Steppin’ Out – Mikuni Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar, Folsom

I have a neighbor named Mike Long, with whom I walk every day when the weather allows. One day a couple of weeks ago when we were walking along the road, he with his two dogs, Sam and Lucy, and I with my two unnamed walking sticks, he told me he wanted to take me out to lunch for my birthday – anywhere I wanted to go.

We talked about different places, one of which is a favorite of his, Mikuni in Folsom.

I told him it didn’t have to be that fancy and that I would be happy with trying the new Jersey Mike’s in Folsom. He replied that he wasn’t buying me a sandwich for my birthday, we were going out to lunch at a real restaurant.

A week ago he reminded me of his promise and told me to pick a place. It turned out he had to go to Folsom on a Wednesday and I said, “Okay, let’s go to Mikuni.”

He likes to beat the crowd, so we left around 11 a.m. to do just that. On the way he mentioned to me that I was going to have a martini with lunch, since it was a celebration of my birthday.

We got there around 11:45 and it was already busy. We were soon seated at a table and he ordered me a martini – my choice of gin, up.

As I was sitting there enjoying my drink I looked around. The restaurant was full of beautiful people having something I hadn’t enjoyed since I had a real job, last century – the business lunch, or what appeared to be a business lunch.

There were tables with two, three and even as many as eight, very few parties of one, except maybe those comfortably seated at the sushi bar.

It was a bit of nostalgia for me, amplified by the fact that can easily remember when these buildings were not there and that whole area was nothing but open fields with the only power line in the area running from tall fence post to tall fence post.

Mike was familiar with the menu. I, on the other hand, having not visited any Mikuni in a long time, asked him order.

We started with two appetizers: Kaizen Ribs (baby back ribs marinated in sweet soy and served naked) and Flaming Shrooms (tempura mushrooms with crab mix, cream cheese, jalapenos, special sauce, shaved bonito flakes and onions).

With them came a small dish of “wasabi” and pickled ginger, both of which I love, but Mike doesn’t. He requested their special mayonnaise and Sriracha, both of which I also enjoyed.

As adept as I am with a knife and fork, I am lost with chopsticks. Mike asked them to bring me a fork, but I was a trooper and continued to bumble along with the two pieces of wood.

The two dishes were both wonderful. The Shrooms had both great flavor and texture and the naked (un-sauced) ribs were delicate and very nicely prepared. As good as they were naked, a tiny bit of Sriracha made the ribs even better.

The two dishes Mike selected for our “main” course were the DMC Roll (Tempura lobster, avocado, crab mix, white tuna, sauce, torched, tempura bits) and, from the Sashimi menu, Hamachi (yellowtail).

If you haven’t guessed, the roll is named for former Sacramento Kings player DeMarcus Cousins

Heavenly, all of it. The slices of raw hamachi had the texture of butter, firm but soft with a freshness of the ocean. The DMC Roll was, in spite of some mixed press, and borrowing some words from baker Frank Vilt, a “Symphony in your mouth,” an exquisite mix of flavors and textures.

Did I want more food, “No.” Did I want another martini, “No.” Did I want dessert, “No.” I was satisfied and happy. Thanks Mike.

The Main Menu at all eight Mikuni restaurants is large, very large. It starts with Small Plates, like the Shrooms and ribs, then Noodles in Soup, Nigiri and Sashimi, Speciality Handrolls, Mikuni Maki Rolls, Non-Raw Rolls, Salads, Greens, Veggie Rolls and Plates from Our Kitchen.
These are followed by Plates from Our Sushi Bar, Donburi, Sides and a long list of Lunch Specials.

Their to-go menu, which includes all of the above, also has a number of party platters for your enjoyment.

There is also a Happy Hours Menu, Specials Menu, Lite Menu, Kids Menu, Gluten Free Menu and more. All their menus, with specifics, are available on line at mikunisushi.com.

The Folsom Mikuni is located at 100 Placerville Road, Suite 100, just north of Highway 50, and is open for lunch weekdays from 11:30 until 4 and on Saturday and Sunday from Noon until 4.

Dinner is served Monday through Thursday 4 until 9:30 and on Friday and Saturday until 10, Sunday, from 4 until 9. Happy Hour is weekdays from 2 until 6. For more information call (916) 934-5250.

Indoor and outdoor (protected) seating is on a first come basis. No reservations.

I sat in a chair facing east. The glare at noon was a bit bright.

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