Food Review · Little Rock · Uncategorized

Food Review: Kiyens | Little Rock, AR

Kiyens is a step above the rest of many restaurants in Little Rock. Formerly named, my family and I have been dining at this restaurant location long before the name changed to Kiyens. What began as a Christmas Eve tradition years ago for my family (circling around the hibachi grill at Papa Sushi, following the annual Candlelight Service) evolved into an annual Sushi dinner, monthly sushi dinner, and now sometimes weekly sushi dinner at Kiyens.

We celebrate every monumental event there. Every birthday, every job promotion, and every graduation. Chef Kiyen even gifted a bottle of wine (he’s so nice) for my mother’s birthday a few weeks ago. It may seem as though we’re obsessed…but when you know good food, you won’t want to settle for anything less!

Ever seen Iron Chef America? Chef Kiyen has an extensive resume, and was Iron Chef Morimoto’s sous chef! His restaurant welcomes you with dim lighting, an elevated dining area, and a standard dining area. If you plan to have a party of many, there is a quaint outdoor dining area, weather permitting. The Kiyens website also has a virtual tour if you want to check it out!

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My sister had her birthday party in the outdoor seating area – Chef Kiyen catered a variety of foods we requested for the party. Yummy!

Once seated, there is a variety of seafood, steak, and sushi on the Japanese-style bistro menu. Kiyens is known for the best quality and freshest food, containing no MSG whatsoever. From salads to Teppanyaki (aka habachi, food cooked before you on a center table) there is something for everyone. If you’re a sushi lover like me, though, you’ll probably go straight for the sushi menu! Some of my favorites are:

GOLDEN TUNA ROLL- spicy tuna, avocado, tempura-fried, topped with spicy mayo

AWAKE CATERPILLAR ROLL – Tempura Eel, asparagus, vegetables, cucumber, topped with avocado and sweet sauce

I always order the Golden Tuna roll when I’m feeling the need to splurge on some calories. It reminds me of the OMG roll, which you can also order at Kiyens (but it isn’t on the menu!) The light tempura batter adds so much depth to  the sushi roll, I just have to have it every once in a while. I do feel healthier when I order the Awake Caterpillar roll, and it’s just as satisfying in a different way. You still get your tempura fix without the whole roll itself being fried. I now substitute tempura shrimp instead of tempura eel (thanks to my sister’s recommendation). It also comes with rice noodles on top for some added crunch- yummy!

My boyfriend Aaron and my sister’s boyfriend Nick usually order the Ultra Godzilla roll:

*ULTRA GODZILLA – Tuna, salmon, yellowtail, red snapper, fried with spicy crab on top

The Ultra Godzilla is a slightly bigger portion (by a few pieces) than the other two rolls I recommended. The Godzilla roll is also lightly fried in tempura batter, and has a kick to it. Order a side of fried rice to accompany this, and oh my goodness. I am not a big fan of fried rice, but it is literally the best I’ve ever tasted.

Now…take a look at the appetizers! My dad usually orders sashimi. If you’re into raw fish, Kiyen’s has some of the freshest and best quality around. Aaron and I ALWAYS get the Calamari. You cannot go wrong with the Calamari or the Coconut Shrimp!

If you’re craving a meat other than seafood, I would suggest looking over the Teppanyaki choices such as steak or chicken with fried rice. If you’d like to see the  Teppanyaki cooked before you for a fun experience, call ahead to see if a table is available for this.

While waiting for your meal or appetizer, a complementary souffle dish-sized cucumber salad is brought to each member of the table. After your meal, a dessert of one ice cream scoop with coffee is served. How awesome is that? They really care about the customers here. I would encourage y’all to go see for yourselves!

Last night for my dad’s 53rd birthday, we opted for the “Sushi Take Away Menu” since work ended at different times for everyone.  Mom even brought out the fine china, and made sure to inform everyone that if we needed our food microwaved, it would not be possible to do so on the china 🙂 I’m pretty sure some of us didn’t even plate the food and ate it straight from the to-go containers (we were that hungry, haha)! Though the food was a wonderful addition to my dad’s birthday, the best part about last night was celebrating quality family time. I appreciate that more and more as I grow older. I’m so blessed to have a hardworking father and great example like him to look to. Relaxing and having conversation at my parents’ house was a the best way to spend his birthday!

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My Awake Caterpillar roll with tempura shrimp substituted for eel

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Life is good! Stay tuned for more posts, and thanks for reading!

KC

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