Cari Taylor-Carlson

Hungry Sumo Won’t Leave You Hungry

Bay View bistro offers sushi and other Asian fare. A big menu with good food.

By - Aug 8th, 2023 12:28 pm
Hungry Sumo Sushi Bar & Asian Bistro. Photo taken July 12, 2023 by Cari Taylor-Carlson.

Hungry Sumo Sushi Bar & Asian Bistro. Photo by Cari Taylor-Carlson.

The Hungry Sumo Sushi Bar & Asian Bistro has a big name and a big menu. The generous portions guarantee a full belly, while your eyes and your palate will be delighted by the artistic presentations, the aromas and the flavors you will discover in each bite.

But deciding what to order is not easy. You will find an impressive menu that runs the gamut of dishes found in sushi bars plus several Thai dishes, a few tempura choices, and four teriyaki bowls.

What to order? You can begin with a Starter such as Creamy Crab Wontons, six crisp wontons filled with imitation crab, cream cheese, and celery. Do not be put off by “imitation” crab because every bite exploded with flavor. We all thought we were eating real crab until someone went back to look at the menu. A sweet and sour dipping sauce was nice, but not necessary.

The list of Starters is extensive, and includes Tempura, Calamari, and Hottie Hottie, spicy tuna served on crisp rice with soy sauce and spicy mayo. On the menu it is marked with a fire symbol, a warning for the heat-averse. During the week you can order a Lunch Special and given the many choices we found on the rest of the menu, we decided this would be a fine way to begin exploring the cuisine at Hungry Sumo. Thai Lunch Specials include Pad Thai, Pad See Eiw, Spicy Basil, Mixed Vegetable Delight, and Red or Green Curry.

I ordered Pad See Eiw and for my appetizer, I chose the Potato Egg Roll which was filled with noodles, veggies, and potato. Our server brought it to the table only seconds after it left the fryer. My Tom Yum Soup had the ideal blend of spicy and sour with many unexpected chunks of chicken in the broth. It came in a small bowl with a lid that kept it hot as it should be.

The Pad See Eiw had more meat, in this case chicken, than any Pad See Eiw I have ever had and that includes one from a street vendor in Bangkok. It was also enough for a second meal at home.

The Teriyaki Bento Box, also a Lunch Special, came with Miso Soup, two pieces of Gyoza, and rice. For her meat my companion chose the steak and replaced Jasmine Rice with Black Rice, a good choice as the Black Rice had hefty kernels that were chewy and far from dull with their distinct rice flavor.

The Miso Soup which often tends toward bland, tasted of the sea. The Gyoza, two pan-seared dumplings, resembled baby potstickers and were tasty when dipped in the sweet and sour sauce. The main event in the box, the steak, was tender, juicy, and filled with the flavors of the teriyaki marinade. To fill out compartment number four in the Bento Box, the chef added a small salad that added color to the aesthetics of the presentation.

Maki, also a Lunch Special, offered a long list of enticing options. You can choose two for $12.95 or three for $16.95. The Avocado-Cucumber was our veggie choice and we paired it with the Spicy Shrimp. Each roll included eight pieces, a substantial meal along with the cup of Miso Soup which was included in the special.

The Avocado-Cucumber Maki had relatively mild flavors while the Spicy Shrimp lived up to its “spicy” designation with its perfect interplay between the rice, the shrimp, and the dollop of spicy mayo on top. The spicy did not overwhelm the flavor of the shrimp and the rice, a tricky balance that made an impressive mélange of flavors.

We ordered Thai Ice Tea for our beverages. It was a sweet and refreshing tea made with half and half, sugar, and black tea. Of course, there were more than a few calories in the tea, but it paired well with everything we ordered as if this creamy beverage was invented just to please aficionados of Japanese and Thai cuisine.

Also on the menu, you will find a vast choice of Nigiri/Sashimi, hand-pressed sushi rice with raw fish. You can choose from Bluefin Tuna, Sweet Shrimp, Salmon Roe, Yellowtail, and more. There’s a Teriyaki Bowl with Tofu, Chicken, Steak, or Salmon, and for Vegans, a Crispy Tofu Poke. For more Sashimi there is Don-Buri, rice with Tuna, Yellowtail, Japanese BBQ-Eel, and many more choices that all sounded good.

In addition to the Classic Make, you can also choose from the Contemporary Maki list, where the combinations are more complex such as the Sweet Monster, soft shell crab, tempura, cream cheese, avocado, spicy mayo topped with tuna, salmon, black tobiko, and unagi sauce. It is marked with that red spicy heat symbol as are all the Contemporary Maki.

The “Bistro” in the name of Hungry Sumo is appropriate. Like a classic bistro, the restaurant is small and crowded at lunchtime. Both times I was there, one unflappable server took care of all the tables. After we told him what we wanted, we realized he did not write anything down. We were served our lunch by the same server, exactly what we had ordered.

I often drive past Hungry Sumo on the way to somewhere else on Kinnickinnic. It is always busy. Now I know why!


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