We moved to the Mandarin area in September 2015, and as any homeowner knows, there is always a project to be done. We have frequented the Lowe’s located on Old Field Crossing Dr (just south of 295 and Old St. Augustine Rd) and never noticed the hidden gem right under our nose, Sushi Garden and Ramen Noodles.
I can’t take credit for finding Sushi Garden if I’m being completely honest. My husband was flipping through Mint Magazine and saw a coupon. This led to a google search and discovery of a well-rated restaurant close by that does sushi AND ramen. After a late night of traveling for work, we decided to try it out. As a former server, I typically dislike visiting a restaurant in the last hour they are open. In this situation, we had no choice. I give our server a lot of credit for providing excellent service. She was extremely friendly, joking with us and making conversation the entire time she attended to our table.
We started our meal with steamed pork gyoza ($4.25) and 2 green salads ($1.95 each). Everything arrived quickly. Upon biting into the dumpling, I was pleased to discover a good filling-to-noodle ratio. The taste of the filling was similar to the inside of a wonton, enhanced with green onion and ginger. We were debating between chicken or pork AND between steamed or pan fried. We thought our order was a “healthier” compromise. The waitress said she prefers the pan fried; she knows the food best, so I appreciate her suggesting we try them next visit (and I bet a crisp exterior would have taken the dumpling flavor to the next level). I personally love ginger dressing and I liked their version. It had the typical flavors and orange color, but was a bit creamier.
For the main event we decided to split a spicy tuna roll ($4.95), a butterfly roll ($8.95), and Shoyu ramen ($12.95). A spicy tuna roll is one of my go-to choices at sushi restaurants. I know a deterrent to eating sushi can be it takes a lot to fill up, therefore, it becomes a pricey meal. This roll is one of my favorites since it tends to be less expensive. Sushi Garden’s spicy tuna roll was on point. The tuna was fresh, plentiful, and we could see the sushi chef making it. I enjoyed the balance of finely chopped tuna and the crunchies, which were rolled in, making the sushi easier to eat. Our butterfly roll was a spicy tuna roll on steroids. The inside is filled with spicy tuna and cucumber, topped with of tuna, salmon, avocado and a mountain of crunchies. Again, all the fish was fresh and the portions were substantial. Our Shoyu ramen combined a spicy soy broth with chicken, mushrooms and the typical accoutrements. The ramen hit every taste bud on my tongue. The broth had a rich umami flavor with a balanced spice. Everything in the soup had a purpose, whether it be flavor or texture. I still need to perfect the art of eating noodles, broth, and toppings at the same time, but that is something I am more than happy to practice.
Our meal and 2 beers came to $40 after we used our $5 off coupon, which I thought was quite reasonable. I have some lost time to make up for at Sushi Garden- I wish we found it sooner!
Sushi Garden and Ramen Noodles
4268 Oldfield Crossing Dr. #106
Jacksonville, FL 32223