Poke bowls and Asian cuisine at re-opened Mihama


    Udon with tofu at Mihama Poke Bar in Ashland. Photo by Maureen Flanagan Battistella

    Annie Lee and Seungkyo Park reopened Mihama Teriyaki Grill in Ashland in July with a trimmed-down menu that features a poke bar and house specialties that are Chinese, Korean and Japanese favorites. Many of Mihama’s famed Godzilla figures still stand in homage, but the burgers are gone, and prices have increased marginally.

    Mihama’s Poke Bar offers a mix-and-match approach to sushi in a bowl. It’s easy to build your own bowl, carefully customized while you watch and select each ingredient. A regular-size bowl has two scoops of protein for $10, scoops that seem about 1/2 cup each. A large poke bowl has three proteins for $12. Generously sized with so many options, the poke bowl is the menu choice of many customers.

    A poke bowl base can be white or brown rice, greens or zucchini noodles. Eight different proteins are offered including tuna, salmon, octopus, shrimp, chicken and tofu. Toppings such as cilantro, edamame, jalapenos, corn and crab complement the proteins, and crispier toppings — garlic, onion, sesame seeds and furikake (seaweed) — add crunch and top off poke bowls with sweet, savory or spicy sauces. The end result is visually appealing, healthy and a delightful mix of colors, flavors and textures.

    Still on the Mihama menu are Katsu Chicken, edamame, steamed vegetables, shrimp and teriyaki, and there are some new menu selections. New to the house specialties menu are bulgogi, spicy pork and several familiar Chinese-American chicken dishes: orange chicken, peanut chicken, sesame chicken and sweet and sour chicken. Rice and a choice of two from the selection of 10 house specialties, including beef, pork and chicken, runs $8, $10 with a salad or steamed vegetables. Choose three proteins for $11, $13 with a salad or steamed vegetables.

    The bulgogi is exceptional, with succulent slivers of beef, cabbage, broccoli and onions in a savory sauce. The spicy pork also had the flavors of Korea, spicy-sour kimchee with zucchini, carrots and a generous sprinkling of red pepper flakes. Korean ramen adds kimchee at $4; add chicken, pork, beef or tofu for an additional $3. Pot stickers and vegetable tempura are tasty at $5, but the egg rolls, also priced at $5, were mushy and worth a pass.

    For colder nights, udon satisfies one’s craving for warmth and spares the pocketbook, too. The base udon soup bowl is $10 — add beef, chicken, pork or tofu for $3. The broth is a mildly sweet-vinegary-fishy clear miso that’s served as a teaser to the palate for what also was in my bowl: long, thick, chewy wheat noodles, creamy tofu, broccoli, green onions, carrots, sprouts, cabbage and mushrooms. This bowl was too big to finish at one sitting, and was a welcome lunch the following day, the udon noodles still chewy and not at all gummy.

    While Mihama’s Asian-fusion menu has many vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, Mihama does not offer gluten-free noodles or specifically gluten-free selections. Spiralized zucchini serves as a healthy, delicious and intriguing alternate to wheat noodles for those who want to limit carbohydrates. Soft drinks and cucumber-lemon water are available, and Mihama expects to have a liquor license at some point in the future.

    Mihama has a steady stream of customers any time of the day and evening, and the many choices involved in the poke bar can slow down the line, but not much. During lunch, customers can stack up, especially when Ashland High School lets out. So Mihama offers express lunches on weekdays: $5 for Teriyaki Chicken and rice; $2.50 for Teriyaki Tofu and rice, and $2 for rice with teriyaki sauce.

    The staff is limited, so expect to pick up your tableware and bus your dishes. The exterior’s overhead lights were burned out or not turned on, so at night be careful on the two steps up into the restaurant, as it is quite dark.

    Mihama Teriyaki Grill is at 1253 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland, and is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call 541-488-3530 for takeout or for more information.

    Reach Ashland freelance writer Maureen Flanagan Battistella at mbattistellaor@gmail.com.

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