Rice BLVD is a new Japanese restaurant located in the Gateway by The University of Toledo. The owner and chef is Jun Park, with fourteen years of restaurant experience, including a stint at the renowned Kyota Ka.
The menu presents thirty-two sushi roll varieties. At a restaurant, such sushi can be expensive, between ten and twenty dollars for eight to ten pieces, but at Rice BLVD, the most expensive roll is just $10.95; the same high quality restaurant sushi for a fast food price.
Chef Jun wants to expand his menu by including a stronger variety of sashimi as his reputation among the local community grows. Currently, it’s a predominantly anyone affiliated with UT crowd on the go, and so there are no waitresses, no tipping, long lines, yet quick service. Think fast food with the potential to be Paneraesque.
I asked Chef Jun about the freshness of his fish. I had already finished an Alaskan roll, the salmon moist and creamy. Previously frozen salmon is not as soft, like eating a fruit roll-up versus the actual fruit. I knew the answer to my question. Yes, his salmon arrives fresh, whole and undressed.
I also ordered Udon noodles. Served with single bites of imitation crab, scallions, and half a boiled egg, the noodles felt like gummy worms, a beautiful texture that indicated freshness. As it turned out, the noodles are made from scratch.
There is an underlining methodology to the Udon dish: its light broth pairs well with the density of the noodles, while the small portions of protein provide a vaguely similar texture, yet uniquely bright.
In addition, order the fresh tea to soften your pallet, and combined with excellent fare and an atmosphere of classical music, imagine yourself as aristocrats dining out in Japan.