Rare Japanese fare

Miyako offers kosher sushi outside the box.

kosher sushi  370 (photo credit: Courtesy)
kosher sushi 370
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Due to halachic constraints, it often seems like if you’ve been to one kosher sushi place, you’ve been to them all.
The menu is almost always limited to tuna, salmon and vegetable rolls – never anything outside the box.
However, Miyako has raised the game a notch with a variety of fare rarely seen in kosher sushi establishments. The restaurant opened near the Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan 10 years ago and became kosher at the beginning of this year.
Owner Pini Cohen says he noticed that restaurants certified by the Rabbinate were much more crowded than his, so he worked hard to adjust his sushi bar to the religious standards. According to Cohen, business has been booming in the past few months, though the restaurant was mostly empty during my late lunch, only one day before Miyako's kitchen was made kosher for Passover.
My husband and I took a seat near the restaurant’s windowed front overlooking bustling Menachem Begin Street. Miyako has a modern design with simple, clean lines and contrasting gray and orange walls and furniture.
Throughout the long dining room there is a somewhat campy Asian motif, consisting of bamboo designs etched in glass, and bamboo sticks planted high on the bright-orange wall behind the long, fully stocked bar, as well as Japanese characters painted on canvases.
We started off our meal with delicious warm sake (NIS 30) and edamame – soy beans in their pods – (NIS 18), which was served with extra salt on the side – a nice touch.
For an appetizer, we ordered gyoza (NIS 28) – dumplings filled with ground chicken and vegetables that had a strong savory taste and a soft, melt-inyour- mouth texture.
When we reached the sushi part of the menu, we realized that Miyako offered far more varied fare than the kosher restaurants to which we were accustomed, so we called over our cheerful waitress, who patiently described the items on the menu to her Japaneseimpaired customers. She recommended two Miyako specialties, which were different from the typical fish-vegetablesseaweed- rice sushi combination.
The hinomaro roll (NIS 60) consists of tuna, avocado and rice wrapped in salmon but had no seaweed in it. As a result, while it tasted delicious, the roll’s texture was odd, and would have been better if it had more of a crunch to it.
The fire-dragon roll (NIS 55) was our favorite, and its crunchiness was more than satisfactory. It consisted of salmon, sea bass, tamago, sweet potato and avocado – no rice – all coated in tempura.
We also ordered something a bit more traditional and were not disappointed. The rainbow roll (NIS 50) has both rice and seaweed, as well as salmon, avocado and red tuna, with another thin slice of salmon wrapped around the seaweed.
Miyako also serves steak, chicken and fish but is very sushicentric. Its sushi specials are colorful and served on interestingly shaped plates with funky designs drawn in sauce.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Miyako Kosher – Ramat Gan Rabbinate, Gush Katif vegetables
7 Menachem Begin St., Ramat Gan
Tel: 057-942-8681
Sunday-Thursday, noon to 10 p.m.