As I walk in I see a familiar face. Nancy Rolnick-Herbert otherwise known as Sweets Rolnick was sitting talking to owner Connie Lee. She waves and says OMG we were just talking about you. Voila. (You should never talk about me unless you want me to appear. Just like the State Farm agent). Nancy has helped many a small business get started with publicity through her local publication called "My Local Magazine". She said she was just telling Connie about a guy she knows who writes reviews on local restaurants. So we proceed to chat and then Nick arrives and we're ready to order lunch.
First I notice upon walking in how inviting the place looks. Very clean and modern looking, not very big but simple and straight-forward. It feels comfortable. Staff is very friendly and helpful. Both Nancy and Connie made some suggestions to try. Nick already knew what he wanted. So we order and sit down to chat while we're waiting.
|Teriyaki Chicken & Beef|
Then the orders start coming out, one by one, freshly made and not sitting around waiting to be served. First out was my Teriyaki Bowl of Chicken & Beef. Looks and smells great. Couldn't wait for the other dishes so I take a few bites and liked it right away. Great flavor, not overpowered by teriyaki sauce. Just the right blend of flavors.
Next out Nick's Shrimp Tempura starter. Japanese style tempura lightly breaded with a dipping sauce. Just right for an appetizer. Now we're ready for the custom sushi rolls to start coming out. Here's the Rainbow roll. Nicely presented with tuna, salmon, avocado on top of a California roll with crabmeat inside. Looks good enough to eat ... right? It was! Comes with pickled ginger and wasabi mustard. Soy and sriracha is also on the table.
Now comes the Vegas roll with cream cheese, avocado, crabmeat and then deep fried with a light crust. BINGO. What a winner. 777. Great combination of flavors with a great texture that melts in your mouth. I've been to many upscale sushi places and it's hard to beat the value here for fresh Asian fare.
We are well on our way to being full. And, we haven't eaten everything because there's more coming. I had to gladly take food home to share with my wife. So Connie surprises us with another roll she said will be on the menu soon. but wanted our opinion. Sure, I'll be your guinea pig anytime you want to try something new.
It's called the Suki Roll. Inside - spicy crabmeat, cucumber, shrimp tempura TOP - spicy tuna, crunch, spicy mayo, eel sauce, sweet chili sauce. It was over the top.
However it isn't just about the food. I love to hear the back stories of how restaurants like this get started.
From what Connie told me is that in 1992 her husband Jeff (I like him already) and her started their very first business in an airport in Alaska. It was an All-American dine in restaurant, from breakfast, lunch and dinner. Being South Korean natives, and coming only a few years prior to opening the restaurant, it was a great feat for them to learn and adapt to what American food was. In the end, they learned the love for American dining and realized that the restaurant business was their calling.
"We had such great success, but after a few years, it was time for us to move on to our next business." Connie said. "We moved back to California and had a couple new businesses, and then in 2009, made our way to Arizona. Jeff was able to learn Japanese foods, resulting in the foods we serve at Kiyoshi, while managing a Japanese restaurant in Arizona. With his new found skills, he wanted to begin another journey to starting up a new business once again. After months of searching, we came upon a quaint little town not too far from Gilbert, our home, and saw a speck of light for what was to come." "San Tan Valley had so much potential, with so many in search for a new taste of Asian foods." So, with the help of so many kind San Tan Valley friends, they were able to put everything together and felt so welcomed to the community. "It wasn’t easy, and definitely didn’t happen overnight, but now my family and I are so appreciative to everyone who helped to make the start of Kiyoshi so delightful."
Don't you love happy beginnings?
Teriyaki & Sushi
2510 E Hunt Hwy. #13
San Tan Valley 85143