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3:46 AM Wed, Nov. 21st

Restaurant owners have raw passion for sushi

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
<br>Justin Johnson and his wife 
Noriko pose at their Sushi J Express restaurant in the Safeway shopping center at 7840 E. Highway 69 in Prescott Valley.

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier <br>Justin Johnson and his wife Noriko pose at their Sushi J Express restaurant in the Safeway shopping center at 7840 E. Highway 69 in Prescott Valley.

"Cooking is always in my mind," says Noriko Johnson.

That passion is the driving force behind Sushi J Express in the Safeway shopping center at 7840 E. Highway 69, Suite A5-B, in Prescott Valley.

That's where Noriko is fulfilling her life-long dream of creating tasty Japanese dishes for her customers.

"I'm having fun," she said.

Noriko grew up in Hiroshima, Japan, and remembers her mom began teaching her how to cook when she was around kindergarten-age on fairly easy items such as instant noodles and fried eggs.

When she wasn't cooking, Noriko remembers pretending to run a restaurant with her friends.

It's turning that dream into reality that is so important to Noriko.

Her husband, Justin, said they get their fresh frozen fish delivered to the restaurant about three times a week.

For those people who don't eat fish, Sushi J Express' menu offers miso soup, salad, teriyaki chicken, steak or beef bowls. They also make shrimp and vegetable tempura and katsu, which is breaded and deep-fried chicken or pork. The sushi side of the menu features a variety of fish, such as tuna, salmon, yellowtail, eel and octopus. Other menu items include a mix of appetizers and soups, and combination dishes and rolls that do not have raw fish, such as avocado and the kappa rolls with cucumber and sesame seeds.

Justin said their prices are customer-friendly.

Noriko said she gets satisfaction out of providing good food to her customers.

"When (customers) are happy, I'm happy too," she said.

The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. For information, visit www.sushijexpress.com or call 775-9323.