Honada Sushi & Hibachi
Wonderful sushi in Kenosha? Kenosha, Wisconsin, the city of tattoos, taverns and pizza parlors? It doesn’t seem possible, and yet here it is at Honada.
Since this restaurant opened a little over a year ago, we have carried out countless times and dined inside as well. The sushi and sashimi are always high quality, tender, fresh, and expertly prepared. The tempura is subtle and delicate, and the miso soup is an uplifting balance worth savoring.
Honada is 2 miles due east of I-94 on Highway 50 (Kenosha’s 75th Street), so it’s a convenient oasis for anyone traveling between Chicago and Milwaukee. Located in a small new shopping center, the interior is clean and solid and simple with lots of light wood and dusty rose tones. Paper shades soften the windows, and the lighting is neither too dim nor too bright. The decor incorporates Japanese touches, especially around the sushi bar, but the strip-mall atmosphere of commercial carpeting, spare walls, acoustic tile ceiling and laminated tabletops makes this a casual, somewhat office-like Japanese experience, not an exotic shoeless affair involving kimonos and tea ceremonies. You can choose either the seclusion of a quiet booth away from the main room (and even draw the curtains), or the sociability of a table closer to the action. Honada would be a good spot for a business lunch or dinner.
A third option is the entertainment of a hibachi dinner at one of several stainless steel teppanyaki grills, making Honada also a good choice for people who don’t enjoy sushi, and for parties of friends, families, and children. Sudden, hissing balls of fire warm the faces of the diners surrounding the grills and draw gasps from the whole room. Comical cooks flip eggs, meats and vegetables, rapidly smooth and redistribute frying rice, juggle seasonings, display their dazzling knife skills, and joke with the kids. It’s fun for everyone and the food looks good too, but I haven’t tried it yet.
I come here for the sushi. Honada’s menu includes several different nigiri and maki sushi and sashimi combinations priced at about $15-$20, and also about 25 “regular” rolls and 10 “special” rolls. The regular rolls range from $3 avocado or cucumber rolls up to $8 and $9 items featuring eel, crabmeat, and yellowtail. The special rolls are spicy and crunchy $10-$13 creations with ingredients like lobster tempura, masago, and tobiko. The rolls are all very good. Also, over 2 dozen different pieces of sushi and sashimi are available a la cart, including some delicious toro (fatty tuna).
But wait, there’s more! Honada serves hot appetizers (last night we had some outstanding fried squid as well as some very good BBQ squid with ginger sauce), cold appetizers, Japanese soups and salads, gently deep-fried entrees like the aforementioned tempura, tonkatsu (deep-fried pork) and chicken katsu. There are eight different teriyaki options (chicken, beef, salmon, shrimp, seafood, lobster, vegetable or tofu), rice dishes like oyako don (chicken, onion, and egg over rice), four soba noodle choices, lunch and dinner boxes, and a few desserts.
There are a few wines on the menu, but I haven’t paid much attention because I generally prefer beer with my sushi. Honada offers Sapporo and Kirin, and last night we enjoyed Asahi Super Dry. I don’t know about cocktails, but I’ll ask next time.
The Japanese staff’s service is always professional, friendly, and very prompt. As I understand it, owner Steve Shi was chef at Japanica in Greenfield (near Milwaukee’s Southridge Mall) before opening this restaurant in Kenosha. (See also Dennis Getto’s review for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. )
I was wondering how a Japanese restaurant would go over in Kenosha and have been happy to witness a steady flow of customers at Honada for over a year now. I have never seen a wait, but reservations couldn’t hurt. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are accepted. Honada’s hours (as of this writing) are 11-9:30 Monday though Thursday, 11-10:30 Friday and Saturday, and noon-9:30 on Sunday.