Located approximately two blocks away from Ye’s Sushi in Downtown Kitchener, Niko Niko Roll & Sushi is the perfect chance to gallantly challenge the mistakenly perceived as I-will-not-be-fed-completely non-AYCE sushi dinner, if you happen to be fighting a sushi craving.
Niko Niko translates to smile. Smiling sushi? I guess the owners hope that customers will leave the restaurant smiling. Well, I did.
The long interior provides capacity for larger groups. Despite having dined at Niko Niko on numerous occasions (lunch/dinner), I do not recall ever being in an overly crowded Niko Niko. Servers wore name tags and were always quick to seat and serve.
Found this amusing comment on Kitchener Wiki:
The wall mural inside is of the streets in Venice and does not relate to sushi at all. It’s possible that this used to be an olive garden and they decided to just go with it.
Maybe, but I have never actually paid enough attention to the wall mural to notice.
On the Table for Maple:
- Assorted Sashimi 15 pieces ($17+)
- Dragon Roll ($12.90)
- Niko Niko Roll ($10.90)
- Caterpillar Roll ($12.90)
- Love-love Roll ($11.90)
- Rainbow Roll ($10.90)
All rolls contain cucumber, avocado and masago (capelin roe). Every order also comes with complimentary house salad and miso soup. The order above fed five people.
Salad was a basic lettuce and tomato combination with carrots strip. The in-house wasabi-miso dressing packs a punch. Slightly stinging with a little zesty kick. I am not a fan of wasabi but enjoyed the bold dressing, which is a refreshing change from the sweet gingery dressing typically used.
Miso soup was served hot, not warm. I am not complaining though, I love hot soup! I seem to have a very temperature-insensitive palate. Food either has to be served very hot, or distinctly chilled. Perhaps I subconsciously associate lukewarm items with staleness, so warm soups seem to cool down way too quickly at the table. Hot soups, on the other hand, will magically adjust to the perfect soup temperature upon consumption. Yay for hot soup!
I am not sure why the sashimi was served with a wedge of lemon. Were we supposed to squeeze some lemon juice onto the raw fish? I don’t think that is the right way though…
For sashimi, I tend to favour salmon or butterfish; both of which have a fattier texture and richer bite. I find the surf clam and white fish too plain, while tuna is a hit and miss of either flat out tasteless or oddly sour.
Niko Niko’s sashimi was alright, but nothing extremely spectacular as the raw fish did not taste as sweet as I was hoping they would. The rolls were definitely the star of the meal. I stared intently across the sushi bar as their sushi chef crafted each roll meticulously. More impressively, our large order was promptly served all at once.
The most delicious roll award goes to:
Dragon roll – BBQ eel (unagi) and avocado on shrimp tempura roll.
The BBQ eel added a sweet twist to the plain tempura shrimp roll. Compared to the basic California roll, the tempura shrimp roll has an added crunch to it. However, I thought the rice layer was too thick. It resulted in an over-sized roll, which can be hard to elegantly eat on any gathering/date. Rolls are supposed to be bite-sized!
The weirdest sushi roll award goes to:
Niko Niko roll – Spicy tuna, cream cheese and shrimp tempura.
If you are wondering why we ordered this, I am asking myself the same question too. Friend M wanted to try this since it is their signature Niko Niko roll. I have said this umpteen times – cream cheese on sushi is just not right!! Try putting soy sauce on your bagel the next time?
The cutest sushi roll award goes to:
Caterpillar roll – Avocado, tobiko and Japanese mayo on California roll.
The avocado was beautifully layered, with equal portions of each ingredient within the California roll. Very impressive but again, rice layer was too thick.
The creative name sushi roll award goes to:
Love Love roll – Salmon wrapped California roll, topped with spicy tuna and tobiko.
The name just makes me chuckle. I love how this roll was presented in a non-traditional manner, with a huge slice of raw salmon accompanying each bite. However, the toppings were slightly awkward to eat.
The prettiest sushi roll award goes to:
Rainbow roll – assorted sashimi on California roll.
You can never go wrong with the beautiful rainbow roll. Again, lemon wedges were served with each roll so I was confused as to whether the chef expected us to use the lemon or was it purely for presentation purposes?
Niko Niko undoubtedly provides a fresh and artistic take on sushi rolls. Have yet to try any of their Teriyaki items or Korean menu items but heard positive reviews about them. Authentic? Nope. Delicious? Yup! Note that they are close Sundays and between 3-4.30pm for breaks on weekdays.
My favourite part about dining at Niko Niko?
Lovely presentation right till the end.
1) $$ – one roll is about $10+
2) Spacious, never overly crowded or busy
3) Service was fast and thoughtful, rolls were served altogether despite large order
4) Artfully presented rolls