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PostHeaderIcon Akira Bistro: Danville Sushi Bar is on a Roll

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In Japanese, there are many meanings for the word Akira, and we think several of those meanings fit the new eatery, Akira Bistro, on the edge of downtown Danville. Akira can mean “brighten, glow and shine,” while it's also translated into English as “stand out or distinguish.” We think Akira on San Ramon Valley Boulevard in the former Masala Indian Fusion spot distinguishes itself as a top-notch sushi bar and Japanese food restaurant.
We went to Akira, which opened in July, on a Friday night and the place was bustling. But even in the rush, one of the owners and a manager greeted us at the door and showed us to our table. The décor is welcoming: stylish lighting, orchids, overhanging Asian umbrellas, dark wood and lots of bamboo.

But one of the best things about Akira is its outdoor patio. Nothing beats sitting outside on an autumn night with a beer, a Bonzai Roll and a cool breeze. Akira is much more than a sushi bar. It’s a full-scale Japanese restaurant with appetizers, a grill, full dinners, a full bar, and a wide selection of noodles and rice bowls.

We started with an Ebi Su salad, ($7.95) a combination of cucumber and seaweed salad topped with large shrimp (ebi). The portion was substantial and the tangy vinegar flavor wets the palate for what’s to come.  You can also choose the salad without any fish or with real crab meat or octopus.

Next we tried the appetizer of tuna poki, ($12.95) a delicious mix of fresh ahi tuna, white onions in a spicy dressing. Again, there was plenty for two people and the dish was so different from just plain ahi sashimi or a grilled ahi appetizer.

Other appetizers include: two oysters on the half shell ($4.95), deep fried, marinated squid ($8.95) and mixed tempura with shrimp and vegetables ($8.95). Another thing we loved about Akira: the large cast-iron pot of green tea the server brought to the table. Not having to ask or wait for a refill was a treat. But, there are plenty of other drinks too: Akira stocks a wide variety of sake and has a full bar if you want a cosmo or lemon drop with dinner.

At Akira, the sashimi and sushi offerings are varied. You’ll find the usual: uni, unagi, hotate, sake, and hamachi nigiri, but the menu also includes: fatty bluefin tuna, Japanese sea bream and Hawaiian butterfish. Nigiri-style sushi and sashimi are priced from $4.95 to $19.95 for a 10-piece sashimi combination of tuna, yellowtail, salmon, white tuna, and hirame. Maki-sushi rolls, from a spider roll to a spicy salmon roll to a rainbow roll, run between $3.95 and $11.95. Rolls are good-sized.

There’s also a menu with special rolls, which includes the Danville Roll: tempura shrimp, spicy tuna, real crab meal, and cucumber inside, and fried batter and hot sauce on the outside for $11.95; and the Mt. Diablo Roll with spicy scallops, real crab meat and avocado inside, and salmon and spicy sauce outside for $14.95. A couple of rolls, a salad and an appetizer is plenty for two people and you won’t break the bank. Not in the mood for sushi?

Akira has soba and udon noodles, with chicken and veggies or shrimp, scallops, fish and crab meat. There's also Donburi,  rice bowls, that are served with fresh tuna, assorted fish, unagi and chicken with onions. Prices for noodles and rice bowls range from $8.95 to $16.95. At the grill, you can try a whole squid for $10.95, salmon belly for $6.95 or short ribs for $8.95.
Dinner combinations are served with miso soup, salad and rice and include: chicken and beef teriyaki, kobe beef, salmon teriyaki, shrimp and vegetable tempura and miso seabass, salmon or hamachi. Dinners will run you $12.95 to $17.95.

Akira is also open for weekday lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with lunch specials starting at $7.95. Lunch is served from noon to 3 p.m. on weekends. Dinner starts at 5 p.m. and goes until 9:30 Mon. to Thurs. and until 10 p.m. on Fri. and Sat. nights. Akira closes at 9 p.m. on Sun.

The restaurant is kid-friendly, and there is a good-sized parking lot out back. Another meaning for Akira in Japanese is to “give someone advice.” Our advice: check out Akira for great sushi, a lively and comfortable atmosphere and attentive service. Akira is located at 499 San Ramon Valley Blvd. For more information, go to sushiakira.com or call (925) 552-5888.  --KB

Last Updated (Tuesday, 13 December 2011 04:28)



0 #1 hillary wolf 2012-02-25 03:32
We absolutley loved your food, thanks, the wolfs

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