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Chan's Sushi & Teriyaki

Chan's Sushi & Teriyaki's peppered tuna tataki and

Chan's Sushi & Teriyaki's peppered tuna tataki and the sushi deluxe combo. (June 2, 2012) Credit: Albert J. Orlando

Sharing ownership with the Chinese takeout next door, Chan's Sushi & Teriyaki gives the outward appearance of being little more than just another utilitarian strip mall spot. Inside, however, it's all about stylish serenity, with contemporary wood furnishings and burnished tiles in a neutral color palette.

And then there's the food.

Miso soup has surprising depth and subtlety -- plus paper-thin mushroom slices floating on top. Gyoza, half-moon dumplings stuffed with pork, proclaim their character. And while miso-grilled Japanese eggplant halves may be a tad stringy on the inside, there's a big flavor payoff after working those chopsticks.

Sushi chefs Andy Liu and Edison Jiang turn out precision-cut pepper tuna tataki, the rosy slices of flash-seared fish rimmed in black. Spicy salmon, tuna and avocado unite to form a Paradise roll; the marriage works especially well, with both fish and rice at ideal room temperature. A spicy tuna roll, made with freshly cut chunks of tuna dabbed with spicy mayonnaise, proves a standout. The same spicy kick puts a halo on the Angel roll, made with tuna, salmon avocado and tempura flakes.

A friend who will eat only cooked items at Japanese restaurants, gets a deep-fried yam roll; it's undermined by the potato's intrinsic starchiness. But a spider roll -- soft shell crab, cucumber and avocado -- most definitely has legs.

The inevitable surimi and cooked shrimp show up to trivialize an otherwise lovely chirashi plate: pristinely fresh tuna, salmon, octopus and white tuna. A sushi deluxe plate is free of those items and features only flawless finfish plus a tuna roll.

Although chicken teriyaki can often turn out dry and boring, the version here is moist and generous, served with bright cuts of sauteed zucchini. Even the similarly composed tofu teriyaki platter takes the genre to a higher level.

Tempura-fried ice cream is a dessert option, one that I'd bypass in favor of mango mochi, ending the meal on an appropriately buoyant note.

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