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Secret Diner: Harumi Sushi offers downtown a fresh taste of classic rolls

Harumi Sushi_1
Reilly Kneedler/State Press The Nigiri Combo is one of the most popular dishes at Harumi Sushi, located on the corner of Adams St. and 1st St. in downtown Phoenix.

There are a couple of sushi places in the downtown area, and as a self-proclaimed foodie, I’m always on the hunt for the best of the best close to campus. A couple months back, my sister dragged me to a new place she found on Yelp. At the time, I was living at the Taylor Place dorms and Harumi Sushi was a comfortable walking distance away at First Avenue and Adams Street. Since then, it has been my first choice when I’m craving sushi. 

As soon as we walked through the door, welcoming chefs and a hostess were quick to seat us.  In my opinion, when it comes to a restaurant, customer service is one of the most important aspects to the quality of the experience. The menu is extensive and serves from the simplest of rolls to some very complex tastes that will satisfy the most adventurous of diners.  

On this particular visit, one of my older sisters joined me for dinner. We happily took the booth in the back to observe the atmosphere.

What I found interesting was that the restaurant's rolls are made with purple rice, which was the first time I had encountered that. Soon after, I noticed a couple of other restaurants around the valley following the same trend.  

My sister ordered a Las Vegas Roll, which is her go-to order of cream cheese, crab and deep-fried salmon with avocado.  At Harumi, there is a distinct addition of jalapeño to the classic roll that gives it just enough kick to bring it all together. In case you didn’t know, the Vegas Roll is deep-fried giving it a crunch and warmth versus the classic cold roll. 

Harumi has perfectly sweetened Coke. I'm serious, it's better than what you would expect from an ordinary can. Mexican Coke has a particular sweetness, and Harumi's is right under it. 

I needed salt to balance my palette before the main course, so edamame was a must for me. My friends and family know just how picky I can be when it comes to food. A variety of flavor is what I need in a meal: a little sweet, a little tangy and definitely a kick of spice.

I like to try new rolls while keeping the foundation of the meal the same in order to find the best combination of flavors. I went for the Dynamite Roll this particular night, which includes crab salad, avocado, cucumber, spicy mayo, jalapeño and spicy tuna. I’m not a big fan of tuna. Actually, I’m not a fan of tuna at all, so I substituted it for some mango slices, contrasting the spicy mayo in an excellent way.  

Any restaurant that will let you modify its menu holds a special place in my heart. It’s more about what is offered. Harumi lets you customize its order to enhance your dining experience and that’s something I respect.

Some of my other favorites are the Arizona, Crab Mania and Crunch Mango Roll. All have unique ingredients that are conveniently listed when you get the menu.

In the background, you hear the owner, Juno Parker, yell out, “Everyone say 'oh my God' at the count of three!” The whole restaurant shouts with him, followed by a muffled laughter, adding some fun into the service. 

If you’re new to sushi and don’t really know how you feel about raw fish, try the Shrimp Tempura Roll. The shrimp is fried and fully cooked so it won’t be too much of a shock. The restaurant carries the basic rolls such as California, Asparagus and Philadelphia, but the rest of its menu is worth a try, too. 

They have pre-made rolls for the lunch service to quickly grab-and-go, but if you have time, sit down and enjoy yourself. There is nothing like a good roll of sushi with good company. 

Before we left, Parker stopped by our table to make sure everything was up to standard. This kind of customer service is unbeatable and is one of the reasons we keep coming back, on top of the fact that the food is incredibly good. 

I’m a sucker for locally owned shops, and Harumi is close to the Downtown campus, work and home with delicious food. Next time you’re craving some fresh sushi, stop by Harumi, and I promise you won’t be disappointed. 

Related Links:

Where to eat by West Campus: Three Asian restaurants

Top 5 Indian restaurants in Tempe

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