By: Davinia Perrin
Please join me in welcoming fresh, Asian-inspired fast casual restaurant, Tokyo Joe’s to Arizona! Tokyo Joe’s is a brand based in Denver that believes healthy eating can be a great experience every day. Founded in 1996 by Larry Leith, the brand has grown from its original location in suburban Denver to 29 system-wide units today. At their newest location in Mesa, Arizona, I had the privilege to meet long-time Tokyo Joe’s employee, Dawn Samuel who worked for Larry as a babysitter when she was 16 and has been and an integral part of Tokyo Joe’s since its inception. Dawn will oversee the 5 locations that are set to open in Arizona over the course of the next year.
She walked us through the menu, which includes a great selection of appetizers, made-to-order sushi, build-your-own and signature bowls, an awesome selection of salads, a few options the kids will love and a refreshing tea bar.
We started with the Pork Gyoza, a perfectly steamed (did I mention everything on the menu is steamed or grilled?!) potsticker filled with pork accompanied by Joe’s dipping sauce and the organic, steamed and lightly salted, Edamane. Perfect starters!
From the made-to- order sushi options, we tried the Arizona Roll with real crab, avocado, cucumber and seared tuna, mixed with shichimi and their dragon sauce and topped with diced jalapenos. Next up, was the Crab Cheese Wonton Roll filled with you guessed it, crab, cream cheese, avocado, and topped with wonton chips, sweet chili sauce and a sprinkle of panko crumbs. Both rolls were the perfect combination of fresh ingredients! I’m looking forward to trying the unique Surf & Turf Roll on our next visit.
Next up, bowl time! I had the Mahi-Mahi signature bowl with brown rice. A nice size serving of wild mahi-mahi, served alongside tropical salsa, macadamia nuts and topped with lemongrass aioli and teriyaki sauce. A sweet and savory combination bowl I would highly recommend.
My guest had the Oyako signature bowl with udon noodles. I learned Oyako means mother and child in Japanese, hence why the main ingredients are chicken simmered with eggs, and red and green onions in a brown soy based broth. A traditional Japanese favorite, he would definitely order again.
With the great selection of salads, we had to try at least one to go along with our bowls. After deliberating, we decided on the Ichigo Salad; with chicken, baby kale, strawberries, avocado, pecans, carrots, and lemon topped with their signature Ichigo dressing. A beautifully presented fresh salad!
Lastly, a little dessert to satisfy our sweet tooth. A fun S & N Roll, which stands for Strawberry and Nutella rolled in a slice of bread with a side of whipped cream for dipping. These were surprisingly yummy little rolls of sweetness that hit the spot.
The Tokyo Joe’s concept is unique and incredibly appealing to those like myself who are looking for affordable ways feed our families fresh and healthy food in a fast-casual environment, while also keeping in mind the increasing population of people with dietary restrictions. With the build-your-own bowl concept they have great gluten-free, sugar-free, and low sodium options that can be tailored to any need. They’ve covered all the bases…I’m excited to welcome them (and Dawn) to Arizona!
1935 S. Val Vista Drive