In the same serpentine parking lot of a shopping center in Arcadia to which I have been over 100 times in my life - BJ's Brewery (formerly Bennigan's) and AAA are both there - sit a few restaurants in a row that I have never visited, although I have seen them for years. There is an Indian place, a Togo's, a place that doesn't seem to know if it is Asian or Mediterranean (euphemistically called "fusion," I suppose) and a place called Maki & Sushi. It does not look bad but it also does not look like anything special, particularly with all of the Asian options we have in the San Gabriel Valley.
Today I was making plans to go to lunch with a friend. We tossed out a few suggestions until she said "Maki & Sushi?" I always enjoy trying a new place so I said sure. When we got down there, the other restaurants were not very busy, but Maki & Sushi was packed. I took this as a good sign. There was a double-sided color menu of their sushi, and a couple of the rolls were intriguing (the spicy tuna roll topped with jalapeno and sriracha looked particularly delicious/brutal) but the lunch menu looked great.
Every item on the lunch menu came with miso soup, salad, rice, and soy beans. They have about 20 items on the lunch menu; you can order one item for $6.95 or two items for $9.95. I selected the gyoza and spicy tuna roll. My friend chose the gyoza and shrimp & vegetable tempura.
The miso soup was good. Certainly not the best I've ever had but better than average. Then my box arrived. It was awesome, a great value. The salad, which I had ordered with ginger dressing (the other option was peanut) was very good. The gyoza were pretty much the same you get at any restaurant like this, which is to say delicious. The spicy tuna roll, while not spicy, was very fresh. I am not a big fan of edamame so I only ate one.
I can eat a lot, and this box more than filled me up. My friend was full long before I was, so she gave me two pieces of tempura: a shrimp and a sweet potato. The latter was good, but the shrimp tempura was one of the best I have ever had. The tempura batter is fantastic.
The service was very good (much better than a similar place I went to Friday night that I will be posting on this week.) We both had iced tea - black iced tea, which is great - and we were never lacking for a refill. And when we left at least three people smiled and say "thank you, goodbye."
The meal wasn't so great that I am kicking myself for never having been there before. But it was very good. It was fresh, the service was good, and we got a very large amount of food for a reasonable price. It's possible that I may never return to Maki & Sushi - there are so many restaurants and so little time - but I am certainly glad I had lunch there today.