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9:23 PM Sun, Sept. 23rd

Foodie review: Esoji may be small, but it's BIG on Japanese favorites

Esoji Authentic Cruisine of Japan, 220 W. Gurley St., will not disappoint – particularly with its Korean BBQ, pictured here, and its sushi offerings. (Courtesy photo)

Esoji Authentic Cruisine of Japan, 220 W. Gurley St., will not disappoint – particularly with its Korean BBQ, pictured here, and its sushi offerings. (Courtesy photo)

In the mood for a little Sushi? Head downtown to Esoji at 220 W. Gurley St., a half block west of Whiskey Row.

No space on the street to park? The garage is a short half block away.

Esoji, whose name means, "Rule the Seashore," is like making a visit to Japan, really. It is a small place but has an extensive menu of many Japanese favorites.

The Sushi menu is huge with all types of seafood favorites in Nigiri, roll, hand roll, or sashimi presentations. These items also come in a variety of combinations that you can enjoy for your full meal. Sit at the Sushi bar and have your selections prepared in front of you or in the restaurant itself at one of the large comfortable tables. The décor is authentic Japanese and reminded me of a trip we enjoyed there a number of years ago.

Once you get past the Sushi to the regular menu, be prepared for six pages of delectable Japanese fare. There is an entire rice bowl section and a noodle section featuring ramen, soba and udon noodles with any combination of accompaniments. There are numerous hot and cold appetizers. Try the Baked Green Mussels or the homemade Gyoze, which are pork and vegetable dumplings.

When you get to the entrees there are another couple of dozen selections that you can enjoy ala cart or in combination along with a very nice tempura selection. We had shrimp tempura, which was delicious, with a light crispy batter, and the shrimp with vegetables were perfectly done.

Entrées include Miso Soup and a not so small salad. I chose the Korean BBQ, which was very tender sliced beef stir-fried with vegetables in a spicy sauce of soy and Korean Miso. The spice was flavorful, not hot. Before the entrée we enjoyed Nigiri-style Albacore tuna sushi and a Philadelphia Hand Roll with cream cheese, avocado and salmon, served the traditional way with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger. The sushi portions are very generous as are the entrees.

You will not leave Esoji hungry.

For beverages you may choose from one of six different Japanese beers or more than 18 choices of Sake. Ranging from $7 per serving for the house Sake to the sumptuous Sennenju Sake $25 for a 10-plus ounce serving. There is a limited wine selection including, of course, Plum Wine. Something non-alcoholic? Try the Ramune that is old-fashioned Japanese Soda; your server will show you the "trick" to enjoying this soda. Of course, there is green tea and many other beverages.

Sushi ranges from $3.75 for a Crab Stick to $32 for a 23-piece combination and numerous options in between. Entrees range from $12.50 to $24. Oh, and don't forget the Signature Tempura Ice Cream for Dessert. Really unique. The staff is very friendly and attentive. This is truly a great opportunity to get a flavor for REAL Japanese cuisine here in Prescott.

Give Esoji a try. You won't be disappointed.