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Mio Sushi

Mio Sushi

Mio Sushi is setting a new standard for Bend Oregon Restaurants. I have not been this excited about a restaurant opening since Don Don took over the spot where blue fish used to be downtown. We were excited to try a new sushi restaurant as we only have a couple of options here and none are affordable. Japanese restaurants like deep, Sumi’s, and Kanpai need to pay particular attention to the business practices at Mio Sushi. All you stupid commentors that have testified to the reasoning behind the crazy expensive sushi in Central Oregon need to shut the hell up. Mio Sushi has figured out a way to bring quality sushi to Bend without charging a month’s mortgage for it.

The wife and I went out of our way to visit Mio Sushi after I heard that it finally opened. This place is effing awesome and if you like Japanese food or just want to finally eat some affordable Sushi, drop what you’re doing and get over there.

I wouldn’t be BOR if I didn’t call it like I see it so I’ll tell you that they are experiencing some restaurant opening struggles. On our first visit it took forever to get our sushi order filled.

Our appetizers and entrees arrived promptly and were great. While we waited for the sushi we shared some Tonkatsu (pork cutlet that has been breaded and deep fried, served with a house salad, miso, and rice), an order of Shumai/Gyoza, and Agedashi (deep fried tofu). But we waited a solid 15 minutes after we had eaten everything for our sushi to show up. That sucked. Sucked so bad that when we realized that our order had been skipped or not submitted properly, we adjusted our order to just get the rainbow roll and a couple orders of Saba (Mackerel). BUT, when the rainbow roll finally arrive, it was amazing. More on that later.

Agedashi Tofu - Deep fried tofu (the only way to eat tofu) with sweet sauce for $4.25.

As with most of the dishes, presentation does not seem to be the focus. Instead we got to eat great food at a very fair price. The Agedashi is great when you want a filler for cheap. My dad told me a story about a roommate of his from college. He made this huge kid eat a loaf of bread before they ate their dinner. If he didn't, his roommate would eat too much too fast and my dad wouldn't get his fair share. I use that same technique when dining with a group at sushi restaurants by ordering a couple orders of Agedashi Tofu. That way all the chumps fill up on tofu and I get to pick off all the left overs of unagi and ebi as everyone will be stuffed. I'm cheap and selfish that way, get over it.

Shumai and Gyoza for $4.50 (4 pieces of each)

The wife mentioned that she's never seen Shumai (a traditional Chinese dumpling) deep fried. I'm not sure if this was a mistake or not but normally they are steamed. I didn't care, I like anything deep fried. Throw some bacon on that mug and I'm dying happy.

One of my favorite dishes is Katsu, especially Tonkatsu - breaded pork cutlet fried and served with a thick Tonkatsu sauce for $9.95.

I was surprised at the portion. I expected one cutlet over rice but got like 2.5 to 3 cutlets with miso and rice for only ten bucks. Great portions, great price and prepared perfectly. The Tonkatsu Sauce is a thick, sweet (mostly sugar and corn syrup) sauce that looks like reduced balsamic vinegar but tastes great with fried anything. Our brand that we keep in the fridge is Bull-Dog. The wife grew up on this stuff. She even has a song from her poor ass childhood.

Imagine a chain gang smashing rocks like in Oh Brother Where Art Thou:

Bull-Doggin on the lows of high
Bull-Doggin on the highs of low
(and repeat over and over again)

I love her ghetto ass. I get treated to this song every time the Bull-Dog comes out of the fridge.

We ate these dishes and sipped on our miso while we waited and waited for our sushi to arrive. Sadly they had not received their liquor license so no booze for BOR....sounds like a great charity event - Booze for BOR, let me know if you want to contribute. Don't worry, they have their liquor license now and you can get all sorts of alcohol. But if I see you at the sushi bar with a sake, I'll drink it up.

BOR - "Here, if you have a hot sake, and I have a hot sake, and I have a straw. There it is, that's a straw, you see? You watching? And my straw reaches acroooooooss the room, and starts to drink your hot sake... I... drink... your... hot sake!"
[sucking sound]
BOR screams in your face - "I drink it up!!!!"

Now, the rainbow roll and saba (mackerel) finally arrived. The Rainbow Roll is a California Roll that has slices of nigiri rolled on the outside of the roll. There is taco (octopus), sake (salmon), ebi (shrimp), maguro (tuna), white fish, and avocado for only $8.95.

HUGE roll and great quality. I didn't care for the sauce that was drizzled around and under it but I was still happy with the portions that the wife let me have. The Saba was just insane! Very good cuts and one of the only places in Bend to get mackerel.

We went back to Mio Sushi the next day and had a new server who was not on top of her game....again, working out the kinks. But this time they had their liquor license so I got some hot sake and the wife got some fruity sparkling sake thingy. I also got the Bento Combination #1, my favorite and my recommendation if you go for lunch or dinner.

Chicken Teriyaki, Vegi-Gyoza, and assorted Tempura for $11.95 (dinner, lunch is only $7.95) and you get miso, house salad, and rice. Of course I forgot to get a photo. But I did get a photo of the Spider Maki (soft shelled crab that has been fried to a crisp). I have never seen a soft shelled crab this big used in a sushi roll before.

The end piece with the crab legs sticking out, I was able to take this part and actually break off a leg and the body section, there was actually crab meat in it. That's just redonkulous!! Normally the crab is so tiny that you never get any meat out of those suckers.

I feel like I've been writing for days on this review of Mio Sushi. But before I wrap up I have to even mention that they have THE BEST kid's meal on any menu in Bend. For $6.95 ($5.95 at lunch) kids get Teriyaki chicken, miso, edamame, rice, and their choice between a full 6 piece California roll, gyoza, or assorted tempura. That's the best deal in town, I wish I was under 12.

Mio Sushi
63455 N. Highway 97, #35
Bend, OR 97701

PS, Get the Green Tea, best I've ever had.


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Anonymous Elizabeth said...

I have been to Mio Sushi 3x so far. You are correct in your assessment that they need to work out some kinks, but the food quality makes up for that issue. We were told by the owner/manager (?) that if we ate at the sushi bar the sushi master would make custom orders. We are gonna be all over that on our next visit. Probably within the next day or two.

August 25, 2008  
Anonymous Melanie, the Cog one.. said...

We too have been there twice. The second time we waited over a hour for our sushi, even after our friends who did not get sushi had been served their lunch and finished them.
Still, I love sushi and don't want to pay the prices anywhere else. The food is great and I plan to become a regular diner there - looking forward to when the sushi making staff is trained!!!
And hands off my sake!

August 25, 2008  
Blogger Joey said...

Mio is my favorite sushi place in Portland. Maybe not the absolute best sushi (but still dang good) but the best value hands down!

I've been to Kanpai only once (everybody says I need to give them another chance, and I probably will) and I thought Mio absolutely blows them out of the water.

I'm trying out Mio Bend today for the first time. Hope it doesn't disappoint...

August 25, 2008  
Anonymous nandemosan said...

We're coming in to town tomorrow, and the wife (Japanese) is hungry for some home cooking.

I might remind you all, if you're not aware, that rarely in Japan do you find a restaurant that specializes in sushi serving anything else.

Furthermore, being so far inland (no place in Japan is more than about 60 miles from the sea), you are taking chances with sushi. Once you've had sashimi presented from a fish still kicking, you understand that anything off the coast is second if not third rate regardless.

That being said, Bend has gained a great deal of culinary sophistication over the last five years or son, so I'm happy to see more "ethnic" restaurants.

August 26, 2008  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

Went again last night to MS. The sushi was, once again, very good. It is too bad it arrived after the two 'regular dinners' were pretty much eaten by my co-diners. It took over 15 minutes to even get greeted at the table and get our drinks ordered (mmm sake, very good). Even though they are still working out opening issues I will continue to go there (someone needs to keep on top of these things and continue to eat their good sushi).

August 27, 2008  
Blogger Write up your alley said...

I went there soon after it opened and didn't have a long wait at all.

And, wow, that green tea was amazing. I don't know if it was a mistake, but they only charged us 50 cents for two unlimited cups of it.

August 27, 2008  
Blogger Bend Oregon Restaurants said...

Elizabeth - You're like a crack fiend for the sushi, don't abuse it!

nandemosan - Don't get sick eating your non, previously frozen sushi. "The Food and Drug Administration stipulates that all fish to be eaten raw (with the exception of tuna) must be frozen first, in order to kill parasites."

Stop with all this "fresh out of the water" sushi crap, it's not real.

Write up your alley (great name) - I too was only charged $.50 for my tea, but I think it is fifty per person so I bet they did make a small mistake on yours. Great tea!

August 27, 2008  
Blogger Jen F said...

I ordered lunch from them today (take-out). It was very good! No miso soup with the to-go combos. I agree that the green tea is very good too!!

The restaurant was about half full, and the staff seemed very harried. The manager seemed anxious to help people quickly, but I really wanted to say "Dude, just breathe. It will be OK!" He seemed stressed.

Sushi dudes are great - talkative, friendly, and always giving a happy shout out to customers as they arrive and leave. If the rest of the staff can relax and get in a "groove" then this will be a truly excellent restaurant.

August 27, 2008  
Anonymous Melanie, the Cog one.. said...

We went there again this past weekend. Right off we asked if we should order a bunch of apps while we waited for our sushi and we were told they were still working on the speed, but it should not take longer than normal.
We had a great lunch although the fried tofu app was boring and tasteless. But everything else was great - tempura, miso soup, and our sushi! Starting to really like this place!

September 03, 2008  
Blogger jpismydog said...

We have been to several different Mio Sushi in Portland and were excited for good, basic sushi at a reasonable price to come to Bend. The Bend location has our expectations on four visits.

My pet peeve with sushi at the other restaurants in Bend is that they focus so much on 'visual art' that they forget the fundamental of sushi - good, thoroughly cooked and seasoned rice. I don't know how many times we have had undercooked rice with a hard center. Yuck! Do these sushi chefs even have basic training on how to cook rice?

As for Mio, I wish that they would be a little more traditional Japanese. I believe the chain is run by a Korean group so I don't know if the food has a Korean twist on it or not. But, gyoza and shumai aren't fried in Japan. I wish they had more than just ramen for noodles - like udon and soba.

Other than that, they are a welcome relief to the rediculous sushi prices in Bend.

October 15, 2008  
Blogger Aa, A and K said...

mio is one of my faves in absolutely must try the sushi or shrimp pizza! it's so good!

October 24, 2008  

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