During our vacation last fall, we stayed out in Brentwood, TN - a nice upscale area of Nashville. We contemplated going into the city to get something to eat, but we checked with the front desk to see if they had a list of area restaurants. They did, but it was sparse and a couple of the places on the list we had already tried on visits before. We did spy a sushi place on the list - Hanabi - and decided to head over there for dinner.
Hanabi was close to the hotel, but sort of difficult to find. It was back in an office park area in a small strip mall way off the beaten path. (see map) We passed by it once because it was sort of hidden back in a corner. But we were able to find it and we walked in around 7:00 p.m.
We were greeted by Helen, who identified herself as the owner of the restaurant. She said that Hanabi had been open for 9 years. I asked her what Hanabi meant and she said, "Fireworks! It's the Japanese term for fireworks!" Ah! The stuff you learn when you just ask. The dining area was nice and had contemporary light wood tables and chairs.
We asked her if we could sit at the sushi bar in the back of the restaurant and she said it was no problem. Helen gave us a couple of menus to look through. Cindy ordered up some green tea and I got an Asahi beer. Later on she got a glass of the house chardonnay.
Even though they have a kitchen and featured cooked entrees, we were there for the sushi. The first thing we ordered up is a spicy tuna roll and something that we saw on the sushi menu called the "Parthenon" roll. Nashville has a replica of the famed Greek ancient temple with a 42-foot tall statue of the Greek goddess Athena inside. (We went there the next day.)
The Parthenon was a maki roll with a layer of tuna, white tuna, salmon and yellow tail with rice in between. We watched the sushi chef make the Parthenon roll. It was an elaborate production of the sushi chef putting the yellow tail and white tuna on the roll of rice, covering that with another layer of rice before topping it off with the salmon and the regular tuna. It took him awhile to make it, but it was worth the wait.
The spicy tuna roll was flavorful with a hint of spiciness to the taste. But the Parthenon roll was simply outstanding. I could have ordered up another one just to have all the taste sensations going into it. The sushi was fresh without a hint of fishy taste. This was a great start to the dinner.
The sushi chefs knew we were going to spend some money and one of them handed over a barbecued tuna appetizer - for free. It was seared rare and sliced into three pieces. It was topped with freshly chopped green onions. The barbecued tuna was just wonderful.
We ordered up more sushi after that and got six pieces of the smoked salmon. The smoked salmon had a great smoky taste to it, but it was very salty. I would have gotten more of the smoked salmon had it not been so salty. It was some of the saltiest smoked salmon I'd ever had.
We had ordered up four pieces of the tuna at the same time we ordered the smoked salmon. Curiously, they made the tuna separate from the smoked salmon sushi. But that was fine as we found out that the tuna was simply great. With great texture and a wonderful taste, the tuna was also outstanding. We wished we would have ordered more of the tuna instead of the smoked salmon.
I was still sort of hungry and I decided to order more of the great tuna sushi and get a couple pieces of the yellow tail. Yellow tail can be sort of fishy in taste, but the yellow tail they served at Hanabi - as I initially found with the Parthenon roll - was fresh and flavorful. Cindy just had a couple more pieces of the tuna while I finished off the other two pieces and the two pieces of the yellow tail.
After we finished, the sushi chef handed over a small bowl with orange slices. That was a new concept to us. He said it was to refresh the palate after the soy sauce and wasabi. I like orange juice and the taste of orange flavor, but I'm not too big on just eating a plain ol' orange slice. But it was an interesting taste after the saltiness of the soy sauce and the spiciness of the wasabi.
Cindy was thinking about getting ice cream after that and we ventured down the road to downtown Franklin, TN and found a Kilwins ice cream shop. We've been to a couple Kilwins before up in Michigan, but didn't know they were found outside of the state of Michigan. Little did I know as there are over 100 Kilwins locations in 20 states! We got some ice cream and strolled along the main street of the quaint downtown area in Franklin, two owls at night enjoying their ice cream and doing some window shopping. (Hoo! Hoo!)
The sushi at Hanabi was very good. Save for the very salty smoked salmon, all the sushi we had was fresh, savory and delicious. The Parthenon roll was outstanding and the barbecued tuna was a pleasant surprise. Helen checked in on us from time to time to make sure we were happy with our sushi. Our visit to Hanabi was a nice experience. It's a little tough to find, but it's worth the effort if you're looking for sushi in the southern suburbs of Nashville.