7673 N. Union Blvd., 599-8689
The small dining room inside Kohnami looks nothing like it used to 10 years ago, when it was a Vienna Beef hot dog spot partially manned by yours truly at age 16. Now the relaxing, seven-table eatery, located right outside a Briargate Gold's Gym and across a large parking lot from Good Company Restaurant and Bar, is filled with dark colors and copper tones, and is quite lovely. A quiet, two-table patio fronts the entrance from the street.
Not at all quiet, meanwhile, is the Monkey Business roll ($7.50), an amalgamation of cream cheese, avocado and banana that's covered with cheddar and baked: It arrives lava-hot and creamy. Each slice first seems sweet, but savory cheese notes soon rush in. Swab it with wasabi, dip it in soy, and high-five yourself as your taste buds high-five each other. — Bryce Crawford
5975 N. Academy Blvd., 593-8249, mobosushi.com
What you should probably get is what I didn't: the pick-your-own three-roll sushi combo for $12.99. What a deal. I inadvertently screwed myself instead on the unagi bowl of broiled freshwater eel over steamed rice and eel sauce for $17.95. It was perfectly sweet, delicate, warm and delicious — eel being my perpetual favorite, especially the saltwater anago — but much smaller than I'd expected, with five eel slices on roughly an inch of rice. You could get eight slices for the same price if ordering two-piece nigiri at $4.50. Oops ...
Still hungry, even after the free miso soup and mini salad, I ordered a bacon, tempura asparagus, avocado and cucumber roll ($7.45) with a spicy mayo garnish. The soft, hot ham was so dominant I could hardly taste the other elements, but it was pleasant nonetheless. — Matthew Schniper
Tako Japanese Restaurant
1840 Dominion Way, 548-9257
When a server greets you at Tako, that server comes with a steaming hot towel for your hands, making you feel five feet from the spa. What you're actually five feet from is a small, lived-in atmosphere, responsive servers and good sushi.
For name and novelty we ordered the Indy ($10.50) — lovingly named by customer request, apparently — and salmon skin ($6.50) rolls. The first was almost sensual, wrapping soft avocado and creamy tuna around a firm inside of thick grilled eel, cucumber sticks and more avocado. The salmon skin was something else, on the other hand — almost like candy. Dense and smoky, like thin fish jerky, it tasted like the sea, instead of the grassy pasture. Perfect with green onion, cucumber and a cute little radish sprout. — Bryce Crawford