Miya “Sushi?”

by mathhbratt

The adventure that I had planned for this weekend (and was super excited about) got cancelled. I was feeling very disgruntled, sad, and upset about this and found myself driving around aimlessly. I didn’t know where I was going, but I didn’t really not want to go. As I was checking out my surroundings on an unfamiliar route, I saw a sign for New Haven. I suddenly remembered the $50 gift card for Miya Sushi I have had sitting in my wallet for over two years (I can never find anybody to go with me), and I decided that today was finally the day to give them a try!  I pulled into the nearest parking lot and entered the address into my gps. My arrival time was calculated to be 2 minutes before opening. Perfect!

I know, this blog was supposed to be about non-food adventures, but this was the best I could do on such short notice.  I’ll be copying and pasting much of this blog into a yelp for the business, but here’s how it all went down…

Nothing all that exciting happened on my drive other than there was an unusually tiny amount of traffic on the way. This was wonderful considering my still perturbed state of mind.

When I pulled up to Miya Sushi, I got the BEST parking spot! I searched my purse for quarters for the meter which I ended up not using, because it was Sunday, and I wasn’t required to pay to park. There were two doors on the front, and I wasn’t sure which to enter, so I went to the left. (I still don’t know what would have happened had I gone right, because there is a giant wall separating the two parts of the restaurant. I missed the “wait here to be seated” sign that was surely hiding when I walked in, and I parked myself in a banquette….a very uncomfortable one at that.

I was really looking forward to trying this place. I remember reading their menu a year or so ago, and it was enormous with all kinds of creative offerings. The menu, now, is quite small. In fact, if you were to order one of each appetizer, one of each roll, and the dessert, you’d spend $70 before tax and tip. That’s the entire menu. I’m not opposed to small menus, though, so that wasn’t really a big problem. The real problem was that there was not any sushi on the menu.  That’s right. No Sushi for you!

My waitress was nice. She had a calm spirit about her that made me feel comfortable being there. She described the mouth-watering specials, and I told her I would try one of each of those, an okra roll, a mussel roll, and the pumpkin miso soup.She explained to me that their menu was seriously reduced when they decided to no longer use any fish that are net caught or farm raised. The only fish offerings were Tilapia and Arctic Char as well as mussels. There was no quail egg, no roe of any kind.

The soup was interesting. It had roasted local pumpkin in it. It tasted similar to soups or stews made in the crock pot with onions slow cooked for a long time. This isn’t my favorite flavor, but I know many who would love such a taste, so I described it as best I could.

The okra roll was just that. It was steamed okra rolled in brown rice and nori. It tasted like there might be some mint involved somewhere, but other than that, it tasted like nothing. The okra was steamed in a way that there was no slime to be found (a sign of some definite culinary skill), but it had no salt or anything to go with it to have it not taste every bit as bland as the brown rice it was wrapped in. I took pieces of ginger and stuffed them in there. That helped, but it needed a lot more help than that.

One thing that was cool was the ginger was not dyed that tacky salmon color. It was the color of fresh ginger. It was pickled, but it was done so very well. While I like the ginger the sushi place at Whole Foods Market uses, Miya’s ginger I loved.

One of the special rolls was a cooked Arctic char with avocado and brie, rolled in tempura flakes, and then fried. I was expecting this to come to me all warm and gooey. It did not. It was as cold as the room, but I will say, it still tasted pretty good. The texture and flavors worked. Had it been hot, or even warm, it would have been super awesome!

The other special roll was dates, figs, raisins, pecans, goat cheese, and broccoli wrapped in a soy wrapper. The server said that it was supposed to be like some Old Testament Biblical food of some kind. I have a degree in Bible and Theology, and I do not remember reading anything about broccoli specifically, but maybe there’s some obscure reference I’m missing? Fittingly, these rolls would have been perfect sans broccoli. The broccoli was overcooked and mushy, and regardless of how it was cooked, it just did not go well with these other flavors at all. The rest of the ingredients, though, were awesome, and it was a super creative concoction.

The star of the show, though, was the mussels roll. Fresh mussels were tempura fried and rolled in brown rice and nori. The mussels were so great that it didn’t matter how much flavor anything else lacked. I think that I tasted oregano or basil in there, but I didn’t spend much time trying to identify the herb taste. I was too busy enjoying the mussels.

Finally, I tried dessert. This is not how any meal should end, ever. The taste I went home with in my mouth will keep me from ever setting foot in this place again. I’ll list the ingredients here and describe it as best I can, because it could just be that this combination is not compatible with my palate but might be for yours. From their online menu (which actually has sashimi on it despite the one in house not having any):

” A sinfully delicious roll of fermented, sundried banana, peanut butter, strawberries, chocolate, and homemade, hand-pounded mochi, topped with baby scoops of rose petal ice cream―eaten in one bite, using your fingers 1 bite-sized piece for $8.00″

Sinful? Yes. Sinfully delicious? Not so much. The description here sounds delicious, but add cardamom and some other odd herbs to this, because the bite of cardamom I got in this dessert stayed with me for quite some time. They don’t warn you about the weird herbs added to this dish. There are some desserts in the world worth paying $8 for just a bite. This is NOT one of them! I’m also pretty sure there were no strawberries nor chocolate in the one served to me either. It tasted like banana, peanut butter, mochi, cardamom, odd unidentifiable herbs that did not belong, and nori.  Yes, nori.  It was so disgusting, I just don’t think anything I can say to describe it can do it justice.  Blech!

I used the rest of my gift card to get three of the rolls I actually liked to take home to go, because I would not be coming back to spend the balance. The service was nice, and the paintings on the wall were great to look at, and there is definitely a lot of creativity brewing within these walls, but my curiosity has been satisfied regarding Miya’s “Sushi.”