Okinawa brings Japanese veggie options to the southwest suburbs

Categories: Veggie Girl

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Michael Zheng opened Okinawa in late 2010 at 2301 East Colfax Avenue, in a spot that had failed before as a sushi joint -- but it's done well enough that Zheng opened another outpost of Okinawa in a strip mall at 12652 West Ken Caryl Avenue, in a space that was formerly the home of a Big Papa's BBQ.

The space doesn't hold the slightest hint of barbecue, though: It's been given an overhaul, with expanded seating in the form of spacious tables and deep, comfy booths. The walls are bright, with swordfish images embossed atop the glossy paint; one of the flat-screen televisions rotates images of sushi, while another above the sushi bar is likely to be showing a ball game.

This Okinawa was lively when we stopped in on a Friday evening, with families and couples popping in and out for take-away or sitting down for expansive platters of sushi. Although we couldn't resist ordering some sushi, the main event was the stir-fried yaki soba dish (which can also be ordered as a soup), with squash, broccolini, carrots, onions and other veggies fried up with extra-thin soba noodles and topped with pickled ginger and a smattering of dried seaweed. The vegetables were pleasantly firm; the noodles were perfectly cooked, neither soggy nor tough.

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Okinawa's vegetarian sushi options are impressive, and the restaurant thoughtfully separates vegetarian two-piece and roll orders from its array of fish options. The four pieces closest to the bottom of the photo are two-piece sushi orders, eggplant and avocado, and clockwise behind those are the asparagus tempura roll, the fried sweet-potato roll and an avocado roll. While all the sushi was delicious, the eggplant is definitely worth ordering a la carte; it's beautifully cooked and savory, not at all rubbery or slimy, and not something you can order at many sushi joints.

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The peanut avocado roll is another combination you don't see at many restaurants, but it's ingenious; the salty crunch of the peanuts combines nicely with the creamy richness of the avocado.

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To start, we tried Okinawa's seaweed salad, mixed greens topped with marinated seaweed and sesame seeds; it's definitely worth the slightly pricy add-on for a starter salad ($5).

Okinawa is open daily for lunch and dinner; call 720-981-9088.

Location Info

Okinawa

12652 W. Ken Caryl Ave., Littleton, CO

Category: Restaurant


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