It’s a sugar cube! It’s a garage! It’s a … sushi bunker? The exterior of the building that’s housed the Japanese restaurant Mikimoto on Carrollton Avenue for the last 19 years is absolutely no frills. It’s a white cube. With a uniformed security guard often posted out front, you’d think this would be the headquarters of Brink’s or some underground arms dealer if it wasn’t for the big blue sign out front. The unassuming pickup/drive-through window is similarily void of decoration, and no one seems to care. It’s busy at all hours. Circling the cube for parking, you have to be careful as there’s likely a moving car around each corner where the driver can barely see because of mountains of takeout boxes.
The menu is huge. The sushi rolls alone offer 73 choices, plus more special rolls on the dry-erase board up by the bar. It’s probably impossible to reduce the menu to a readable selection by now as each item has developed its own champions. I’d be willing to smack someone if they took the Yellow Dragon Roll off the menu, for example. With cucumber, avocado, snowcrab and smelt roe wrapped with seaweed and rice and topped with fresh salmon and—here’s the magic—thinly sliced lemon (peel, pith and all!), it’s my favorite roll of all time—and I never even liked lemon on fish. The pith adds just a hint of bitterness to accentuate the richness of the salmon and the sharpness of the zest makes up for the mayo in the snowcrab.
The Yellowtail Roll is a simple, honest sidekick to larger maki. Fresh green onion lords over the other subtle flavors and it’s refreshing and clean-tasting (read, void of cream cheese, mayonnaise, tempura flakes and eel sauce, which in my opinion pollute much too many selections in most sushi restaurants. For this reason, I tend to opt for the Chef’s Special Roll, a stocky cornucopia of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado, smelt roe and asparagus.
At lunch, Mikimoto offers lip-smacking deals. Chirashi, an assortment of sashimi-cut raw fish on a bed of sushi rice, is only $10.95 and served with both soup and salad. If you’d rather go with the assorted Sushi Platter, that’s $9.95. Can you even buy a po-boy for less than $10 these days?
One of the wonders of Mikimoto is how far they’ll deliver. If you’re curious, there’s a map marked up in black Sharpie on the inside of the pickup window. The line to the right outlines the French Quarter, continues up St. Bernard Avenue and Paris Avenue towards the lake, while Riverdale Drive, Causeway Boulevard (up to the I-10) and Bonnabel Boulevard in Metairie make up the boundary to the left. I know Uber and Lyft drivers who won’t drive that far, while Mikimoto just might take you to heaven in a single bite.
3301 S Carrollton Avenue; 11a-10:30p Mon-Thur, 11a-11p Fri, 4-11p Sat, 11:30a-10:30p Sun; mikimotosushi.com; (504) 488-1881