Don't head to Sumo, the new Japanese restaurant in Beachwood, looking for sake, Sapporo, or hibachi dining just yet. According to manager Ada Tsang, the restaurant's liquor license is still in limbo, and installation problems have put the kibosh on the hibachi tables for now.
So what exactly does this place offer? There's the well-stocked sushi bar, eager-to-please staffers, and a beautifully appointed space, complete with a traditional tatami room for private parties.
The menu is a winner too. Among starters, options range from edamame to tempura-fried calamari and from spicy sliced conch to coconut shrimp. For main events, Sumo's chefs serve up a dozen varieties of teriyaki (including tofu, salmon, and filet mignon), four tempuras, and a handful of noodle dishes, including a bountiful version of sukiyaki, chock-full of veggies, sliced beef, silken tofu, and bouncy cellophane noodles. Entrées include the usual house salad with ginger dressing and a sturdy rendition of miso soup, at prices ranging from $9.95 to $22.95. At lunch, a Bento Box Special, with gyoza (dumplings), a California roll, and a choice of teriyaki, goes for $9.95.
As for sushi, two pieces of plush maguro (tuna) may not have been as generously cut as some, but the price -- $4.50 -- wasn't as high either. And an amply sized Rock 'n' Roll, stuffed with spicy tuna, draped in avocado, and dusted with toasted sesame seeds, was yummy and fairly priced at $9.95.
Sumo (216-591-0888) is at 3365 Richmond Road, in a small office complex across from Moxie and Red. Lunch hours are 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday; dinner is 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Cheers . . . Beginning in March, downtown lunchgoers can enjoy a little booze with their midday pasta, salad, or sandwich at Porcelli's Bistro (1852 East Sixth Street, 216-574-2270). Once the bar is properly stocked, chef-owner Sergio Porcelli plans to launch dinner service.
No missing links . . . The chain-restaurant invasion continues full force. In the past two weeks alone, we've gained Texas-based Abuelo's Mexican Food Embassy (26100 Harvard Road, Warrensville Heights), Outback Steakhouse's fish and seafood spot Bonefish Grill (6150 Rockside Place, Independence), and BBQ joint Smokey Bones (25785 Brookpark Road, North Olmsted, outside Great Northern Mall), owned and operated by Darden Restaurants Inc.