The restaurant offerings in Eagle used to be slim pickin's. As recently as seven years ago, a burger joint, a Chinese place and a handful of pizza parlors pretty much made up the sparse culinary landscape of the sleepy suburban community. Today, what was once a weed-strewn dirt lot in the heart of downtown Eagle has been transformed into a cute patio-home village with its own retail center that includes a day spa and the Ahi Sushi Bar. No longer do Eagle residents have to drive into Boise for their regular fill of the raw goods.
The restaurant's interior is painted a deep sage green that is accented by a high, black ceiling and black trim around the many windows, which bring lots of natural light into the space. Large, brightly painted trophy fish, like marlin and tuna, hang from the walls, and cobalt blue pendant lights gently punctuate a three-sided sushi bar and the simple dining room that surrounds it.
The menu features basic sushi offerings like maki, nigiri and sashimi, as well as appetizer staples like edamame ($1.50), gyoza ($6.50) and miso soup ($1.50). A few tempura selections and rice bowls round out the menu. Weekday lunch specials ($7.50) come with miso soup and a green salad, and change daily with selections like Monday's chicken katsudon, Wednesday's Japanese beef bowl and Friday's beef curry bowl.
My husband and I headed to Ahi for dinner on a recent Friday night with our good friend Paul and his 5th-grade daughter, Rachael. My man and I started off by sharing a tall carafe of hot sake ($7.50) on that chilly winter eve. The warm, baked mussels ($6.50) sounded tempting and turned out to be a pleasant starter for our meal. Made with a blend of tender mussel, crab and scallop meats, the trio of filled mussel shells was drizzled with a sweet eel sauce and hit the spot. For our entrees, Paul chose the beef teriyaki bowl ($7.50), which he said tasted good, but mentioned the beef was a little fatty and could have been more tender. Rachael went with the chicken teriyaki bowl ($7.50) and we heard nary a peep from the picky lass while she ate. Both bowls looked to be loaded with meat and broccoli florets, sliced carrots and onions on a bed of white rice.
My husband opted for the spicy scallop roll ($5.99) and a spicy tuna roll ($5.99), which were simply placed with wasabi and ginger on a large white plate. He remarked that although the quality seemed fresh, they were fairly tasteless. I selected a rainbow roll ($11.99) with draped slices of ahi, salmon, shrimp and snapper over a basic California roll. While the fish was firm and smelled fresh, the roll tasted bland and lacked any of that familiar ocean-y sweetness. We also ordered a poke martini ($12.99) made with cubes of raw tuna, seaweed and daikon radish sprouts tossed in sesame oil and soy sauce. It was heavy on the sesame oil for my liking, but otherwise OK.
When our desserts of chocolate lava cake ($6.95) and deep fried green tea ice cream balls ($6.50) were served, our waitress left several empty dinner dishes on our table. Even after the dessert dishes had been licked clean and we'd paid our bill, we still sat at a table cluttered with empty glasses and abandoned dinner plates.
Ahi Sushi Bar is in a killer location, was packed during our Friday visit and seems to have a lot going for it. A few minor tweaks could keep the Eagle sushi crowd coming back.
—Jennifer Hernandez is a lousy billiards player.