Why the little “i” in iSushi Cafe? Because the owners originally planned to run just an Internet-based carryout and delivery business.
“But that took a little detour when my wife decided to put the sushi bar up front,” says Chang Lee, who runs the restaurant with his wife Tuya Dagvadori.
You can order takeout online if you want (delivery service will kick in early this year), but you'd be missing out on the cheery atmosphere, not to mention Lee's banter from behind the sushi bar.
Either way, you get a menu of winners, sushi-focused, of course, but with a smattering of appetizers and entrees.
Start with ika salad ($4.75) for citrus zing and tender bites of squid; or try beef tataki ($7.75) for its spicy-sweet ponzu sauce. iSushi may be the only place you can get a chicken tempura roll ($5), and the sushi menu throughout shows an enthusiasm for inventiveness (and sauce). The crunch yellowtail roll ($8.50) stops not at Korean chili paste or even at eel sauce but brings spicy mayo into the mix of habanero masago, cilantro, avocado, jalapeno and yellowtail. Mikimoto roll ($12.59) blends shrimp tempura and avocado with eel and eel sauce.
Lee also offers hot entrees, including a chicken yakisoba that had enough flavor to more than make up for the extra $6.75 added to the bill.
iSushi Café is at 820 E. 116th St., Carmel. Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, noon to 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Info: (317) 654-2745, www.isushicafe.com.