Nhinja: good sushi, fabulous wok
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.
More Photos from Nhinja Sushi and Wok
Photos by Lacey Elaine Dillard