Friday, July 20, 2012

Maguro Japanese Sushi and Steak House in Naples

Maguro Sushi and Steak House is a welcome restaurant addition for discerning diners from Naples to Fort Myers. My dining party was happily amazed by the relaxing sleek design that would be just as welcomed in Manhattan, San Francisco or Tokyo. It’s an intriguingly well integrated  attractive mix of organic bamboo, round stones, and granite, accented by ribbons of glacier- blue light.
 Handmade Japanese masks on some walls are a simple effective enigmatic decorative motif. Co-owners/brother and sister Denny and Vicky Zhang have brought attractive cutting edge design and delicious food to Naples from Manhattan.
Maguro is next to Scotttrade, at the Northwest corner of US 41 and Wiggins Pass. You won’t see it from the road; drive in the shopping center area- then it's visible. Enter and you’re quickly greeted and escorted to your dining choice; the attractive bar, front tables, the sushi bar, or stroll back to the large yet intimate feeling hibachi table room. I love a hibachi/teppanyaki show, and Chef Calvin certainly gave us a  great  evenings' show of culinary and acrobatic artistry; slicing, tossing and serving food with eruptions of volcano-like flames while our food gave off a savory sizzle.
 Our table of five, ranging in age from pre-teen on up, had only compliments and no complaints about the evening's meal or service.

After sitting down around the rectangular hot table and placing our orders, Jenny, our attentive server, brought bowls of clear soup, with bits of mushroom-a pleasant broth with rich umami flavor. Some entrees came with fresh greens and tomato salad. The slightly tart Ponzu based dressing was ok; perhaps a choice of Asian style dressings with ginger  or lemongrass elements would be welcomed.
The Kari salad ($6) is an enjoyable treat, with crabmeat mixed with cucumber tobiko (crunchy fish egg/caviar), and rice with spicy mayo.
A sprinkle of panko gives a great contrast. The chef has fun creating these dishes for your taste buds.  Recommended.

Beginners can choose sushi and sashimi from a wide variety of colorful tasty rolls to custom made towers.
The $6.25 mini steamed shrimp dumplings, “Shumai” are delicious! Properly steamed and tender with a delicious dipping sauce-it's a  minimally spiced treasure with hints of ginger, mushrooms and a touch of soy sauce. A keeper!
    Be adventuresome and have the ambrosia-like Green River special roll ($13) that has a tender center of mildly spicy tuna wrapped with thin sheets of avocado, accented with spicy mayo and sitting on squiggles of  BBQ-like eel sauce.
 This is luscious, amazingly tender, and a great mix of succulent textures and tastes. Highly recommended!

The deep fried crispy soft shell crab ($10)is also an oceanic delight,
with crisp hot fried crab rolled with crisp greens, topped with barbeque eel, then served atop  a rice roll with both a tempura sauce and a hot chili sauce. Nice!

There’s a goodly variety of sushi, sashimi, and hand rolls-from $5 vegetarian,  to an armada of  “love boats”, designed to satisfy two to four diners. Savor creations with  white tuna, spiced tuna ,salmon, yellowtail, eel, lobster and red snapper.  We and guests at a neighboring table agreed-Maguro serves only truly  fresh seafood.

Crispy duck roll ($10) is a steal of a deal, with a goodly portion of finely shredded Peking duck, sliced avocado, spring vegetables and sesame seeds with a rich, just sweet enough hoisin-type dipping sauce.
It’s crispier than its name, and ideal for a lover of Peking duck. Highly recommended.

A properly cooked Beef negimaki ($9) is infrequently encountered. Many cooks overcook it, or serve it sliced too thickly or sliced with the grain-both big no-no’s.
Maguro’s chef’s version shines with attention to detail, medium rare as ordered. The six mouth sized portions of sliced N Y steak arrive steaming hot, enclosing crisp green onion lightly bound by scallion, anointed with sesame seeds and  teriyaki sauce. Ours quickly disappeared-a recommended savory delight! I recommend dining on this and other steak based savory treats after eating other lighter tasting seafood appetizers.
Savor some of two dozen sake brands, beers, wine or mixed drinks at the blue bar.
After a few cups of hot sake, the hibachi/teppanyaki show began! Chef Calvin had the challenge of cooking separate orders for shrimp, chicken (nugget-sized) and scallops, so all would come out at roughly the same time.

Our eight year old girls’s eyes grew wide as she beheld him deftly tossing then hiding eggs. Knives  flashed and dazzlingly danced in his hands. He wizardly commanded towers of  flame to erupt from conical sliced onion mounds! Her tablemates were no less amazed as he deftly made a brown rice base with admixed bits of egg,  slivered carrots, squash and other vegetables.
Hands-Free Dining-or Eating on the Fly!

The rice was placed on our beautiful dark plates, then topped with each person's sauteed “proteins”. His timing was spot on. The scallops ($24),
 shrimp ($20),

and the chicken ($17) were each cooked to perfection-not always easy when each requires a different preparation time and style. Shrimp and beef is what I'll get next time.

These are quite generous portions for the price, expecially when your hibachi order also comes with a two shrimp appetizer, clear soup, house salad, brown rice and vegetables. We took half of our food home, and yes, it was as tasty the next day.

We enjoyed our dinner and service and would return in a heartbeat, especially for the recommended items and to try some other items. Lunch is served daily. There’s take out or dining in specials- any two rolls for $9.75 with miso soup and salad, or three rolls for $13. Try a lunch bento box, hibachi from the kitchen, sushi or sashimi.  Birthday soon? Come in with your birthday ID and get a free personal cake and photo.   

Maguro offers delicious food, and warm family-friendly attention in a quite attractive setting. It’s a welcome addition to the area, similar, yet different enough from lovely Daruma, and not far from  the elegant Naples’ Charlie Chiang’s Modern Asian Kitchen and Sushi Bar.

Maguro Japanese Sushi and Steak House, Take Out and Dine In, 895 Wiggins Pass Road, #6 (next to Scottrade), 591-0003.

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