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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Dinner at Ginza in Fort Myers


Ginza restaurant, Fort Myers

is a restaurant specializing in Japanese cuisine; mainly sushi and "hibachi". Instead of hibachi which employs charcoal, the restaurant really uses teppanyaki techniques, which involve cooking on a flat iron surface, but why be picky? The restaurant is named for the Ginza district in Tokyo which is a major shopping and entertainment area. It is located near the Edison Mall in Fort Myers nearly at the junction of Cleveland and Colonial Avenues.

The restaurant has a rather extensive a la carte Menu but that was not why my dining companion and I were there. We had heard very good things about the all you can eat Menu both in terms of price and quality so we decided to take a look.

The dining area is very commodious, seating 180 diners either at the beverage and sushi bar in addition to the restaurant proper; the latter dining area being composed of both booths and tables.

Now back to the food. We chatted with the manager, Andi, before our order was taken. Being very friendly and helpful, he told us restaurant prides itself on serving fresh and affordable food. He also explained the ordering process to us and what to expect. As far as the all you can eat menu goes, salads, appetizers, sushi (nigiri, maki and temaki rolls), sashimi and teppanyaki dishes are served. Everything except the sushi is served in a smaller portion to allow for a greater latitude of sampling. This is not a buffet, but you are allowed to order as much as you want which your server will bring to you. I asked Andy if we could order 15 rolls at one time. He said yes, but it was up to the management's judgment if the customers were taking advantage of the order process. Diners are allowed to bring leftovers home with them but may have a surcharge added to their bill in this case again based on the management's discretion.

It took a while to survey this rather extensive menu. There were 8 different kind of salads, 8 different appetizers, 16 different kinds of nigiri or sashimi, 20 different maki or temaki rolls and 21 different "specialty" or mostly inside out maki rolls. 

My dining companion and I started out with seaweed, squid and spicy kani salad. The seaweed salad was good, what you would expect at any Japanese restaurant. The squid salad was also good, made as usual with squid, dried mushroom, bamboo shoots, sesame seeds, vinegar, ginger, sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine and a few other ingredients. The kani salad followed suit with flavor and was made with shredded krab stick, spicy mayo, cucumber and panko bread crumbs.

We then tried a couple of the hibachi items, steak and shrimp. These were served in a soy-based sauce and came with a side of ginger and yum yum sauce, the latter being a mayonnaise based sauce with cayenne, paprika, garlic and sugar. The portions were small and the flavors ok. At this point I really wanted to move onto the sushi offerings.

We started with a couple of the specialty rolls; the double spicy and the double crunchy rolls. The double spicy roll was served with spicy krab and tuna inside, with spicy mayo and fried noodles on top. The double crunchy had sweet potato tempura and cream cheese inside, with shredded krab stick, spicy mayo, eel sauce and fried noodles on top. A couple of sashimi items were also sampled, octopus (tako) and yellowtail (hamachi). All of these were pretty good, again the rolls being full sized.

A naruto roll was next, along with a couple of temaki, or hand rolls. The naruto roll, though loosely rolled, was very good. This roll came with tuna, avocado and masago (smelt roe) on the inside, wrapped in cucumber instead of rice and seasoned with ponzu sauce. Ponzu sauce is basically a soy sauce with a citrus note. Our tamaki were Mexican and eel rolls. The Mexican roll had fried shrimp, cucumber and spicy mayonnaise. The eel roll was what you would expect, with eel, cucumber and eel sauce,  which typically is a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, mirin and sake. Both were good and again, full sized.

My dining companion really has a sweet tooth, and ordered the fried cheese cake and green tea ice cream.

Typically fried cheese cake is frozen cheese cake brushed with egg wash, wrapped in spring roll wrappers and deep fried. It was served here with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. Tasty and extremely decadent. The green tea ice cream was more of a soft ice cream and lacked in flavor. The fried cheese cake more than made up for that.

I finished with the bubba gump specialty roll. Tempura shrimp, avocado and krab stick was inside this roll and was topped with ginger shrimp, scallions and jalapeno mayo. It was also very good and for me, a nice ending to this literally endless Asian repast.

The food at Ginza was good to very good. The salads and appetizers were what you would expect from a Japanese restaurant, as well our limited samplings from their hibachi offerings. The maki and temaki were remarkable in that they were full sized and all around good. The service was excellent considering all the trips the servers had to make in and out of the kitchen and the volume of food that had to be prepared by the kitchen staff.

This is not "haute sushi" nonetheless Ginza is a tremendous value with dinner being $7.95 to $10.95 for children depending on age and $21.95 for those 12 and above. There is also a more limited all you can eat lunch special priced at $5.95 to $8.95 for children and $13.95 for adults. What little the fare at Ginza lacks in quality is more than made up in quantity.

It's a wrap (literally) for another post on Forks.

4429 Cleveland Ave.
Fort Myers, FL 33901

Open for lunch 11-3 PM and dinner from 3-10 PM Sunday through Thursday and 3-11 PM Friday and Saturday; All major credit cards accepted; Kid's meals available. 

Interior dining area, Ginza restaurant

Interior dining area, Ginza restaurant

Bar area, Ginza restaurant

Sushi bar, Ginza restaurant

Hibachi steak

Hibachi shrimp

Seaweed salad

Squid salad

Spicy kani salad

Double spicy and double crunch roll; Octopus and yellowtail sashimi

Naruto roll

Mexican and eel roll

Bubba gump roll

Fried cheese cake

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