Located in busy Cameron Village, Ajisai brings very hip and urban sense to sushi for the area! Dining at Cameron Village can be a bit hit or miss but things are definitely looking up with the arrival of Ajisai along with the great eats at Tazza Kitchen. And what’s great about Ajisai is that it shows quite a bit of style in addition to serving up great food. Are you curious? Then read on, friend…
Cool sushi bar at Ajisai Japanese in Raleigh- NC Triangle Dining
If you’re looking for Ajisai in Cameron Village just head on over to the section where you’ve got the ABC store and Piccolo Italia. Ajisai sits in the old space that used to be Sushi Gami. From the outside you’ll notice the sidewalk seating and the discrete sign but inside, things start to brighten up. You’ll notice the sleek sushi bar backed by ornate chrome panels and blue LED lighting (which can be color-changed from what I’ve been told). Japanese characters and script decorate the bar-wall and you’ve got a purple interior paint spiced up with some large prints of some lovely Japanese ladies. I grabbed a seat at the booth and took a look at the menu. Prices about standard in the area for sushi, Ajisai does lunch specials from Monday to Saturday from 11am to 4pm but I chose to visit on a Sunday lunch, boo! I order up some tempura along with a sushi combo of three rolls (yellowtail jalapeno roll, spicy tuna roll and crunchy salmon roll). It’s time to hang loose and waits for mah food!
It’s pretty quiet at Ajisai at noon time but people start floating in about 12:30 pm or so. My miso soup shows up and it’s a bit different. Spiked with bits of green onion, mung beans and small bits of tofu, the cloudy miso portion separates readily from the broth and it’s quite good. My tempura app shows up and it looks great. Five pieces of perfectly fried shrimp, sweet potato, broccoli and something else. I can never figure out all the veggies that they use in tempura! The coating is crisp and crunchy, definitely recommend trying the tempura out as an appetizer.
And then my sushi main shows up: six pieces of each roll, they are small and tightly wound. I’ll confess that I’m not a sushi expert and still got the training wheels on so I ordered some basics. But I can tell you that rice is quite good on these rolls and the fish melted in my mouth. The yellowtail roll wrapped in nori with the jalapeno kick was my favorite. But overall a good taste experience but I think I filled up a bit too much on the tempura!
Service at Ajisai was decent but seemed a bit stilted. The staff on the front of the house seemed a bit young to me but maybe that was just because it was a Sunday afternoon and not a prime time service period. But it was fine and the food was good at Ajisai. I’ll have to come back and try out a bit more off the menu but I could walk over here so I’m sure I’ll re-visit soon. So yes, welcome to Cameron Village Ajisai and you’re off to a great, foodie start!