Dinner at Kinja Japanese Restaurant

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My husband and I went out for dinner at one of our favorite places: Kinja Japanese Restaurant located at 1304 E. Yelm Ave in the town of Yelm. We have ordered take out several times before but this was the first time we sat down and really took in the entire experience.

We walked in the restaurant and sat ourselves at the sushi bar. We have never been disappointed with sushi from Kinja. Our absolute favorite is the spicy tuna roll. It is always served with fresh, crisp, and tasty ingredients that we can never seem to get enough of. After looking through the mouthwatering menu, we settled on a few items we wanted to try. When I say “few”, it is because it sounded like a “few” items but ended up looking like we ordered a feast. Of course, we ordered sushi. On this particular night, we decided to try food we have never ordered before to entice our palate with. We ordered Tempura Udon, a Triple Fire Roll, the Alaskan Roll, and the Crunch Spicy Tuna Roll.

We sipped on our beverages and munched on Edamame while we waited for our food, really taking in the quiet and enjoyable atmosphere. The radio quietly played early 90’s music and the staff always walked by with a smile on their face. Because we were seated at the sushi bar, we were able to watch owner Jung Kim work his magic as he whipped together our made to order sushi right in front of us. First came the Triple Fire Roll. This sushi roll contains salmon, cream cheese, crisp cucumber, spicy tobiko sauce, Serrano pepper, and topped with a red, spicy sauce. The name says it all: it is a triple threat of spice! Although somehow the salmon, cream cheese, and cucumber calm the multitude of spice swishing around your mouth as you chew.

Next came the Alaskan Roll. This roll is made with crab meat, avocado, cucumber, and a thin slice of pink salmon tops the roll. This roll was absolutely heavenly! The texture of the crab meat and cucumber just mixed perfectly with the avocado and the smooth, soft texture of the salmon. While we were thoroughly enjoying the Alaskan Roll, our order of Tempura Udon came out. This is a type of soup that is served in a mini-cauldron looking bowl and is piping hot. The large noodles are not what you expect. They are thick, muchthicker than, say a spaghetti noodle and has a slightly chewier texture as well. The broth is simple, like a beef broth but has the distinct taste of the thick noodle. It is served with an order of Tempura which is deep fried veggies and shrimp, a personal favorite of mine. The super light fried batter around the freshly cut veggies is delicate yet crunchy. Much lighter than a breaded, deep friend food.

Just when we thought we had enough food to feed an army, we were presented with the Crunch Spicy Tuna Roll. Although the Spicy Tuna Roll is our favorite, we had never tried this version of the sushi roll. Just looking at it, we knew it was going to be delicious. The Crunch Spicy Tuna Roll is made with two pieces of shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber, and topped with spicy tuna, a spicy sauce and light crunch. The light crunch being leftover tempura batter, the oh-so-appetizing crunch that surrounds the tempura. Absolutely delicious!

The sushi roll prices varied between a reasonable $7.95 to $12.95. If you like Tempura already and want to try the soups, I would highly recommend the Tempura Udon. If you go this route, you get the bowl of soup (enough for two to share) and a complete order of Tempura as well. If you order Tempura as an appetizer alone, it costs $8 but the Tempura Udon is $12, more bang for your buck.

We were pleased with our dinner from Kinja! The food was dynamite and we couldn’t expect anything less from Kinja. The service was top notch and all done with smiles and sincerity. The atmosphere was welcoming, quaint, and relaxing. Although we typically order take out, which is never a disappointment, I believe that in the future, we will need to make time to get back to Kinja to enjoy another great evening and great food.

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