Yuniku, With Its Endless Sushi Menu, Opens on Lockwood Ridge Road
I first noticed Yuniku while dining next door at Brasa & Pisco, one of my favorite Peruvian restaurants, which is located in a nondescript shopping mall on the north side of University (across the street from Detwiler's Farm Market).
If you're not on the lookout, you might miss it. But one thing I have learned since moving to Sarasota 20 years ago is that good things really do come in old strip malls.
Yuniku claims an endless menu of sushi and Asian fusion dishes. But mark my words, this is not a buffet--quality is top of mind here. The endless menu works this way: order from a generous list of sushi rolls, each made to order, as well as Chinese dishes like a General Tso's chicken and Mongolian beef along with noodles, crab rangoon, tempura and hibachi steak and chicken. I could not believe the quality for the price. You can order as much as you want, but in small increments, as there is a charge for uneaten portions, which I completely understand.
There's a lot to take in when you enter Yuniku. The space is warm and inviting, with a large water feature. The cocktail menu offers mai tais and scorpion bowls, as well as plenty of other signature cocktails. Owner Michael Dong is hard at work, greeting guests and serving house specialties. Michael, originally from China, has been in the restaurant business since he was 17, and his passion shows.
On three recent visits during the weekdays, we indulged in spicy crab rolls, salmon avocado rolls, shrimp tempura rolls, spicy tuna rolls and Philadelphia rolls, all for $12.95 per person...and that was just from the sushi side of the menu. There are plenty of Korean and Japanese dishes like udon and chicken bulgogi, too. And while I'm not usually one to order General Tso's chicken, it was delicious and beautifully displayed. Crisp scallion pancakes and kimchi fried rice will also fill you up if the sushi isn't enough. My other suggestion is to order the hibachi with sauce on the side--the sauce can be a little thick and sweet, and the steak and onions are flavorful enough with only a modest dash of it. It's nice to have these other offerings for friends or family that might night care for sushi.
Yuniku also offers a full a la carte menu, and the offerings are varied, but I would focus on the sushi and classic Chinese food. Dinner for adults, Monday-Sunday, is $23.95 per person. Considering I often spend over $50 per person on sushi anyway, this is one heck of a delicious deal. There are happy hour specials, early bird dining and live music nights, too, so best to go online to check it all out. There's also plenty of parking and the restaurant is only a few minutes from downtown and the same from UTC, if you want to get out of the traffic.
8341 Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota