Restaurant: Shark Sushi and Hibachi
Location: 275 Thayer Street, Providence, RI 02865
Cuisine: Japanese Sushi and Hibachi
Price: A bit above average
Would I eat there again? On occasion
*NOTE- Shark opened just two weeks ago, and as such is still very much in the formative stage. This review (and any other review of a newly opened restaurant) should be considered as a first impression, not a final judgement. It is written with the intention of giving an introduction to a new restaurant- so enjoy!
Dunkin Donut closed down on Thayer Street nearly two years ago. Their space (and more recently Spike's on Thayer) had sat empty until Shark started moving in. Work started in earnest a long 6-9 months ago, and in the intervening months they have done a complete makeover and update of the space.
The interior is dark and attractive, fitting in well with Kartabar, Andreas, and the rest of it's relatives on Thayer. Several flat screen TV's adorn the walls, and the staff looks like the standard Thayer wait staff (read into that what you want). The main attraction is the fish tank. Sitting squarely in the middle of restaurant (and filling the entire back bar area) the tank is pretty darn huge, and yes there is a shark, along with a lionfish, and a fun assortment of other tropical species that are hopefully shark-proof. It is refreshing to look at the fish instead of the same 100 quasi-high end liquor bottles.
There is an extensive cocktail list that seems a little stuck in the sugared up fruity martinis of the past 10 years, but has some fun options including a house made pineapple infused vodka. A fairly standard wine and beer list, and a few interesting looking sakes round out the drinks list.
The menu seems to have 3 main segments- sushi, more standard american entrees, and hibachi (also known as Teppanyaki). We did not try the hibachi which could be fun, but at $15-$30 per person I think I will wait for a special occasion. Their other entrees (pasta, fish, chicken and meat all looked fairly average, and seemed priced high ($16-$24 for the pasta options), but without trying them out I will reserve further judgement.
The sushi menu is fairy extensive with higher end maki rolls seeming to be the most interesting (if pricey with most specialty maki rolls over $10). We dined on a variety of standard sushi rolls (california, tuna, yellowtail, salmon skin, etc..) after starting out with their fried calamari and miso soup. The calamari was enjoyable with a good dose of pickled hot peppers and scallions tossed in. The menu also claimed a miso aioli in the dish, which seemed to be MIA from our plate, but sounded nice. The soup had a good flavor and heartiness, simple and just want you want from a warmup course. The sushi was all fine, nothing stood out particularly and it seemed to taste rather similar (this could have been due to poor ordering choices as well). It was fresh and clean, and I imagine some of the more fancy rolls and variations might be where the excitement is.
Service was very friendly and polite and waters were kept topped off. They certainly had plenty of staff on hand, which is a good thing as they were pretty busy (and with their restaurant seating ~ 120, they had better be ready for some serious rushes).
The grand opening is still a ways off- so hopefully they will get the chance to turn their good start into a great restaurant.
Shark is the newest addition to Thayer Street, challenging Paragon, Andreas, and Kartabar for the drinking & dining crowd. At this point it doesn't really stand out from the pack (in fact it feels like it could have been there for years), which hopefully will change as it gets some more experience under its belt. We could use a really good Japanese restaurant on Thayer, I hope they can rise to the challenge!