AZIA - Greenville, SC
I've been meaning to make a trip to AZIA, but since it's off of Woodruff, it keeps getting pushed down on the list. But, I finally went last Thursday and am SO happy to see another really great restaurant added to the Greenville dining scene.
I can only speak of the sushi. That's why we went, that's what we ordered, and it was wonderful!
We sat at the sushi bar, which I wouldn't recommend. The sushi bar is the front of a very busy kitchen, with (literally) 20 people working, talking, making food. Yes, the sushi chef is preparing your sushi in front of you, but a few steps behind him people are yelling out orders and the general rush of a kitchen is practically on your plate as well. Beginner's mistake - the dining room was wide open, quiet, they have an upstairs level, the bar was very busy, and in the warm months, they have a nice sized outdoor patio.
Edamame was promptly brought to us, before water even - nice touch. Relatively small wine list compared to some others in town, but ok choices.
We then ordered a couple of specialty rolls:
HAWAIIAN PRESS SUSHI
spicy tuna, white tuna, salmon, avocado, tobiko and scallion
spicy tuna roll topped with tuna and avocado
And several nigiri and sashimi pieces:
TUNA (maguro), YELLOW TAIL (hamachi), SALMON (sake), and SNAPPER (madai)
The salmon was my favorite - it just melted in my mouth. The pieces were huge and a couple of them had unique twists that were really enjoyable - the yellow tail was served with a small chive and tiny lemon.
The presentation was really well done and involved a lemon shaped into a basket, filled with seaweed salad and fried snapper skin.
All of the entrees we saw pass us by looked really good too - next time I will get the whole snapper.
The staff was incredibly attentive, from the host to the servers to the managment to the sushi chefs. They remind me of BlueFire in the beginning - before service went downhill.
Overall, though I haven't tried the sushi at Siam Oishii (and I've heard it's VERY good), I think AZIA is the best sushi Greenville is offering right now. It's what Blue Fire used to be, my former top sushi joint, and a whole world apart from the Sushi Murasakis and Tsunamis of the world.
It's true - BlueFire had a good stretch. It was right in the beginning. I came to Greenville after Koji San, so I'm not sure if he was the sushi chef then or not. A follow up trip a mere month later and it was practically a different restaurant. Tried it again 1 time after that for brunch and it was ok, but service was just really horrible. Haven't been back.
Anywho - Siam Oishii has opened on Miller Road, right across from Saffron (Indian Food) and up the street from the really good Korean BBQ place. They've only been open a couple of weeks, but everyone I know that's stopped in have only good things to say. It's Japanese, Thai and Sushi and they have one other location - I think somewhere in Florida and the owners have now moved here.
We tried Siam Oishi last week and enjoyed it, although I prefer a cozy restaurant, not modern and cold. My huband's sushi boat was impressive with all of its garnishes. I tried a few pieces from it and it was tasty...minus the octopus (Not sure if that's what it was...). I'm just not into chewy raw fish.
My green curry hit the spot that night. I'd probably go back to satisfy a Thai craving, since hubby prefers sushi to Thai.
P.S. We tried Saffron recently and were very pleased with our experience. I know there are a few other Indian restaurants around, but I'm afraid to stray from Saffron since I know we can get a great meal there. Is India Palace/Bombay Bistro as good?
No! India Palace / Bombay Bistro (same owners) are simply not as good as Saffron.
Saffron has been consistently great, both food and service and I just don't think there is another Indian restaurant in Greenville that compares.
They have a huge menu and an ever changing lunch buffet.
You've also got Handi (downtown) which is new and may need to come into its own a little bit - I had a disappointing meal there recently. Another Indian place is SWAD (on laurens) which is vegetarian, and also not as good, IMHO.
I think the name of the restaurant is Tasty Korean BBQ (though that's not what the sign says, but if you are looking it up) and it's practically IN the red robin gas station on the corner of woodruff and miller - but that aside, really tasty Korean food. Kind of no frills decor, set up, personable owner, staff, very mom-n-pop style. Out of all of the dishes we've tried there, I like the way the beef comes out the best. The kimchi is very good, and I've never been disappointed with the bimibab. Relatively inexpensive, so worth a stop in to test it out.