By Austin Tyner
I have been walking to Teriyaki & Sushi from my apartment in Midlothian for almost two years now. This little restaurant is squeezed between Authentic Massage and a Family Dentistry (which has a smiling, tooth-shaped neon sign in the window) in the Colonial Village shopping center. Unlike nearby sushi restaurant chains, it is a family-owned business and offers delicious sushi and other dishes for a decent price.
Walking in the restaurant, I am greeted by bright tangerine-colored walls, a blonde cashier, paper lanterns, and the menu in large print across the wall above the cash register. While waiting to order, I watch the silent woman in the kitchen make the sushi while I drink a glass of the complimentary cucumber water. My sister Samantha Tyner (‘21) notices that they’ve hung up a new sign, a plain piece of paper that reads‘“HOT Tea $1.95” taped up by the menu on the wall. I order from the cashier, a local high schooler, and she laughs at how much I’m buying.
We sit in the corner window seat, the best seat in the restaurant for people watching. Teriyaki & Sushi is never quite full, but there are always new people coming in. I’ve seen construction workers and other manual laborers who have come in on lunch break, various workers from along the commercial strip, hipster college kids getting take-out, stressed-looking mothers pushing double strollers, and the occasional biker group. Tonight, though, the place is empty, be
sides us and the multiple barefooted children of the owner running around the restaurant.
We find ourselves mouthing along the words to Rihanna’s “Wild Thoughts,” which plays through a tiny little radio partially hidden inside a potted plant. Our food is brought out within ten minutes, and we dig in, but only after I’ve gotten some “foodie” pictures that satisfy me.
I had the seaweed salad and the crunchy California roll with blueberry bubble tea, and Samantha ordered the crispy roll plate with mango bubble tea. I immediately go for the seaweed, eager to try a new dish at my favorite haunt. I am surprised by how much I like it, because I don’t usually like salad or seaweed. I mean, have you ever been swimming and some seaweed wraps around your leg? It’s unpleasant.
I thought it would be slimy, but it is tasty, light, and pleasingly crunchy. Next up is the crunchy California roll, which I eat with chopsticks because the cashier is out of sight, and I see no forks anywhere. The California roll contains crab, avocado and cucumber, wrapped in seaweed paper and white rice, with spicy mayo and crispy bits on top. It is surprisingly hardy, and is easily the best part of my meal.
My sister claimed she was “starving” after her cross country practice, so she had six crispy rolls, which she evidently enjoyed, considering she finished them in record time. She was still hungry, though, so she went back to get two large spring rolls, which she gobbled down equally as fast.
Samantha said, ”the crispy spring rolls were my favorite because they’re small enough to pop into your mouth whole… and they’re fried, so that’s good too.” Last, we had bubble tea, which is essentially a fruit-flavored smoothie with tapioca “bubbles” in the bottom. They were out of my favorite flavor, passion fruit, so Samantha had peach and I had blueberry. After drinking the delicious concoction, I felt better about spending $30 on sushi.
All photos by Austin Tyner.