They're making a lot of noise at Mio Sushi & Steakhouse.
Jammed at the hibachi tables, crowded in the main dining room, and three-deep at the happy-hour bar, Mio opened with the kind of fervor reserved for "Jurassic World" and "Ant-Man." Both movies drew special-effects fans to the nearby Elwood Cinemas.
Mio provides its own show, complete with enough high-flame pyrotechnics and clanging metal to satisfy the most demanding diners at the hibachi. The visuals are big in the artful compositions of uncooked fish in the adjoining dining area, too. It just depends on the experience you want.
Full-throated birthday parties are welcome in either colorful space.
Before you join in, consider a silky starter of live scallop or geoduck clam. They both star as sashimi. The scallop also stands out in a mini-salad; the clam, as ceviche. These two luxuries may highlight omakase, the daily chef's choice of sashimi and sushi. Jumbo sweet shrimp, Kumamoto oysters, fluke, striped bass, red snapper, maguro tuna, and especially fatty tuna are excellent -- a serene way to begin.
Mio has fun with the multi-ingredient sushi rolls that too often bully their way past the traditional raw fish on ovals of vinegared rice. The restaurant's namesake roll, with fresh lobster, tuna, avocado, mango, seaweed and kiwi-mint sauce, is good. The more familiar hand rolls and cylindrical rolls include a fine combo of yellowtail and scallion. Vegetarians should veer to sweet-potato tempura.
Tempura of shrimp and vegetables is a crunchy, satisfying starter. Likewise, the crackling rock shrimp tempura with yuzu aioli and jalapeño-spurred ponzu sauce, and the crisp "ocean gyoza," which casts away risk and takes in chopped white tuna, shrimp, scallop, scallion, and celery, set on, yes, guacamole and Thai-chile sauce.
Less successful, however, are the blue-crab fajita finished with a "special sauce" that undermines everything else; the unwieldy and overochestrated king crab-and-lobster pizza; and the overcooked skewers of Japanese sausage and bacon-and-scallop. You'll want to refresh yourself with the cool seaweed salad.
At the hibachi table, sizzle with filet mignon, black cod, salmon, chicken, vegetables. The kitchen sends out tender and cooked-to-order steak teriyaki; nabeyaki udon, the fat noodles in soup paired with shrimp tempura; and a tangy, lemongrass-infused spin on hot-and-sour soup.
Quietly skip dessert.