Rainbow Sushi roll and Kung Pao Chicken at Nhinja Sushi and Wok

Nhinja: good sushi, fabulous wok

by | January 18, 2011 | 24 Comments

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Exterior of Nhinja Sushi and Wok in Oklahoma City

Photos courtesy of
Lacey Elaine Dillard

I’m pretty smitten with the new Nhinja Sushi and Wok. I’ve had two great meals there so far and I’ve heard a lot of great feedback from others I’ve sent there. My wife joined me on one visit and even gave it her stamp of approval.  To fully appreciate the weight of this, you have to understand that my wife does not enjoy trying new places as much as I do. She loves cooking at home and, for the most part, prefers eating at home to eating out. So, when we find a place that she enjoys well enough to promise a return visit, well … let’s just say that Nhinja is one of but a few places to hold this honor.

I like the concept of Nhinja. In essence, it brings quality, wholesome Asian cuisine to an approachable and affordable venue. Owners Kang and Mary Nhin (of Kang’s Asian Kitchen in Edmond) have created a bright, family-friendly atmosphere that hits the mark in what seems to be the holy grail of restauranteurism — high-quality food delivered through a limited-service experience. At Nhinja, you order at the counter and fill your own drinks, but you’re treated to meals that are a cut above. In this regard, Nhinja fits right into its surroundings, as it’s just a block down the road from Cafe 7 and Coolgreens, which also offer similar experiences, though with differing cuisines.

So, I’ll get right to the point on the food. The sushi I had at Nhinja was good — affordably-priced, fresh and well put together. But the sushi wasn’t the highlight for me. No, the thing that will be bringing me back to Nhinja is the Kung Pao Chicken (see a pic) I had and the other wok dishes I can’t wait to try.

What’s so great about the Kung Pao Chicken? Well, I’ll tell you. Huge chunks of all white meat chicken served with tender brown rice. It is a huge portion. So huge it should have provided me with two meals but, alas, I couldn’t stop eating. The sauce was perfection with just the right amount of heat and flavor. And best of all, it was $7.55.

I also liked that the Kung Pao came with snap peas, or so said the menu. Mine actually came with snow peas. That was ok, but I would prefer the plumper snap pea. I’m hoping for the snap next time, and I wouldn’t complain if there were more of them and if they would even add another vegetable into the mix, like maybe some sliced carrots. Now, that would be awesome. But, I digress.

The point is that I loved this dish. And with Pei Wei’s variety selling for closer to $10, I think Nhinja is offering a killer deal with their wok offerings.

They’ve got much more than just the Kung Pao. There are about ten wok dishes that can be prepared with your choice of one of four proteins, including Tofu. My wife had the Classic Broccoli with Chicken on her visit. The chicken and the vegetables were perfectly tender. The sauce was very good and without any spiciness, which my wife appreciated. As mentioned above, she really enjoyed it, but we did both feel like the sauce was too thick, or maybe that there was too much of it. It really covered everything heavily and could have been a little lighter in my opinion.

We also tried the spring rolls and didn’t really favor them. My wife thought they were too salty and I just thought they were a little plain. We’d likely try a different appetizer next time or, more likely, skip the apps and just hit the wok and sushi.

Speaking of the sushi, Nhinja’s offerings are substantial. Personally, when it comes to sushi, I like to keep things simple. It doesn’t really matter to me if a restaurant offers the most innovative combination of ingredients in a sushi roll. Just give me a simple salmon roll, fresh and well-made, for a reasonable price.

So, on my first visit, I selected the Fish Lips (see a pic), which lets you choose from tuna, salmon or yellowtail, for $4.50. Simple, fresh, and affordable. I enjoy the fact that the Nhins have a great deal of sushi experience from their other restaurants. It’s always comforting to me to know that the people preparing my sushi didn’t just get into the sushi-making business recently.

I also tried the 911 roll. If you like a lot of fresh fish in your rolls, and if you like spicy things, I can recommend the 911. It’s a simple roll as well, though bigger because it contains three types of fish — yellowtail, salmon and tuna — and packs a punch with its dynamite sauce. It is one of the most expensive rolls on the menu, though still pretty affordable at $8.95 and a good value for its size and the amount of fish.

Nhinja offers about 20 rolls in all. They also have some nigiri and sashimi offerings. It’s a modest selection, but fairly well-rounded. Certainly, the options are fewer than at some sushi restaurants, and that may be a negative for some. I think most people, from sushi novice to sushi veteran can find something to enjoy here, but after a few visits, one may exhaust the list of new things to try.

The roll selection does include a few that are named for the Nhin’s own children and designed to help introduce children or others who may not be familiar with sushi, to sushi rolls. The Kobe, Like Mike, and JoJo rolls contain proteins like cooked chicken and grilled steak along with other very approachable ingredients. While this type of thing isn’t my sushi preference, I think it provides good variety and I appreciate the focus on offering something that kids may like.

This brings up another unique part of Nhinja’s concept. The Nhins seem very interested in making this a family-friendly restaurant and a restaurant children will enjoy visiting. Large images of their own children adorn the walls. The menu includes some nice kid’s meals and the kid-friendly rolls mentioned above. Add to it the whole Nhinja theme with the cute little ninja charaters and … I mean, come on, how cute is that? Kudos to the Nhins for using their own name to spin such an appealing brand. I have three small boys myself and I can tell you just mentioning that I ate at a place called “Nhinja” has them excited to try it. I can’t wait to take them, mainly so that I can get some more of that Kung Pao.

If you haven’t been already, I hope you’ll put Nhinja on your radar. I think it’s a clever concept with some very solid offerings and a great value. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

See more photos from Nhinja Sushi and Wok in our Facebook photo album.

Nhinja Sushi & Wok on UrbanspoonNhinja Sushi & Wok Edmond on Urbanspoon

More Photos from Nhinja Sushi and Wok

Photos by Lacey Elaine Dillard

Fish Lips Salmon Roll at Sushi at Nhinja Sushi and Wok in Oklahoma CityNhinja Sushi and Wok in Oklahoma CitySushi Roll at Nhinja Sushi and Wok in Oklahoma CityInterior of Nhinja Sushi and Wok in Oklahoma CityExterior of Nhinja Sushi and Wok in Oklahoma CityKung Pao Chicken at Nhinja Sushi and Wok in Oklahoma City

This article was posted by Tim Wall on Tuesday, January 18th, 2011. It is filed under:

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  • Paula says:
    January 18th, 2011 at 7:42 am   

    I’m glad you tried this out! We’ve driven by several times and I’m always leery of new sushi places so it’s nice to know they have other selections my husband will appreciate. As always, good sleuthing :)

  • Cult of Nobody says:
    January 18th, 2011 at 7:44 am   

    My ex-wife and I used to drive all the way from the east side of OKC to Edmond just to eat at Kang’s.

    If this place is as good it should do great.

  • Lesa Olive says:
    January 18th, 2011 at 8:14 am   

    We had their lettuce wraps and fell in love with them we compared them to Pei Wei and think they are much better. We also tried two different rolls both were really good. If you like a nontraditional roll we had the samuri roll it had cooked meat and cream cheese and it is spicey in a good way. Of course the everyday california roll was super. A friend ordered the tofu stir fry and loved it and the portions were huge. We had both the steamed and fried dumplings steamed are the better choice. One of the people with us also ordered the chicken lo mein wow!! It was great. We can’t wait to go back and try more wok dishes.

  • Jillian says:
    January 18th, 2011 at 9:12 am   

    My boyfriend and I are both lovers of Asian cuisine/sushi, and we went to Kang’s once… Horrible experience. Food had a taste and texture like it had all come from packages, was lukewarm, and the service wasn’t great either. We felt like we’d overpaid by far for what we got and vowed never to set foot there again. I very much look forward to trying Nhinja, and I seriously hope to find a more enjoyable dining experience there. Thanks for reviewing it.

  • Tim says:
    January 18th, 2011 at 9:31 am   

    Jillian, thanks for the comment. I wanted to mention one thing about Kang’s. Kang’s Asian Kitchen in Edmond is owned and operated by the Nhins (of Nhinja) but I have found out that the Kang’s Asian Bistro near 63rd and Olie is owned and operated by different people. We have a review on our site of the 63rd / Olie location, but we have not yet reviewed the Edmond restaurant. I don’t know which one you visited, but thought I would mention this for everyone to know. Regardless, I do think you’ll find a very different experience at Nhinja from either of the Kang’s locations. It’s a whole different concept and I look forward to hearing what you think.

  • Tracy says:
    January 18th, 2011 at 9:48 am   

    I have never had sushi but this sounds like a GREAT place to try and to be the first sushi restaurant that I eat at. I would like to take my kids too but always wondered how they would act…I think this restaurant is the one I’m picking to try Sushi!

  • Nunu Ruttman says:
    January 18th, 2011 at 3:25 pm   

    My family and I have visited Nhinja at least once per week since it has opened. I love the bright, friendly and casual atmosphere. We have had both sushi and wok dishes and have loved them all! We will continue to eat there.

  • Carrie says:
    January 20th, 2011 at 8:31 pm   

    This place has a lovely atmosphere, and from the owners of Kang’s we had high hopes. The sushi was average to below average. Nowhere near on par with Saii, Neko, Okura or even Shiki, which is average. It did not smell fresh, the portions were very small and quite expensive, and I thought all three rolls we had, had a funny taste. I asked for a side of stir fried vegetables, and because it wasn’t on the menu, they said no, and offered a side of steamed veggies, and then wanted to charge me the same price as a stir fry dish, with a protein added! Overall, will not be back other than perhaps to try the stirfry – but I can do that at home, so for the price, probably not worth it. Likely, we won’t be back.

  • Vivian says:
    January 20th, 2011 at 8:46 pm   

    I just tried Nhinja a couple days ago, and loved their sushi! I agree, the rolls were very simple but well-made, fresh, and delicious. The 911 roll is a good choice, but I also liked the Catcher roll, which is not spicy but also pretty good.

  • Emily says:
    January 22nd, 2011 at 2:49 pm   

    We’ve been meaning to try this place since we first heard about it a few weeks ago, and the writeup on this (Thanks Tim!) really spurred us along.

    We tried them today for lunch and we fell more in love with the decor than the actual food. Everything was presented well and the staff was super-friendly, but there was just something missing in their sushi that I couldn’t put my finger on. The sushi was ok, not great.

    Based on Tim’s writeup their forte seems to be their wok dishes; maybe we’ll try those if we go there again. However, their green tea cupcakes are fantastic!

  • Becky M says:
    January 24th, 2011 at 12:13 pm   

    Will keep this place in mind next time I’m in the area. I love these type of places, limited-services where you can still get in and out fast yet the food is not “fast food”.

  • Aaron says:
    February 5th, 2011 at 4:01 pm   

    I’ve been to Nhinja’s a few times and while the food is always great, the timing of its arrival drives me nuts. For example, last night, my wife and I ordered the following: an appetizer of crab/cream cheese puffs, she had two sush rolls and I ordered a wok dish. Her sushi arrived a couple of minutes before the appetizer, and my wok dish arrived several minutes later. I hate sitting there with no food to eat.

    I understand everything takes the time it takes to prepare, but if there was a bit of planning, I’d enjoy the place a lot more.

  • Tim says:
    February 6th, 2011 at 7:24 am   

    Aaron, I would agree with you. I noticed this too on my last visit when we had our whole family there and each entrée came out individually (each separated by several minutes) and then our sushi rolls all came out quite a bit later. Perhaps they are just getting some things worked out as they get started, but I, too, hope they can work out a way to deliver the food to the table in a more consistent manner and so that no one is left waiting.

    I will say that the time I went with just my wife and I, the timing was great as our appetizer came our first followed by our entrées simultaneously. So, perhaps it’s just a consistency issue. Time will tell. Thanks for the comment!

  • Brian Grider says:
    February 15th, 2011 at 8:05 am   

    Check out Nhinha this last weekend with some friends. I’m a huge egg-drop soup fan, and honestly theirs was lacking, just not real full of flavor. Wasn’t terrible, just wish I would have had a cup instead of a bowl. Me and the wife don’t do sushi, she had honey chicken and I got chicken fried rice (I know, real dangerous). She said hers was really good, and the chicken fried rice was fair. The portion was massive, easily enough chicken fried rice for 2-3 people for $7, but I kept finding myself adding soy sauce to it. There was no moisture to it at all. All in all, we were pleased, will we go back, not so sure. Since we don’t so sushi, if were in that area just looking for chinese food, we’ll have other options.

  • dianne says:
    February 15th, 2011 at 9:57 am   

    We give Nhinja’s a two thumbs up! Like Pei Wei but with sushi and we thought the main course tasted better than the same dish at Pei Wei! We got edamame (same everywhere), egg drop soup (very tasty but missed the crunchy things) and 2 egg rolls and kids chicken lo mein (very yum) AND regular size (which was HUGE) crispy honey chicken with brown rice ALL for $22 ! Walk out of Pei Wei for that ! Not a chance! The owners were SUPER nice and you actually felt like they appreciated you coming in! We took friends back for another visit and they loved it too!

  • Kacy says:
    February 15th, 2011 at 10:44 am   

    I’m finally going to check this out tomorrow. Very excited!

  • Christina says:
    February 23rd, 2011 at 9:28 am   

    I ate at Nhinja Sushi on Sunday. I was suprised at how busy it was for late afternoon.

    I had a spider roll which was okay but I probably would never order it again. We also had the Kung Pao Chicken and Lo Mein with Shrimp.

    The KPC was very spicy but in a good way. The portions are huge. I think a person with a good appetite could easily split a meal and still be satisfied. I only have two complaints. 1. No coke products 2. Even after I asked twice my food did not come out until after the person I was with was nearly finished with his food. I’d say mine came out 20 minutes at least after my friend’s was brought out. I’m sure they forgot. I asked twice.. It would have been nice for them to make up for that in some way. Luckily we weren’t in a hurry but by the time the food got there I was over it. I took a good bit of it home for lunch the next day.

    I only had the spider roll but I was very suprised that it was so unremarkable. I’ve eaten sushi at Kang’s and enjoyed it.

  • Stephanie says:
    February 25th, 2011 at 10:10 pm   

    My husband and I ordered takeout from Nhinja this evening. I ordered the honey chicken w/ brown rice, and my husband ordered the sweet and sour chicken w/ brown rice. The chicken was all-white meat and had decent flavor. We were disappointed, though, that we both received sticky white rice, instead of the brown rice we ordered. We thought they were trying to be like Pei Wei, but the quality of the food was more like something from a mall food court.

  • Anon R. D. says:
    February 26th, 2011 at 10:47 pm   

    Not trying to snark, and nothing against the family, but yikes, that is an unfortunate restaurant name. It sounds dorky and doesn’t make me want to visit at all. I’d be embarrassed to tell a date or business contact to meet me at “Nhinja.”

  • Cristina says:
    April 26th, 2011 at 9:42 am   

    I LOVED Nhinja. I had the General Tso’s chicken, expecting to splurge a little since it is generally deep fried. When it came out different, I immediately asked how it was prepared. Turns out, it’s lightly pan fried with cornstarch instead of deep fried. The brown rice option really completes the meal!

  • Lesa O says:
    May 6th, 2011 at 1:37 pm   

    This was my second trip and my husbands first. I took him kicking and screaming. Once we got there and he saw the menu he was much better. We ordered a sushi roll, lettuce wraps and the general tso’s chicken. I tried to tell him that it was toooo much food but he wouldn’t listen. Went we received our order he was amazed at the quanity. Then he tasted the food and was truly sold as this was one of his best lunches. The staff is friendly and the food was great. We had leftovers for work the next day. To say the least we will be returning again soon.

  • Chris Johnson says:
    May 31st, 2011 at 10:06 am   

    Ok, this place is all kinds of WIN. Went for lunch on Sunday and enjoyed the Kung Pao Chicken and Dynamite roll. Granted that this isn’t high-end sushi, the roll was fantastic for the price! After I inhaled the roll, I moved onto the Kung Pao. It was so good. Loved the fresh snap peas, and whatever sauce they use for the dish works perfectly. The rice was a bit on the sticky side (probably the same rice as they use for the sushi), but when mixed with the dish, it tasted great. WILL. BE. BACK.

  • mark e says:
    June 24th, 2011 at 9:17 pm   

    I’ve been to Nhinja three or four times in the past six months. I think the best way to describe it is a Pei Wei alternative with sushi. I think the food is fine but nothing special. I don’t go out of my way to get it, but don’t mind stopping if I’m nearby and in the mood for PanAsian.

    As for a couple of comments regarding Pei Wei being pricey, I have always felt it is one of the best deals in the city. For instance, an order of Pad Thai with tofu and vegetables and a large side of brown rice gets me out the door for $8.13 and easily divides into two large portions. Two meals for $4.07 each? The pricey argument doesn’t resonate with me!

    But anyway, Nhinja? Sure, I’ll go back on occasion.

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