Location: Wild Rice, 4624 A Broadway Road, Allentown, PA 18104, 610-395-7888
Foodie Factor: 4/5
Service Quality: 5/5
Probably some of the best sushi in the area for presentation, price & quality.
Their website claims “the largest” Asian restaurant in Allentown. I beg to differ. If anyone has stepped foot into A1, Teppan, or any of the other “mega-hibachi” centers in our area, you know what I mean. Wild Rice is maybe a quarter the size of these other establishments, but they are probably about four times as good – at least in the sushi department.
I went in with a group of eight on a Sunday afternoon. As expected, the place was empty. By the time we left, about four tables were full. This leads to an inaccurate assessment of service, considering the wait staff had nothing else to do except dote on us – which they did in spades. Although, I fully expect their friendliness to carry over to peak times.
The atmosphere is modern. The music is Lady GaGa. The menu is colorful – and so is the food.
With a large group, we were able to bench-test the gambit of the kitchen and sushi chefs. Appetizers and non-sushi dishes were medium to good. The prices are certainly very agreeable, and nothing was poorly done. However, I didn’t care for the miso soup, and the pre-packaged dim sum were…well, pre-packaged dim sum. (This leads me to aside: Why is there no dedicated dim-sum restaurants in our area?! You can find them by the dozen in San Francisco, but for some reason – all we get here is hibachi, Chinese, Thai or sushi. WHERE IS MY DIM SUM?)
Wild Rice does have a hibachi, but unless you need shrimp thrown at you, I’d avoid it for a calmer environment. The few dishes from the kitchen, while priced appropriately did not blow me away. The real star of the show is the sushi. Amazing looking plates and quality fish combine for probably one of the best sushi experiences in the area. Tuna, Salmon, Eel, Yellow Tail – you name it, all nicely prepared and without a hint of “expiration date” fishy taste. Personally, I have learned to avoid the special rolls section, as they are usually sauce coated Americanized over-the-top creations that do everything but let you taste the fish. However, I did try the one Chilean Sea Bass special roll which was sauteed in yuzu & soy glaze – and I was happy to enjoy the sweet complex flavors of the meat. At $15 this was one of the priciest options on the menu. They have a variety of fried desserts, but most were mediocre. Consider, for example, the Creme Brulee which was extremely eggy – and without much “brulee”.
Wild Rice is BYOB, which helps to keep costs down – and I was not unhappy with the total of the bill when considering the quality of the food. I will be going back again to sample their kitchen options in more depth, as they have a pretty expansive selection, but will certainly be getting another plate of sushi no matter what else I order.