By Amanda Newfield, Correspondent
Arigato Japanese Restaurant in Azusa was delightfully satisfying in the most Japanese way, even if I nearly missed the restaurant as I drove up Azusa Avenue.
The face of the venue is nothing special, with a small and almost non-existent porch. But it was the inside of the restaurant that caught my attention.
As I ventured into a narrow building and walked past the sushi bar, I noticed cherry blossoms and a Japanese woman painted on the wall to my left and old style brick that reminded me of the east coast to the right.
The ambiance was peaceful as a Japanese restaurant should be – the restaurant was not too loud and yet not so quiet that one feels compelled to whisper.
The server was pleasant and attentive but not overbearing.
Then came the food – in a prompt manner, by the way – and it was more than I expected. The $9.95 Dynamite Roll lived up to its name with scallops and crab covering the roll with a sweet soy sauce to top it off. The fish was fresh and tasty and the rice was sticky and delicious.
What Japanese lunch is complete without tempura? The vegetable tempera was good. I was a little caught off guard by the tempura-covered bell pepper, but the crispy and fresh shrimp tempura was superb.
Arigato, which means thank you in Japanese, offers more types of rolls then I could have asked for, from spicy tuna to Hawaiian volcano. The choices were almost overwhelming.
I decided to be daring and ordered the $4.95 Eel Avocado Roll, which did not disappoint. The eel and avocado were fresh and satisfying; it was a good-size roll for the price.
The family-owned restaurant is at 722 N. Azusa Ave. in Azusa. Operation hours vary. For reservations or to call ahead an order, you can reach the restaurant at (626) 334-5545. Or for menu information or business hours visit www.mrarigato.com.