Downtown Lodi, with all its charm and culture, has a lot to offer those seeking wine tasting rooms, ice cream, breweries, art, museums and of course, food. There is a new restaurant that has opened its doors on School Street bringing a big city vibe and creative cuisine to Lodi in M Sushi Bistro.
Owner and Chef Minh Nguyen, along with his wife Hong Dinh, want their restaurant to be a staple in Lodi and plan to take the restaurant to a new level. With over 20 years in the restaurant industry and experience at multiple restaurants, Chef Minh is very passionate about the food he and his team create and focuses on his own style of cooking making fresh flavorful concoctions with homemade sauces.
“Sushi can be very wide,” said Minh. “I am influencing different cuisines into Japanese food like Italian and French so you get a little twist of everything here, a fusion within a sushi world. We are new and this menu I developed is kind of like a trial and error but so far it is working really well. So far everything has been working, non-cook items and cooked items.”
The packed house offers guests tasty options like the Blistered Shishito Peppers that are dusted with a little bit of salt, pepper and Japanese spices tossed in a sesame, grape seed oil blend that is made in house. The peppers are roasted on the grill and it is served with wakame salad and a kimchi base soy vinaigrette dipping sauce topped with micro cilantro. The flavors blend really well; there is not too much spiciness, but with a dipping sauce that gives it an extra boost of flavor.
Another option is the Alaskan King Crab legs that are brushed with a house made compound butter and charred on the grill then topped with a house cream sauce. The sauce and crab blend with a light squeeze from the charred lemon wedge makes this dish very tasty.
The business’ name is a combination: M represents Minh and Sushi because that is their specialty, adding Bistro to the name to be able to bring more to the table. Wanting to open his own business for quite some time and after graduating from Sacramento State with a business degree and a little push from loved ones, that dream of restaurant ownership has finally came to fruition. Chef Minh has over 20 people assisting with the success of the business that serves dinner seven days a week. Chef Johnson, Chef Vu and Chef Anthony are sushi chefs and Chef Nancy is the head kitchen chef. Family member Julie Dinh manages the front of the house at the restaurant. There are plans to begin serving lunch in January.
“I wouldn’t say it is my own place,” added Minh. “If it wasn’t for my team there would not be me. It is not me building this place, it is us building it together. A lot of these individuals here I have worked with them before and trained them and such and once they knew I was opening up my own place they dropped everything and we are back together.”
The restaurant was gutted and rebuilt from the ground up, which took about a year and a half. With help from friends, John Nguyen and Nhut Ly with Landen Builders, they designed, laid out and renovated the restaurant including the plumbing, electrical and HVAC. There are future plans for a banquet room, outdoor patio and roof top with vegetation. Chef Minh also has plans to build live holding tanks in the back of the kitchen for lobsters, crabs and shrimp to continue to bring fresh selections to guests.
Growing up in the Lodi/Stockton area, Minh knew that he wanted to open his restaurant in Lodi and he very much supports local business including the wineries and farmers. The restaurant has a clear glass display of wines from local wineries that guests can pair with their meal.
“The products we provide here, we are not skimping out on anything. I think our prices are very fair for the quality that we put out. It is all fresh stuff, from fish to meat, it is all good quality. Fresh is best,” explained Minh.
One option for guests to sample what M Sushi Bistro has to offer is the Omakase which is a five to seven course meal that ranges from $75 to $100 per person. Chef Minh explained that Omakase in Japanese means trust your chef. Reservations must be made in advance and the freshest meat and produce will be served along with some wine pairings.
There are several different options on the menu from steaks, chicken, soups, and salads, to noodles, Sashimi and specialty rolls. The pasta dishes are made with Udon which are Japanese noodles served hot.
For more information call 209-400-7505 or visit M Sushi Bistro at 212 S. School St., Lodi.