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May 20, 2009 08:53 AM

MSP- Lakeville/Apple Valley- Ronin Sushi

CG and I don't often venture out into the far burbs at mealtime. If we do, we're eating at family homes. Last weekend after a dismal day staffing a garage sale, we decided to have dinner in Lakeville. Our sis-in-law recommended Ronin as a place she'd been hearing good things about. Boy, was that an understatement!

The place is tiny, in a strip mall on County Rd 46 (aka 160th St) near Cedar. Our first night there (we liked it so much we went back the following night to toast the end of the garage sale) we went at 6 pm and it was crowded to the gills. Families, couples, all ages. That was nice, but we were hungry and in a bit of a rush (had to get to a play in Bloomington by 7:30). We had the 5 Oceans app (12.95), which was 5 pieces of sashimi in a hot oil/soy dressing which seared the fish ever so slightly. It was fantastic- flavorful and silky. We also had the soft shell crab app (8.95), whose only downside was that there wasn't a bigger portion. I can't remember the roll we tried, but they had Mutsu (Escolar) on the menu as both sushi and sashimi (5.75/8.95) -- actually, all their nigiri is also offered as sashimi for an additional price. I was thrilled, since Escolar is usually only offered on occasion at the other places we frequent. It was some of the best Escolar I've ever had. It truly melted in my mouth. Like Buttah. I was sad we had to leave without trying their Marlin Jewel roll, because the kitchen was swamped and we were rushed. They were gracious and apologetic about our cancelling our order.

The following night we didn't have the same crowded experience, but we went around 7 pm. We had the 5 Oceans again, and it was just as delicious. We also tried the Smoky Saba app (12.95)-- lightly smoked mackerel that was almost ethereal. I am not a big fan of smoked foods, but I usually do like smoked fish, and this did not disappoint. We did get to try the Marlin Jewel, and were stunned at the addition of white truffle oil to a roll- it took it right over the top in terms of luxury (which came with a 20.95 price tag, btw). We had more Mutsu (yum!!) and left so happy.

We would travel to Lakeville just for the creativity of their kitchen. We found out that some of their chefs work or have worked at other sushi places around town, and I am thrilled to be eating at the place that lets them do their own thing. Maybe omakase next time.

Ronin Cafe
7704 160th St W, Lakeville, MN 55044

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  1. CGG...thank you for this. I absolutely second your recommendation. I love sushi/sashimi but can't leave there without a plate of the drunken noodles. Those are actually the star of the show at Ronin.

    All in all, this is a treasure for us in the south metro and I get there as often as I can. Thanks again for the great writeup.

    1. Ronin Sushi Cafe is one of my favorites and along with Satay2Go top my "must go to" places in the South Metro when I'm looking for some great grub.

      As MSPD mentions below, the Drunken Noodles, I have a picture of them here: are absolutely incredible and while that picture was taken on opening day in 2008, little has changed.

      I am so fond of the place that I gathered 17 people that read my website and brought them down to Ronin for a Sunday night dinner. The service and the food were excellent and I can't say enough good things about Nona (the owner) and her staff. They went above and beyond what I expected.

      If you're into spicy stuff, I suggest asking for a "Cherry Bomb" for dessert. They have been perfecting this delectable treat for months and the latest version was a habanero stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon, deep fried, and was dipped in an orange rum glaze. Several people, some of whom were not into spicy foods, have been harassing me ever since to go back with them just so they can get another taste of the infamous "dessert".

      1. Thanks! I live in Lakeville and still had no idea this was here. We will definitely give it a go. I hope it to be a pleasant surprise in the land of few great choices (south metro)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Minnesotapix

          If you like sushi, I hope you will find it a more than pleasant surprise. Please report back-- it's always great to hear from more 'hounds from the burbs!

        2. We think it's pretty good too, the menu is a bit on the small side for my picky wife, but the sushi has been good the couple times we've been there, I agree it's a solid place here in the south metro.

          Escolar is good, I usually avoid it, or limit it to small portions.... Hint google escolar....

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