- 512 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA, 50309
- Overall User Rating:
- (30 ratings)
- Lunch Tuesday-Saturday11a.m.-2:30pm Dinner Tuesday-Thursday 5:00pm - 9:00p.m. Friday&Saturday 5pm-10pm Closed Sunday and Monday
- Official Web Site:
For many years, my husband's job took him to Japan, where he developed a passion for sushi. I never shared his zeal - the thought of eating raw fish, even with rice, made me squirmy-until I discovered Miyabi 9. In frequent visits to the Japanese restaurant, I've grown to relish the fresh, clean flavors of owner-chef Mike Miyabi's exquisitely prepared nigiri sushi. I wasn't surprised to learn that Miyabi was once a master chef in Osaka; his cuisine is as authentic as anything my husband and I have enjoyed in Japan.
Ambiance: A cracked cement floor, white tin ceiling and Formica-topped black tables give Miyabi 9 that trendy yet casually comfortable look common among East Village venues. The small size - 10 tables, plus eight seats at the sushi bar-and indirect lighting create an intimate atmosphere, while blond maple paneling adds warmth.
What to order: Nigiri sushi reigns. Each piece consists of a slice of raw fish draped over an oval mound of hand-rolled rice with a thin stripe of wasabi. (Sashimi is raw fish served alone, without the rice.) Best of show included the tender tuna; deep, rich salmon; and bright, palate-opening yellow tail. The delicate, slightly nutty-tasting rice and artful presentation are the kind of details that distinguish Miyabi from the also-rans.
If sushi seems a bit intimidating, go for the excellent rolls. Bites of either cooked or raw seafood are rolled in rice with vegetables and sometimes a sauce. The "tuna special," with raw tuna, cucumber and avocado, always pleases.
The tempura vegetables taste so light that you can't believe they're deep-fried - who knew fried asparagus could be so heavenly? The slightly salty miso soup, with spare amounts of tofu, seaweed and scallions, entices even on steamy summer days. Other stand-outs: Shumai steamed shrimp dumplings - don't get them fried - edamame and the seaweed or squid salads.
What to skip: Some of the "specialty" dinners disappointed. The chicken cutlet came out bland and dry, the beef teriyaki one-dimensional. Presentation on both was equally ho-hum. I get the feeling such fare is offered to appease sushi-shy diners but that the chef's passions lie elsewhere.
Service: Our servers were friendly but not too familiar, attentive but not intrusive. Even when the restaurant reached capacity, our food arrived in a timely manner.
Bottom Line: Mostly stellar Japanese cuisine in an inviting atmosphere.