After Marcus Kosher Chinese closed, it didn’t take long for Nikuya to open in its place. Billing itself as a Thai and Sushi bistro, they actually have a deeper Japanese menu that attracted us. It’s located in the Shoppes at Loggers’ Run, on the north side of Palmetto Park Road about a mile and a half west of 441:
It’s not cheap, and that’s a good thing. Nor is it terribly expensive. Entrees are mostly between $12 and $17. We didn’t get there sooner because we mostly do our reviews at lunch time and they’re don’t open until 4 pm. We hear they may add lunch service soon. The interior is clean and fresh. There’s room for maybe 30 people at the tables and another 8 or so at the sushi bar. Due to the layout it might be difficult to seat a larger party and we recommend calling first if that’s your plan.
We started with one of our favorite Japanese appetizers, Gyoza. These are dumplings that can be served either steamed (which we prefer) or fried. At $7 it might seem pricey but it came with six pieces and they were excellent.
Please note that better versions of most of the photos in this article can be seen by clicking on them.
Next up was something we didn’t order. Maybe it’s normal or maybe it’s because they noticed the camera, but the waitress brought us out a tuna and avocado appetizer as a courtesy from the chef. Both the tuna and the avocado were noticeably higher quality than another West Boca Japanese place we visited on Christmas Day. The tuna was lightly marinated in a delicate sauce that was perfect for the dish.
We also decided to try a roll that seems popular in South Florida – The JB Roll, with salmon and cream cheese. And maybe we got a little carried away with the camera:
At $8, again it’s not the lowest cost sushi around. But it was a long roll with a lot of pieces and we liked it. Perhaps the only downside of the meal was that the pickled ginger didn’t seem quite right. Maybe it’s just a different flavor but it’s not what this author expected.
One of the kids with us ordered the chicken fried rice, which is a fairly standard dish in Japan – Yakimeshi (炒飯). It’s similar to fried rice in a Chinese restaurant but typically uses a higher grade of rice which seemed to be the case here. It also had a rich comfort-food smell and taste.
The highlight of the meal for this author was something one rarely sees in South Florida – a good bowl of ramen. Americans tend to think of ramen in terms of the cheap instant cup-noodle dishes we see in stores. Ramen is a staple meal in Japan and excellent when done well. For a funny view of that see the Jyuzo Itami movie Tampopo (though not for kids).
At Nikuya they have both Chashu Pork Ramen ($14) and Miso Butter Pork Ramen ($16). I tried the latter and it was the best bowl of ramen I’ve had in a long time.
Sixteen bucks is a lot for a bowl of soup, but this is a very filling entree size and they nailed it in all ways including smell, flavor, consistency, and presentation. They even had the Japanese spice Togarashi when I asked for it.
The other adult at the table had the Cashew Nut Chicken from the Thai menu. It was colorful and enjoyable, another example of a restaurant doing a great job in how they plate the food and present it to the customer.
We got a little carried away and ordered two desserts, the Tortino Chocolate Lava and the Fried Banana.
As with everything else these were presented well. The chocolate lava cake was delicious. The fried banana was pretty and tasted pretty good, but we probably would not order that again. Also the ice cream didn’t seem to be top grade, but went well with the desserts. Next time we hope to try the Cheesecake Roll and maybe the Thai Donut.
We will go back again soon and try more of the Thai menu. There seem to be fewer curry choices than we usually see at Thai restaurants, with both Green Curry and Panang Curry notably absent.
For lower cost Japanese food we’ll keep going to Jidai Kaiten Sushi on Powerline Road in Boca Grove, especially with their ongoing lunch deal.