The sushi pizza, cut in four slices and topped with sweet and mildly spicy sauces, steals the show at Suzuki restaurant. (Photo: Amy Crofts)

Restaurant Review

Fill your senses with a pit stop at Suzuki

Japanese flavours take over alley in downtown Halifax

No trash cans or dodgy men down this dark alley.

Instead, located just off Spring Garden Road, hidden in a narrow alley on Dresden Row, you'll find a gem of a restaurant offering outstanding Japanese cuisine.

Suzuki restaurant, formerly known as Doraku, has a modern and trendy feel. Upon entry to the restaurant, the smell of East Asian aromas immediately made my guests and me hungrier than we already were.

The red, white, black and wood interior offers a Japanese feel. The ambiance is supported by soft Japanese traditional music in the background.

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The variety of noodle soups include white flour noodles (udon) or buckwheat flour noodles (soba). (Photo: Dorine Schreiner)

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Although you can see Suzuki's front windows from the street, the entrance is "hidden" in a narrow alley on Dresden Row.

While my friends and I enjoyed a more "common" seating arrangement, with chairs around a table, Suzuki also has private booths, closed off with a curtain.  There is also the coveted traditional Japanese seating option located at the front windows of the establishment. Diners sit on pillows on the floor, with room under the table for their legs.

With all of our senses triggered by the décor, music and aromas from the open kitchen, our taste buds were tickled by the extensive menu, comprised of Japanese specialties, such as noodle soups (soba and udon), teriyaki dishes, nabemono (Japanese-style fondue) and a variety of sushi rolls.

My two friends and I shared a pot of fresh green tea ($2.50), while deciding what to order.

As an appetizer we shared a sushi pizza ($10), which is crispy sushi rice topped with salmon, avocado, tobiko (fish eggs) and green onions. Being reasonably new to North America, I'd never heard of the concept of a sushi pizza. Initially thinking it was corrupting the authenticity of traditional sushi, I was pleasantly surprised, and the sushi pizza was a treat. There's also a vegetarian option of the "pizza."

One of my dining companions opted for sushi as her main course and ordered the Alaska rolls, with salmon and avocado (6 pieces for $5.75) and the classic California rolls, filled with avocado, crab stick and tobiko (6 pieces for $5.25).

The nabeyaki udon ($13.50), ordered by my other friend, is worth ordering again on a next visit. The big bowl of soup with udon noodles (white flour noodles) was packed with protein and very filling. The piping hot soup was filled with shrimp tempura, fish cake, chicken, egg, boiled spinach and green onions. Her only comment is the shrimp tempura needs to be eaten right away, otherwise it gets too soggy.

I enjoyed the beef udon ($7 for a small portion, $9.50 for a large bowl). As two of us had shared the sushi pizza as an appetizer, I ordered a small bowl, which was definitely satisfying. The broth was richly filled with beef and vegetables.

Chop sticks, traditional soup spoons and great service added to the delicious dining experience at Suzuki restaurant. This, in combination with split bills of below $20 each, are great reasons to return in the near future.


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