I haven’t always liked Sushi. Just ask my husband about my first experience 12 years ago. Not only did the thought of raw fish make me queasy, but I am a texture person and so Roe (or fish eggs) getting caught in my teeth… no thanks.
About four years ago I started to explore cooking. I think cooking new foods opened my taste buds to liking new flavors. Either that or aging has refined my senses. I can now say that raw Tuna with a pinch of sea salt is now my favorite flavor.
Walking into Nova Sushi Bar and Asian Fusion, the new Japanese restaurant located in the South River Colony Marketplace, I am pleased with the refined, earthy atmosphere. It is approaching dinnertime and there is one other couple seated. I placed an order for carry out and the Chef is very helpful. I explain that I don’t care for the tempura that seems to be in a lot of the rolls, and he assures me that he can make any roll “to order”.
I order the Alaska roll, which is tuna, salmon and yellowtail wrapped in seaweed and rice. The simple roll with the combined raw fish melts in your mouth like a little taste of heaven. Of course I dip all of my rolls in a mixture of soy sauce and wasabi to add a bit of salty/spiciness.
I order the Spider roll, which is a beautiful crunchy masterpiece filled with soft shell crab, spring mix and cucumber. It has a savory sauce to meld the flavors together.
I order the Hawaii roll, which is wrapped in rice paper for a soft texture filled with mixed greens, shrimp, crab, apple and served with ginseng honey sauce. Although the roll tasted wonderful, it was hard to identify the individual flavors; the overall flavor of the roll was of mixed greens, shrimp and the honey sauce.
On another visit, I order the Lava Roll, which is shrimp tempura and mango topped with salmon, served with a house made strawberry sauce. The strawberry sauce is bitter when tried alone, but the tart sauce marries nice with the raw salmon on top. This is an interesting roll, if you want to try something a bit more on the sweet side.
Finally, to mix things up a tad, I order the Pad Thai. I have only ever tried this dish at “Noodles and Co.”, so obviously I had to compare the two. Nova’s Pad Thai is a mixture of egg, tofu, bean sprout, cilantro, scallion, crushed peanuts and fish sauce. I ordered the vegetable version, which seemed to just add sweet onion into the mix. The overall flavor was mild. Nothing was overwhelming, although I did find the cilantro on the weepy side. The tofu was a strange texture – not crunchy and not soft, but a chewy flavorless bite. The bean spouts, like the cilantro, were overcooked so it didn’t add the crunch that the dish needed. I also like spice, and there was no heat added to the dish. I thought the dish was pleasant with the added saltiness from the soy sauce I added and I would probably, despite my review, order it again.
Overall I give Nova an A- and I am definitely heading back there soon to try some more of Paul’s sushi creations.
Nova is owned and operated by master sushi chef, Li Pol (Paul Lee). And here’s a coupon for you!