I will admit, prior to actually going into NaNa Asian Fusion, I was a little apprehensive that this new place would feel cold and be too expensive for us to go as a couple for a real meal, let alone take the kids.
But my visit there Monday night with my daughter proved to be delightful. I felt lucky to be eating there, from the comfortable and upscale bar to the textured booths with excellent lighting and dark wood tables. Feels like they know what they are doing with space and lighting, and it really felt like a special occasion, though it didn't break the bank.
The booths are low, so you can see the people behind you rather well, but for me that was good because my restaurant neighbors ordered a Shirley Temple ($2) for their daughter and Edamame appetizer ($5) right away, which I copied and was glad I did. The menu is a bit challenging to navigate if you don't hang out at Asian fusion restaurants. The headlines on the pages are a little light, so you should make two full passes over the entire menu. There is a crossing between traditionally Chinese elements to Japanese elements, and it is OK to chase your General Tso with sashimi.
Everything we had was outstanding in quality and flavor. Reviews from others express enthusiasm for this gem in the 'Wood.
"The food is delicious, and the lunch deal is amazing," said Barb Xistris.
My daughter, Helen, enjoyed her side of white rice (brown rice will soon be available), and I was thrilled to find a high quality seaweed salad for me ($5 - less than the Metro Market price, and so much better). The Malaysian curry was recommended, and the tureen and taste were wonderful. I would recommend something other than the chicken for now, as the meat was rather close to the skin and kind of floppy, so I sent it back. Have never done that before, but this is a learning curve for both customer and restaurant. There were many large chunks of green pepper in it, which was crispy but unfortunately I am not a huge fan — but the curry itself was mild and sizzled happily in the tureen. The bar is open, and there is wine, warm and cold sake, and fancy mixed drinks (that are about $8. I had to ask).
Because of the affordability and freshness, testing out new cuisine here is a very gentle training ground, especially at lunch.
There is a page of lunch specials from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. daily that include soup with traditional Chinese dishes ($7 to $8.50). The other lunch special is Japanese, and includes ginger salad and miso soup, with sushi or sashimi from $11 to $15. The roll combo special gives you two rolls for $9 or three for $11.
Another family, the Kovalcik's, were dining as a full family at the restaurant for dinner — two parents, two children — and ordered both sushi and Chinese entrees for dinner. Lisa Kovalick mentioned that she had already brought the sushi-loving son there for lunch that week, and the two had a wonderful time, and even had a few leftovers, allowing dad, Bill, to try it out too.
"That spicy tuna roll was really good, even the next day," he said.
Like us, after dinner they ordered the ice cream tempura. And, like ours, there was not a drop left on the plate.
According to new manager Danny (who might look familiar if you've frequented North Star Bistro — he was hired away from there on Wednesday), the restaurant will be evaluating its menu and specials over the next month, to cater to the tastes of its customers, (Translation - GO, and give feedback). He says, for children, they often recommend the Philadelphia roll, because the cream cheese is popular with kids.
NaNa Asian Fusion was covered in the Patch when it opened.
And finally, what warmed my heart was seeing a man enter the restaurant alone, ask for a table for one, and be treated like a king, seated at the attractive bar (you can eat there, too) with smiling staff, bartender and sushi bar chefs all creating a special dining experience for him. This place is something to celebrate.
Shorewood..Sushi, really? Yes, Shorewood, Sushi. Really. And then some.