As a foodie on a budget, I definitely appreciate restaurants in all sorts of price ranges. From the high-end to the low-end, they all can bring something to the food scene in their own way. Take Sushi Nine for example. This large sushi restaurant off of Western Boulevard is one that I’ve driven by many times. Admittedly I’m usually leery about restaurants that are close to any college campuses, they often are pretty basic with their menu and ambiance. But here’s what to expect from Sushi Nine, solid sushi in basic environs at a good price. And there’s a place in my heart for that type of restaurant, no matter the cuisine.
If you’re visiting Sushi Nine, parking is behind the building off of Whitmore Drive. It’s a big lot which gives you a hint of what to expect inside! There’s a small doorway at the back corner of Sushi Nine and in you go! Inside you’ll find a bar to your left and then a large open dining room in front of you. There’s the kitchen to the side along with the sushi bar and that’s about it. The space feels pretty utilitarian and basic, for better or worse. Polished concrete floors, exposed metal beams overhead along with some four-tops and metal chairs.
Once you get settled in it will take some time to review the expansive Sushi Nine menu. Like many other sushi restaurants in the area, Sushi Nine mixes up Japanese with Thai cuisine along with some hibachi, ramen, and Chinese dishes. It’s a bit of a mish-mash of everything Asian on the menu, probably to cater to the diverse NC State student body. But the bulk of the menu is sushi and Thai so let’s focus there! Entrees are in the $12 to $20 range with specialty sushi rolls from $12 to $18 and the rolls are BOGO to stretch your dollar.
For my visits, I did sushi for one and Thai for the other to make sure I was able to try a bit of variety off their menu. Their pad thai with chicken was a healthy portion of rice noodles and chicken topped with a generous amount of bean sprouts, scallion, and crushed peanuts. The flavor was good, I could taste the tamarind that’s usually needed for this dish, but I do wish they had used a wider, rice noodle. This dish came out lickety-split, the kitchen at Sushi Nine is pretty fast!
For sushi, I prefer the specialty type rolls and went with the American Dream (tempura soft shell crab, avocado, cucumber topped with kani, tempura flakes, eel sauce, and wasabi cream and Firecracker (shrimp tempura, spicy scallop, jalapeno, and avocado topped with spicy tuna, spicy mayo, tempura flakes, and masago) rolls. They are sizable rolls and nicely packed with a good amount of fish and rice. The Firecracker had quite a bit of heat coming off of it in the form of fresh jalapeno slices. Overall I was plenty surprised at the quality of the rolls here and with BOGO and prices at $14 to $18, you can do a good quality sushi lunch for $20 to $25 with a beverage!
Sushi Nine was a pleasant surprise for me overall. It offers up good if not great sushi and Thai food and lower prices. Its convenient location off of Western Boulevard means it was also a great dinner option for me right before a show at PNC Arena. So rock on, Sushi Nine! You’re doing a lot of things right and dishing out excellent pan-Asian eats for the NC State crowd and beyond.