Andy yells behind the sushi bar “Hello, Dr., Hello, Joy”. Yes we are on a first name basis with the owners and sushi chef of Banzai Thai & Sushi Restaurant. With so many chain restaurants everywhere, it is heartwarming to find a small family-owned one such as Banzai Sushi and Thai Restaurant. We have been eating at this restaurant since they opened over 10 years ago. I know it’s over 10 years ago because their oldest son is now 9 years old:-). It was still owned by Andy’s sister. Andy and “M” took over the business after she moved back to Thailand. We come here for any occasion – birthday, anniversaries, promotions, graduations, etc. When our daughters come home for a visit, we bring them back here as it is also their favorite.
Not only are the owners friendly, the food tastes delicious. It is also very conveniently located in a Publix strip mall about 2 miles from our house . We laughingly consider this an extension of our kitchen for the many times we have come when we are both lazy to cook. They serve a variety of authentic Japanese and Thai dishes which have remained constant over the years. Some of our favorites are Pad Thai, Pad See Ew, Yum Nua, Basil Duck (this is to die for), and of course, any of the sushi dishes, including the Hurricane Roll and Dancing Eel Roll.
Upon arrival, you are invited to pick a place to sit. They have mostly booths but there are tables to accommodate larger parties. The decor is minimal and mostly Thai-inspired.
What sets this restaurant apart from the others is truly their service. After you sit down, you are offered hot, moist towels to clean your hands. This is followed by a free mini bowl of an appetizer/salad. It is a tangy-sweet mix of cucumber, tomatoes, grated carrots with sweet crunchy tempura-like crunchy goodness. The dressing is sweet-sour blend. It is a perfect start to whet your appetite.
I am not sure if they do this for all customers, but every time we go, and as we are waiting for our meal to be served, we would always get an extra appetizer. Tonight’s treat was this crunchy sushi.
Dinner comes with a choice of miso soup or salad. One of our favorite dressings is the Banzai original ginger dressing. If it’s cooler outside, we generally opt for the miso soup.
Ralph went Japanese tonight and ordered the Lady’s Finger below. Check out this beauty. It is a good portion for one person although I did steal one of the tuna rolls:-) I just could not resist.
For me, I went for Thai instead. I had a delicious beef green curry. The meat was tender and the soup was tasty. I love coconut milk! There were slices of green zucchini, carrots, bamboo shoots and basil. It came with a cup of white rice.
The restaurant is located at the Publix Shopping Plaza on Lake Washington (cross street Wickham). They are open Monday-Sunday. Aside from their dinner menu, they also have a wide array of lunch items. I especially love their Sushi-Thai Combo ($12.95). This includes 4 sushi, 4 California rolls, and your choice of either Green Curry or Pad Thai.
Ralph and I always look for local and indigenous restaurants everywhere we go. If you come and visit Florida come and check them out. Let me know what your favorite was and say hello to Andy for us.