Jul 7, 2021 - Food and Drink

Review: Bentonville's Aoi Sushi is changing the city's sushi game

A close-up photo of wonton chips covered in sushi, jalapenos, scallions, and sauce.

The Aoi Japanese Nachos. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

Sushi isn't a dish you normally associate with Bentonville. Face it, we're about as far from the ocean as you can get without being in Kansas.

  • But I've traveled enough and eaten enough to know good sushi from meh sushi.
  • So I was hopeful ā€” though skeptical ā€” when trying out Aoi Sushi in downtown Bentonville.

The verdict: I don't know the term for the feeling one has when their mind turns from skepticism to sudden serendipitous surprise, but the sound made must be a cork pop followed by: Aoi! (Pronounced like ahoy, minus the "h" sound.)

  • My wife and I tried rolls, because that's the kind of sushi fans we are, but we also had yellowtail tuna nigiri and, who can pass up something called Aoi Japanese Nachos?
  • In all the dishes the fish is like butter. Perfect texture and flavor without that hint of the, well, chlorine you get sometimes.
  • The roll recipes are elevated from the norm, packed with a more sophisticated level of flavor than what you get with inland sushi shops. My wife and I are big fans of the Alaskan King Roll and the Aoi Love Roll.
  • The nachos? Don't ask, just try.

If you go (and you should): Reservations are recommended, but I highly recommend you try to grab a last-minute seat at the bar so you can get a front row view as the chef makes your food.


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