Downtown Dining: Squid Ink Sushi Bar

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Photos by Amelia Goe
Location and Hours:
2 E. Jefferson St., Ste 108
Phoenix AZ 85004
602 258 0510

Mon. – Thu. | 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Fri. – Sat. | 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Sun. | 4 p.m. – 12 a.m.

★★

Price Range: $3.00-$24.00
Student Discounts: 10 percent off with a Sun Card

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Great food, friendly service and entertainment all come into play at Phoenix’s newest sushi bar, Squid Ink. With the success of their first opening in Peoria in 2010, Squid Ink recently opened a second location in the downtown area. Located on the corner of Central Avenue and Jefferson Street, this sushi bar gives CityScape a brand-new dining experience. Squid Ink genuinely embraces the idea that one does not have to be a sushi aficionado to enjoy their delectable dishes.

With a vast array of sushi rolls to choose from, it was hard to limit myself to just a few rolls. What I found really great about Squid Ink was that it has daily specials on sushi, so those on a budget can afford as much sushi as they desire. Happy hour is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and cuts the prices of basic rolls and appetizers in half. This allows customers to order quality sushi that is still affordable. Additionally, Squid Ink offers dinner and lunch platters, which include various rolls. The waitress said the most popular rolls are the Cougar Roll and the Dirty Rockstar Roll.

I’ve visited Squid Ink twice. The first time I went, everything sounded delicious, but with some help from our friendly waitress, I was able to narrow it down to edamame ($4) for an appetizer, the spicy salmon roll ($7), the Vegas roll ($11) and the spicy tuna roll ($8). On my second visit, I decided to branch out and order the popular The Dirty Rockstar ($13) along with an assorted sushi lunch platter ($11) with potstickers ($7).

When the potstickers arrived I was impressed by their neat and appetizing presentation. The green onion garnish gave them just the right flavor. As the sushi rolls arrived, The Dirty Rockstar definitely caught my eye before anything else. What really stuck were the toppings for this roll, which were sliced jalapeno along with a sweet chili sauce and spicy aioli. The roll contains chopped spicy tuna, habanero, avocado, and bigeye tuna. This roll had just the right amount of spice to excite your taste buds without being too overwhelming.

The lunch platter included an eight-piece spicy crab roll and a four-piece nigiri. Nigiri is thin slices of raw fish layered over a small portion of rice. Our nigiri included yellowtail, shrimp, tuna and maguro. The spicy crab roll has a mild spice as well as a clean flavor to it. The crab was not overwhelming, which made the roll very enjoyable. The nigiri was a bit underwhelming but the fish on top had a vibrant color and excellent texture. It also had a lovely presentation and was visually appealing.

The staff at Squid Ink helped provide a welcoming ambiance. They made it very easy for me to ask any questions I had regarding the menu. They’re more than happy to explain the different rolls and make any recommendations they may have. The staff stays engaged with the tables and take care of customers’ needs as soon as they can.

A great feature that I noticed as soon as I walked into Squid Ink was the intricate artwork on the walls. The colorful mural in the center of the restaurant gives the atmosphere a trendy and artistic vibe. The seating is comfortable whether you’re in a booth or at a table. Overall, the restaurant is well presented and very clean.

My only qualm was the functionality of certain items. For example, the soy sauce container was not user-friendly. In fact, the nozzle on the bottle leaked and left me with a mess both times I dined.

I also really love that Squid Ink supports local musicians and artists. Every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday a local musician or artist performs.

Not only are you getting wonderful food, but you also get to enjoy live entertainment, making this a truly amazing sushi experience.

Contact report at mnromero@asu.edu

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