To call Bagu Sushi a neighborhood sushi restaurant is partially accurate for it does offer a good variety of sushi and sashimi in a residential area. But, Bagu also has a selection of Thai and Korean dishes that are out of the ordinary and its approach is purely international.
Located at the burgeoning intersection of 48th and Chicago Avenue South in Minneapolis, Bagu Sushi is a cheerful, cozy space that has been attracting good reviews and an enthusiastic following since opening a year ago.
The Soft Shell Crabs may be one reason for all this attention. They are deep fried and served with ponzu sauce – pretty, crunchy and tasty. Or perhaps it is the Crab Claws wrapped with minced shrimp, deep-fried and served with a special Bagu sauce. There is also an appetizer called Japanese Bagel Balls – fresh salmon, cream cheese and green onions, deep-fried tempura style. Definitely out of the ordinary!
Salads are also more than greens and dressing. The Spicy Tako Salad, for example, combines cooked octopus with cucumber slices and kaiware in a special spicy sauce. Salmon Skin Salad mixes the grilled skins with shredded cucumber, green onions and bonito flakes.
Main dishes offer more variety with items such as Pra-Ram Chicken, Chicken Katsu, Madsamun Curry, and Thai Noodle along with sushi, sashimi, and tempura. Pra-Ram Chicken shows a Thai influence with grilled chicken breast topped with peanut sauce and served with rice and steamed broccoli – a good choice for non-fish eaters. Thai Noodle is another Thai influenced dish that takes off from the traditional Pad Thai with rice noodles stir-fried with eggs, bean sprouts, tofu, scallions, and peanuts then served along side perfectly cooked whole shrimp.
In addition, the sushi and sashimi lists are lengthy and creative. There is also Shrimp Tempura as well as Salmon and Crab Tempura. Bagu also offers a number of desserts as well as Japanese beers and saké. Prices are moderate with the most expensive dinner at $35.50 for two – a Pirate’s Platter of assorted nigiri, sashimi and maki served with miso soup.
Bagu Sushi is open daily for dinner from 5 – 9:30 p.m. and until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The small restaurant nearly doubles in size in warm weather with its patio out back. For single diners there is a small sushi bar and for larger groups there is a small alcove that seats about a dozen. For information call 612-823-5254 or visit their website at www.bagusushi.com. Bagu Sushi is at 4741 Chicago Avenue South with parking on the street and in a nearby lot.
Traditionally the Japanese celebrate the New Year with festivities for three days beginning January 1st each year. You can get a taste of that celebration at the Japan America Society’s annual New Year event January 20 at the William Mitchell College of Law, 875 Summit Avenue in St. Paul.
From 4 – 8 pm participants will enjoy a wide variety of food and entertainment. Dining cafeteria style, you can choose from sushi, yakitori, beef bowl, mocho cakes and more. There will be dancers, musicians, and even a karaoke contest. Children have their own room with special Japanese play time activities. There will be the pounding of the rice demonstration and an anime corner. Cost is $10 per person or $20 per family. For tickets and information call the Japan America Society at 612-627-9357. Tickets will also be available at the door.
Phyllis Louise Harris is a cookbook author, food writer and cooking teacher specializing in Asian foods. She is founder of the Asian Culinary Arts Institutes Ltd. dedicated to the preservation, understanding and enjoyment of the culinary arts of the Asia Pacific Rim. For information about ACAI’s programs call 612-813-1757 or visit the website at www.asianculinaryarts.com.