For many who have lived and grown up in Idaho, Shige Japanese Cuisine is synonymous for sushi in Boise. Since there are so many new transplants to the area however, Shige is due for a recent exploration and review. I grabbed my wife, told her to prepare for greatness, and we darted to downtown Boise.
LIke many in Ada County, head chef Shigeki Matsuzawa is a transplant from California. Shigeki started Shige Japanese Cuisine in Boise in 1992, currently marking 25 years in business. Shigeki is an energetic and skilled chef, who takes pride in his entrepreneurship venture by working daily and greeting each customer with a a Japanese holler as they enter the door. My wife and I were confused by the surprising greeting when we first entered, but gained understanding as it happened each time a new family entered.
The restaurant was busy, as it has been each time I have visited. Our server was kind and greeted us with a unique smile. As my wife and I perused the depth of the menu, I was once again amazed at the amount of unique offerings and the fact that each one was “made from scratch”. Shige Japanese Cuisine is not a place where sushi is the only option and the menu is like a short Japanese novel–including teriyaki, tempura, soups, steaks, and many other types of meals. This was reassuring since my wife is not as big a fan as sushi as I am.
As we went through the menu, I decided to try four hand rolls as well as an Island Girl roll. My wife went with a fishless, albeit adventurous, Chicken Sukiyaki soup served over an open fire. The food was brought out quickly and was nothing less than incredible. The sushi was fresh, which is amazing for a landlocked state–and plated in an artistic fashion. The rolls were not small, as you find in some local sushi spots downtown. The seaweed was fresh, and the rice was perfectly sticky and textured. The soup was a divine cultural experience on a different level. The waitress carefully brought it out, hovering over an open flame. The Sukiyaki was robust in flavors not found on a typical Boise menu. My wife loved the mix of fresh veggies, glass noodles, and sweet, but full-bodied teriyaki type flavors. Each bite was bitter sweet, as it tasted incredible but dwindled quickly as it was consumed.
As we watched many artistic plates being released from the sushi bar, we agreed that Shige Japanese Cuisine is the perfect date spot. The staff at Shige was responsive and the location of Shige provided a feeling of elevation in both the literal and figurative sense. Since the restaurant is found in the lively upstairs corner of 100 & 150 N. 8th St (next to Piper Pub) there are great views and a feeling of being in the center of a bustling energetic downtown. We both left full, happy, and excited for the next adventure.
As we gathered our things and started towards the door, I used the newest version of Google Chrome to translate my surprise good bye into Japanese. “Tabemono wa subarashikatta, arigatō. Sayōnara!”
If you are interested in visiting Shige Cuisine, they have an excellent website with a full menu and times found at: www.shigescuisine.com.