Jan. 5—EDITOR'S NOTE — This is one in a series looking at how immigrants and children of immigrants have settled in Northeast Ohio and brought their native dishes and cooking styles with them.
Ninja Japanese doesn't offer a lot of half-price specials and doesn't do much fancy advertising to attract customers.
As owner Nancy Lin said, the restaurant lets the quality of the food speak for itself.
"We always buy the top ingredients and pass that along to the customer instead of lesser product and half-off deals," Lin said. "Even the rice that we put in the sushi is a special type of rice we buy because it adds to our dishes."
Located at 7873 Munson Road in Mentor-on-the-Lake, Ninja Japanese is an inspiration derived from traditional Japanese culture. Lin said the highly trained chefs always select the freshest ingredients to prepare in each meal according to individual tastes and are constantly learning new techniques.
The restaurant opened in 2014 as a very small location, with a small sushi bar and only six tables for sit-down dining.
In 2021, it acquired an adjacent unit, shut down for five weeks to redesign and redecorate and expanded to a restaurant that now has a sushi bar that can seat 12, a dining room with a capacity for 86 and a full bar.
Ninja Japanese is designed to provide visual creativity in both preparation and presentation, and the atmosphere of the restaurant only adds to the dining experience.
The sushi chefs prepare dishes in full view of the customers, showing off years of experience while their culinary skills produce a large menu of dishes from sushi of all varieties, including raw dishes, to vegetarian rolls, tempura, maki, sashimi and cooked dishes.
There are plenty of options from the kitchen from soup to lo mein to fried rice to teriyaki and noodle dishes with a section of protein ranging from chicken to scallops to shrimp to steak.
Ninja Japanese also offers hibachi meals, including twin lobster tails and filet mignon.
Lin said one of the more popular dishes is the Omakase, which in Japanese translates to "I'll leave it up to you" where chefs create original sushi rolls. The website suggests this item is ordered in advance.
Although there is somewhat limited parking with several businesses sharing the lot, Lin said she is very comfortable at the location, especially since the expansion.
"We feel very good and the customers seem to enjoy it," she said. "We have people that come in three or four times per week, some come from as far as Akron."
While the restaurant is known primarily for sushi and hibachi, Lin said the staff is very proud of the desserts they offer as well and the customers seem to enjoy the after-dinner offerings. Selections include ice cream tempura, cheesecake tempura, Mochi ice cream, creme brulee, green tea and a special chocolate crepe cake.
"We want people to come for a complete dining experience and realize we are more than just a restaurant that serves sushi," Lin said.
The restaurant is closed on Mondays and does have lunch and dinner menus. They close between 2 to 4 p.m.
For full hours of operation or to order for pick up, go to ninjainmentor.com or call 440-701-8293.