Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ronin Sushi Cafe

Visited on Thursday, September 24th

Outside Ronin

Erin's Review
Our 4th wedding anniversary was on September 24th, and neither of us had any real ideas for what we could do. The only thing we knew we had to do was go and pick up my parents' dog Maggie in Apple Valley to watch her that weekend. Ben had been wanting to go to Ronin for the reasons he talks about below, so I gave in - I had been having major cravings for sushi and he's always wanting Thai, so it seemed like a good compromise.

When we got there, it was just us and a few families - not full at all. I think there was only one actual server working, so she was still kept pretty busy. We were seated quickly, but it took awhile to get drinks and water and to actually place our order, but the wait wasn't anything to get upset about.

Menu Suggestions

The menu was pretty funny, as it had pictures of everything that for some reason looked comical to me. There were also some recommended items, such as a side of rice... lovely :) I knew I wanted sushi, and obviously my options are limited due to pregnancy. I know you CAN have raw fish from a trusted place, but I figured I'd stick with veggie/cooked rolls to be on the safe side. I ordered the veggie roll with cream cheese and spicy mayo on the side (plain veggie rolls just don't do it for me) and the dragon roll, which had ell and shrimp. As a last minute add, I threw in a bowl of miso soup since it was FREEZING in there. Good thing I had grabbed a jacket before leaving the house!

Miso Soup

My soup came out quickly, and it was tasty despite being not very hot. I was starving so I ate it without complaint. My veggie roll came out quickly and was quite good, but would have been pretty blah without the cream cheese. The dragon roll came out a bit later and really hit the spot - it was delicious! It was also much larger than I anticipated, so Ben helped me out with it after he couldn't handle his pad thai.

Veggie Roll with cream cheese and spicy mayo on the side

Dragon Roll

I was pleasantly surprised with Ronin - it had a nice ambiance and the food was delicious. If you are in the Lakeville/Apple Valley area, check it out.

Ben's Review
After hearing the crazy story that the owner of Ronin has been through lately we decided to go there for our anniversary dinner, since we were heading to Apple Valley that night to pick up Maggie for the weekend. Ronin also came highly recommended from Bill Roehl as having the best Thai food in the south suburbs.

Ronin is located in the same strip mall as Carbone's Pizza, which opened when I was in high school at Lakeville and has some damn good pizza, as I recall. Ronin occupies a small corner of the mall on the north side, next to 160th St.

It wasn't busy when we arrived around 7pm or so on a Thursday night, there were about three tables occupied and some people squeezed into the sushi bar at the back. We were seated right away by the hostess and browsed the menu for awhile while we waited for our server.


The menu at Ronin is nice as it has pictures of nearly every menu item, very helpful when you don't necessarily know what everything means. They have a good mix of Thai food and sushi which makes it a good compromise for when not everyone wants Thai food (Erin). Falling back on the old saying "when you're at a burger place - get a burger", I ordered the Pad Thai with chicken, at the level four spiciness (out of five). The past few times I've ordered Thai food I've gone with three or four and never been too impressed with the heat of the food. Bill assured me they make food spicy at Ronin and the server also added that the particular chef that night liked to make things hot. I felt ready, and was getting excited for a big plate of Pad Thai in my belly, to complement the Fat Tire I'd also ordered.

Fat Tire

Our food came quickly enough, maybe fifteen minutes or so, and we dug in - me with my Pad Thai and Erin with her pregnancy-approved sushi dishes. The Pad Thai started out great, the spice level was hot and the flavor was fantastic, everything I wanted in a Pad Thai. I got about a quarter of the way into the Pad Thai before the heat really started to build up and I quickly realized I was out of my league. I couldn't seem to tame the heat in my mouth and I was torn because the Pad Thai tasted so good, but every bite made my mouth heat up again. Erin eventually had to pull the dish away and force me to save it for lunch the next day (though I snuck some more when she went to the bathroom).

Chicken Pad Thai

I did end up saving the rest of the Pad Thai for lunch the next day, but the heat was mysteriously gone after microwaving it. I had no problem finishing it for lunch and my mouth didn't hurt at all, maybe I had burnt it too bad the night before, who knows? It was still great for lunch :)

I was tempted to buy a gift card to Ronin on our way out, but we just aren't in the area enough to convince me to get it, we already have an envelope of gift cards that don't get used and I didn't need to add to the pile. BUT, they have a great deal on gift cards right now, buy a $50 card and get a $10 card free, so I would encourage you to get down there and try out the food and pick up a gift card if you live nearby.
  • Service: Service was OK. It took awhile for our server to get around to us, but other than that no problems.
  • Food: Fantastic Pad Thai, though I'll go with the level three next time, and Erin's sushi was great.
  • Drinks: They have beer, wine, and (I love this) "liquor available four ways - w/soda, w/tonic, on the rocks, or straight up" that's my kind of bar!
  • Ambiance: It was cold when we were there, but the Pad Thai helped that :) Seems like a family friendly place as we saw several children while we were there.
  • Price: Prices were right on par, or maybe a little under, for the Pad Thai ($8 plus $3 for chicken) and the sushi was reasonably priced as well.
  • Convenience: Plenty of parking available, as we were in the suburbs, and being so close to Cedar Ronin is pretty easy to get to from many places.
Ronin Sushi Cafe
7704 160th Street
Lakeville, MN