood site as a third home.
The newest locale is spacious, airy and visually appealing, with mustard walls and brick-red accents in dining areas on either end, complemented by a green granite sushi bar spanning the middle. Although there are two dozen stools along the bar's expanse, the tables seem much more popular. With its high ceilings and cement floor, the restaurant can be noisy when busy, as it is on the weekends.
Mikado at Cottonwood serves a weekday lunch from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., offering a menu of sushi, tempura, bento boxes, and rice and noodle bowls. For sushi lovers who want more variety, a handful of lunches come with an assortment of rolls and/or nigiri sushi, which may or may not be cooked; a sashimi lunch has an assortment of nine raw fish and steamed rice. But the lunches are pricey, from $13 to $16.
The bento boxes are a popular choice at lunch, arriving in attractive sectioned boxes with salmon, beef or chicken, rice, salad and vegetable tempura ($9 to $10). They also are generally adorned with oshinko, a Japanese pickle, but ours was missing. Our apologetic waitress hurried back with a sample for the whole table.
Our lunch also included the shrimp udon, or thick flour noodles in broth. The large bowl offered tasty homemade noodles, but there were fewer noodles and more broth than in most udon I have sampled. It came with a single tempura shrimp and only a few carrots and mushrooms. For a $10 lunch, it was lacking in substance. We hope the same dish is more generous at dinner, when the price jumps to $16.
We enjoyed a delicious pan-seared ahi for dinner, sliced thinly and attractively fanned across the plate, making it easy to eat with chopsticks. It was accompanied by fresh spring greens with a spicy vinaigrette dressing, julienned squash and grated radish for a light, pleasing meal ($22).
The dinner menu is more ambitious than lunch, with an expanded appetizer selection (including tofu in several presentations), and more meat: grilled ribs, ribeye steak, breaded chicken or pork, and a mouth-watering salmon teriyaki.
Mikado also touts more than two dozen sushi rolls at lunch or dinner, and we sampled several, as well as some sashimi. Everything from the unagi (eel) to the fresh tobiko, or flying fish eggs, in the Wasatch roll ($9) was good, but not particularly distinctive.
The restaurant serves beer and a limited selection of wine, as well as some basic cocktails -- nothing fancy.
Mikado at Cottonwood is a welcome and attractive addition to the variety now offered in the Old Mill neighborhood. The lunch and dinner menus offer plenty of traditional Japanese and sushi selections, although some are quite pricey.
Mikado at Cottonwood
Where: 6572 S. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, Holladay; 947-9800
Hours: Weekday lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; dinner nightly beginning at 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. on weekdays, 10 p.m. on weekends
Prices: Lunch entrees, $8 to $16; dinner, $12 to $23
Liquor: Wine and beer; limited cocktail bar
Child's Menu: Yes
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Parking: On-site parking
Credit Cards: All major