When you think of hole-in-the-wall restaurants Sushi places don’t often come to mind. For some reason most Sushi houses in Wichita are high energy places with music blaring and trendy interior design. Golden Bay, tucked away in a strip mall at West St. and 13th St. is bucking that trend.
Great Buy One Get One Sushi!
A small dining area and soothing classical music offer a nice change of pace compared to other Sushi places in town.
On the lunch menu at Golden Bay is a non-overwhelming list of maki rolls, some sashimi, as well as other Japanese favorites including tempura veggies, noodle bowls, and bento boxes. If you are unfamiliar with a bento box, I strongly urge you to get to the nearest Japanese restaurant and order one of these magical boxes. While looking over the sushi choices on the lunch menu I noticed that all maki rolls were buy one get one free(I believe this is true for the dinner menu as well)! With this in mind we ordered one Kamikaze roll and one other roll that I forget the name of now. In addition we ordered a chicken teriyaki meal.
The sushi came with a tasty bowl of miso soup, while the lunch box was served with a small salad with a nice Asian style dressing. Both maki rolls that we ordered were very good. This fish and shrimp tasted fresh while the rice was firm and sticky. Covered with a sweet sauce, the fried Kamikaze roll was our favorite. The teriyaki bento box was most impressive as well. The teriyaki sauce covering the chicken was a dark and gelatinous concoction sprinkled with sesame seeds. A true work of art that melded sweet and salty flavors perfectly. The rest of the goodies included steamed rice,
Top Notch Chicken Teriyake
various tempura veggies, a California roll, a couple of dumplings, and a nice slice of orange to top off a well balanced meal.
Although Golden Bay does not look like much from the outside, inside you will find some top notch sushi and Japanese food. I still think Kanai has the best sushi in Wichita, but Golden Bay is right up there. And for all you Cali roll junkies out there they offer a 10 roll deal for $26.
To commiserate the last day of summer break Steph was in the mood for sushi, so we headed to Hana Cafe. Hana is located in Old Town Square which happens to be a great place for chain free restaurants. You have Hana, Imbiss, Sabor, Caffe Moderne, and Lucca all in one convenient location. This was our first time visiting Hana since its recent renovation and we were impressed with the changes, although the entrance looks like you are going into a dance club.
As you enter the normal glass door from the sidewalk you find yourself in a small entry area with a windowless door that must be passed through in order to feast on Asian delights. Upon entering we were met with an upscale looking interior with a bar and divided dining area. They had clearly done quite a bit of expansion and renovation to the former space. We were seated in one of the oversized booths and began our menu deliberations.
We decided to try one of their Korean specialties, Bi Bim Bap as well as some maki sushi. Hana cafe offers a “bento box” lunch special which is like the Japanese version of a frozen dinner except that it’s not frozen and it doesn’t taste like steamed socks. You simply pick from one of several maki rolls and it comes served in a partitioned box that includes and egg roll, salad, and steamed rice. We ordered a shrimp tempura roll with our bento box and tried a crunchy California roll as well. The shrimp tempura roll was fine, but nothing spectacular. The crunchy Cali roll was very good served with a sweet sauce drizzled over the top. The best part of the meal was the Bi Bim Bap, which is a Korean dish with rice, eggs, spinach, carrots, sprouts, and your choice of meat. It is also served with a bowl of moderately spicy sauce on the side. This sauce must be mixed in with the rest of the food to get the full experience. I really liked the Bi Bim Bap, but Steph thought it was a bit too spicy for her.
Wichita has an ever growing list of sushi places and I think that Hana is one of the better ones. They do not have as large a selection as other places, but their prices are reasonable and their proximity to delicious gelato at Caffe Moderne are big pluses. Don’t forget about their Korean dishes because they are solid choices as well. So the next time you are preparing for a wild night of clubbing, just head toward all the pretty lights of Old Town Square and check out one of the aforementioned chain free places.