As each minute elapses at Sumo Sumo Bar & Grill, you may grow unselfconsciously uninhibited. Perhaps it’s the soothing sounds of decanting water, or the comfortable seating enclosed by imitated greenery. In any case, it’s a Japanese-inspired break the moment you walk through the ornate doors.
We start by ordering Haiku Coladas – bright blue, exotic cocktails that explode with pineapple flavour. Already satisfied, we select some classic starters, gyoza dumplings and assorted tempura vegetables. Their crisp textures and clean presentation are perfect, satisfying my friend, who lives on the conservative side of sushi.
Moving on to the adventurous part of the evening, we glance at the maki menu. Complete with 20 different options from which to choose, thankfully the vivid menu helps us narrow it down. We confidently select Joe’s Special Roll. Since the roll is named after the owner, we decide we can’t go wrong. To pair with our tropical drinks, we order the Aloha Roll as well.
Both maki rolls are “Sumo” in size, while also bright and creative. Joe’s Special Roll is spectacular. Alternating bites of smoked salmon and scallops, with drizzled masago mayo and sweet chili sauce topped with mango, it is unexpectedly sweet and delicious. The Aloha Roll takes us to the coast, with bold eel sauce, shredded coconut and mouth-wateringly fresh ahi tuna. The dish shifts our conversation towards talk of a vacation. Ingredients we aren’t sure would normally go together end up balancing each other beautifully.
While dining, I enjoy seafood aromas and an open atmosphere, while chain-like drapes divide most the tables allowing for a more intimate setting if desired. The gorgeous, amber artwork is hard to miss and is the finishing touch to this modish sushi spot in the Park. (220 Lakeland Drive, Sherwood Park, 780-416-7866, sumosumosushi.com)