Munch goes to Sushi Three
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Munch was griping, loudly, about needing to find a restaurant to review that was open on a Monday night, when Eavesdropping Colleague of Munch interjected himself into the conversation.
"You should go to Sushi Three in Mt. Lebanon," he said, pausing for dramatic effect, "and you should take me with you."
Fine, thought Munch, it's a deal -- a finder's fee, if you will. But just as soon as Munch thought plans were in place, ECOM started to backtrack. "Uh, actually, I probably can't make it. ... Um, my wife has been home with the kids all day. ... Uh, I'm really sorry."
Munch was confused. How was it that ECOM had just A) brazenly invited himself to dinner and then B) taken pains to let Munch down easy for something Munch never invited him to in the first place? Should Munch feel rejected or relieved? Inside that tough brown bag exterior, Munch's head was spinning.
That said, Munch was perfectly happy to steal his suggestion. Munch grabbed Dear One of Munch and headed to a quaint strip of stores and restaurants along Beverly Road in Mt. Lebanon.
Inside, the restaurant was modern but comfortable, painted in soothing tones that Munch might describe as celadon and maize, if Munch were, say, writing a Pottery Barn catalog. For a Monday night, there was plenty of traffic in the restaurant, with the clientele checking all the requisite Mt. Lebanon boxes: your lone businessmen, your boisterous young families and your empty-nester housewives, with jogging strollers and dogs making rounds on the sidewalk outside.
Munch and DOOM also were greeted by menus that were simply immense, filling 10 large pages. Although the focus of the restaurant is clearly Japanese, entrees also spanned other parts of Asia, from green curry to General Tso's chicken.
Munch and DOOM decided to start with an appetizer to quiet their growling tummies, choosing the cold sesame noodles ($4.95) after being informed that their first choice, the scallion pancakes, were no longer available (though still on the menu).
The noodles, frankly, weren't great. The sauce tasted more like peanut butter than sesame, and there was so much of it that it formed a soupy pool at the bottom of the bowl. But they did fortify Munch and DOOM enough to allow them to tackle the rest of the menu -- no simple task when choosing from dozens upon dozens of sushi options.
Perhaps drawn by a challenge, Munch decided to order a deluxe sushi platter. But picking one was not unlike deciphering a question on the LSAT: you had to pick A, B, C, D, with no substitutions, except those allowed by a diagram with a series of arrows and further reinforced by asterisks. No wonder the schools are good in Mt. Lebanon. It takes a proper education just to figure out the menu.
Munch simply asked for "D," which, at $19.95, came with soup, salad, two pieces of tuna, mackerel, whitefish and salmon roe sushi, and six tuna rolls. From the extensive a la carte menu, DOOM ordered an eel roll ($5.75), a spicy California roll ($4.50) and a negihamachi roll (yellowtail and scallions).
Munch might have been overwhelmed by the quantity of food that arrived, but Munch was not disappointed. The fish was fresh and the flavors diverse: the salty burst of the salmon roe, the delicate earthiness of the negihamachi, the sweetness of the eel and the spiciness of the California roll ... all at prices that were more than reasonable. Munch can only quibble with the salad, which -- much like the noodles -- was drowning in dressing.
While the meal was far from perfect, Munch left satisfied ... and stuffed. While Munch might not travel across town for Sushi Three, Munch would be thrilled to have it anywhere near the neighborhood.
Sushi Three is at 297 Beverly Road, Mt. Lebanon. Call 412-344-7874.
First Published July 10, 2008 12:00 am