Review: Akira, West Chester

We have a lot of friends who live in Dayton, or at least far north of the city.  We try to find a happy medium– a place where we can meet without either of us going too far out of our way.  Sometimes we go to Jag’s (which has a great bar on Friday nights), or Brazenhead.  This time, my friends David and Teresa suggested Akira, a sushi bar in West Chester.

First off, do not follow the directions on Google.  They are really, really wrong.  It is on Tylersville Road, in a strip mall, just past Voice of America Park. It’s pretty easy to miss.

Second, do not be put off by the fake sushi in the window or the somewhat shabby interior.  OK, really shabby interior: there is very little atmosphere, with walls in need of painting and a lot of really bright fluorescent light.

The sushi, however?  That’s what you’re here for, right?  It’s darn good.  When we walked in, the back room, which is made of low tables and pillows, was occupied by a large group of Japanese businessmen.  It’s cliche, but it’s a good sign.

We started off with some tempura shrimp and some potstickers.  They were both good, but unphotographed because we were too busy gabbing.  Thank goodness David pointed out that I had a blog to write.  He’s a good man.

Akira, Sushi

Akira, sushi

Akira, sushi

The standouts were the spicy tuna roll, which was spicy but not overwhelmingly so, and anything involving unagi.  Their unagi was super fresh, a little crispy around the edges, and super tender inside.  It was some of the best unagi I’ve had here in town.  David and Teresa both said their nigiri was very fresh, and it looked it– brightly colored and absolutely beautiful.  The rolls were good as well– collectively, we got a dragon roll and a rainbow roll, and both were flavorful, appropriately sized, and well rolled– nothing fell apart, and everything tasted fresh.

My only problem is that the door said they were open until 10, but around 9:30 the waitress made it very clear that we were to leave– and soon.  I think next time we’d just try to dine earlier so we don’t feel rushed.  I think I have a new favorite sushi place north of Hyde Park.  It’s not romantic, it’s not an impressive space, but here the focus is on the sushi– and they don’t miss a beat.

Akira Japanese on Urbanspoon