Haiku, a Japanese restaurant on East Main Street, is fairly new to downtown. The Japanese sensibility is evident in the simple and elegant décor and the calm of the atmosphere. The prototypical sushi bar is just as it should be. Two or sometimes three sushi chefs behind the bar create freshly made sushi and sashimi that one can point at in the showcase and have made to order while seated at the bar.
Haiku is open for lunch and dinner daily serving lunch specials that come with soup or salad and range in price from $8 to $12. The Lunch Bento Box at $12 is a particularly good value. Sushi and sashimi are served à la carte or in combination platters and are priced by the piece ($2 to $3.50). Sushi entrées range from $15 to $45 for a sushi/sashimi platter for two.
The Dish: The sushi and sashimi are the best bets at Haiku. With 20 varieties of sashimi and 23 varieties of sushi at $2 to $7.50 per piece, you can try quite a few varieties. Be adventurous!
What’s in it?: If you’ve never had sushi, you need to know that sushi and sashimi differ in that sashimi is artfully sliced raw fish – tuna, salmon, fluke, eel, sea urchin, etc. (remember I said there were 20 varieties), served with pickled ginger, wasabi (a sinus clearing horseradish paste) and soy sauce. Sushi is rice-stuffed rolls usually covered in a flat dried seaweed and with fillings such as avocado, raw fish, cucumber or combinations of these.
How’s the taste?: You have to be OK with raw fish to like sushi and especially sashimi. I don’t assume that everyone is, so it’s good to know that the menu offers lots of cooked dishes such as tempura, chicken teriyaki, dumplings and more. But, The Dish here is the raw fish, and for sushi and sashimi to be good, they must be fresh – which they are.
Besides fresh, the presentations are works of art. Most sushi and sashimi are delicate to the taste, depending on the variety ordered. They can be spiked up a bit with the wasabi and soy sauce.
Sides: Miso soup or salad are served with the entrée dishes. The à la carte sushi and sashimi are unaccompanied. There are also appetizers like crispy calamari, negamaki (broiled beef sliced thin) and dumplings as well.
Note: Haiku does not serve alcoholic beverages. You may bring your own wine or beer. They do serve soda and hot tea. You’ll need to ask for these and water specifically. There are also desserts that are not on the menu which also must be requested. The table service is OK but not very attentive.