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Monday, October 24, 2005

Strip Mall Sushi: Shogun

There's a brand new strip mall along Highway 2 just south of the grain elevators and not too long ago Shogun relocated there from the older, established strip mall in Edgewood. So far Shogun is the only tenant so the place is kind of desolate, especially on a chilly Monday night. It almost felt like we weren't in Lincoln.

Once inside the restaurant things brightened up. It's quite a bit more open than the old place and the sushi bar is right off to the left near the entrance and not tucked back in a dark recess. The loud, obnoxious Teppanyaki tables are in a back room and aren't such a distraction to people who want to enjoy a few rolls or pieces of sushi or sashimi without having to yell over applause when someone in the other room does his trained seal act and gets a round of applause from his fellow diners. Yes, it's evident the new Shogun is going to place a greater emphasis on sushi.

The sushi menu has been expanded with quite a few of the complicated everything-but-the-kitchen-sink type rolls. They've also added some of the sashimi and oil appetizers like I've had at Blue in Omaha.

There were five of us eating and between the sashimi, sushi and rolls we probably ordered too much. A few of the highlights were the Reno (salmon, cream cheese and rice wrapped in nori, tempura battered and deep-fried), Tarantula (I can't remember what was inside but it was also deep-fried and topped with flying fish roe, black sesame seeds and a surprisingly spicy sauce), and the Tsunami (oddly named because it was rather small and unassuming, just red pepper, avocado and noodles). The spicy tuna roll and its relatives were like they are in every sushi place in the world; simple, but safe. The roll we ordered but didn't get, the Volcano, sounded great but since we were stuffed we were glad it never showed up.

The sashimi is one of the better deals on the menu. The salmon sashimi was five thick pieces of good, fresh salmon and it wasn't much more expensive than the two piece order of sushi.

The only ordering mistake of the evening was my foray into their new Mexican Ceviche items. I ordered the spicy shrimp cocktail and it was nothing more than a dozen small but flavorful shrimp in a pico de gallo and spicy tomato sauce. It was more like a shrimpy bloody mary than anything else and not worth the $7.95.

Shogun has the tropical drink thing down pretty well too. The mai-tais are properly huge and full of rum and some of the smaller tropical drinks like the creamy piña colada-like Buddha are also boozy enough to justify the $5 price.

I'd heard bad things about the service since the move but the servers tonight were almost overly attentive though they didn't get to the point where they were annoying. I have a feeling this is mostly because of the slow Monday night crowd.

Shogun, like one of its more famous namesakes, Tokugawa Ieyasu, is definitely the most powerful sushi place in Lincoln.

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