Is sushi the perfect food?

The helmeted motorcyclist working for Panko is perpetually on the move, delivering takeaway to the far-flung corners of Ra’anana and beyond.

Panko (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The helmeted motorcyclist working for Panko is perpetually on the move, delivering takeaway to the far-flung corners of Ra’anana and beyond.
It occurred to me that this is a pity. Those customers eat the food at home and don’t enjoy the aesthetic surroundings of the restaurant itself. Set on a busy corner of the main drag, Panko is spotlessly clean with glass walls on two sides, a dark parquet floor and gray, rough-finished walls.
An Asian chef can be seen working away in the kitchen beyond, while a young and very helpful waiter, Daniel, takes care of the diners sitting inside or at the pavement tables outside.
As the place is renowned for its sushi we decided to begin our meal with a selection of these. The menu offers an infinite variety of every possible sushi combination but we left the choice to Daniel and were served something called Rainbow Roll (NIS 42).
This consisted of eight pieces of classic sushi rolls, four topped with a slice of fresh raw salmon, four with tuna. For a small hors d’oeuvre it packed a large amount of food – nori seaweed of course, rice and the filling which consisted of avocado, some silky tofu, and crispy sweet potato chunks. Eaten (with chopsticks naturally) dipped into soy and/or mandarin sauce, the sushi were outstanding – and very filling. So much so that we decided to share the main course, a chicken Pad Thai (NIS 55)
This can be something of a movable feast with a chef throwing in whatever he has at hand. But some things are constant: the thin rice noodles, the thinly sliced vegetables such as carrot sticks, the lemon or lime garnish and the sprinkling of peanuts on the top. This version had tossed broccoli, red peppers, cabbage and a very generous amount of chicken breast marinated in something spicy and cut into eating-size chunks.
The dish was nice and hot, freshly made and far too generous a portion even for two (NIS 55). As an unexpected side dish, we were also served a plate of pickled vegetables, mostly white cabbage. This was rather sweet so we treated it as dessert since the restaurant doesn’t offer any.
Having developed a theory of late that sushi is the perfect healthy food, being a neat package of carbohydrate, protein and vegetables, I consulted with my personal dietitian who happens to be my daughter Anna.
She concurred that sushi contains many ingredients that are good for us, like omega 3 in the fish, and vitamins in the vegetables. But sushi rice, which is perhaps 90% of the dish, is glutinous and has a high glycemic index – definitely not recommended for diabetics and the like.
So perhaps a sushi restaurant is not a health farm, we get it. But it can still make for a very enjoyable evening out.
Ahuza St. 135, Ra’anana, 09-774-5353
Sunday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.