Kiha II of Japan impresses with sauces, sushi

by Eric Ginsburg

A Kiha Roll lays lightly dusted with roe, encasing a delicious assortment of crabmeat, avocado, lettuce, and other fine ingredients. (photo by Alexandria Stewart)

Not many restaurants can claim to be located next to a castle, but Kiha II of Japan on High Point Road has more to brag about than its neighbors. Standing between Castle of Styles Beauty Salon and City Automotive, this steakhouse, seafood and sushi dining establishment serves up an array of primarily meat dishes.

Somehow on the way in we didn’t notice the large sign displaying the daily specials, which would have helped later with some confusion about why our Saturday night sushi order was 15 percent off. For some unexplained reasons there are varying specials Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, most notably 10 percent off all Tuesday dinners.

Kiha is decorated with warm colors and is sunlit during the day.

Decorated with some Japanese restaurant staples like swords, art and an enormous fan, Kiha is also adorned with small dangling lights shaped like snowflakes hanging around the room and a few tasteful fake plants as well.

Around the edges of the one large room are booths forming a ring around tables set for six. This night on the eve of Mothers’ Day, nearly 30 people filled every booth and one larger table, some assumedly on dates while others were out with friends or family.

I followed the rule of thumb for trying and evaluating new restaurants: Order the house specials. The dinner options already come with the house salad, house soup, vegetables and fried rice, but I made sure to order the salad with the house dressing and try the kiha sushi rolls.

The rolls are decorated with small orange roe on the outside. The rolls were crafted with carrot, lettuce, seaweed, avocado, cucumber and crabmeat and were just one aspect of our distinctively delicious meal.

The accompanying salad is deceivingly simple. It comes with lettuce and some shredded carrots, but make sure to order it with the house dressing. My girlfriend used to come here with her family and her mom liked the house dressing so much that she came by to purchase some.

After finishing off the soup, salad and my share of the sushi, the large portion of hibachi chicken and shrimp was more than I could manage and it ended up serving as lunch the next day. Served with pepper, a little too much onion and a small amount of squash and zucchini, I made sure to vary between a thick ginger sauce on the meat and a sweet, mayo-based white dressing on the fried rice and corn.

Normally where dinner averages more than $10 a person I feel underdressed in a flannel and jeans, and while I didn’t deserve an award for Best Dressed, I was surprised to see a few customers wearing ratty T-shirts. The come-as-you-are style was a refreshing change of pace from the sometimes uptight patrons elsewhere who might turn up their nose at casual attire.

Though there was more food than I could manage, my eyes wandered the menu and caught a number of other intriguing options like the dragon rolls, squid salad and soft-shell crab. I sat there wondering what the eel roll tasted like or if I should have picked steak instead of shrimp with my dinner.

I left impressed, especially by the house salad dressing and the kiha sushi rolls, but couldn’t help but wonder what else I was missing. Maybe next time I’ll save room for fried banana with ice cream or get some house sauce to go for myself.

wanna go?

Kiha II of Japan 3818 High Point Road Greensboro

by Eric Ginsburg /