107 S. Main St., Royal Oak • 248.586.0994 littletreesushibarinc.com Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-midnight; Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sushi has become a staple of the American diet at this point. A decade ago, it was a growing trend. Now, your favorite raw fish joint is judged more on aesthetic, modern fusion of Asian cuisine and what types of crazy eggplant-starfish-guppy roll they're able to slap together. The quality, freshness and art form that sushi was once judged on has gone squarely out the window.
Rest assured, Little Tree Sushi Bar offers both high-quality traditional sushi and cutting-edge inventiveness simultaneously. The other thing to keep in mind is that, despite the fact that their sister restaurant Katana Nu-Asian Steakhouse is right next door (they offer the same sushi menu at both locales), they still provide more traditional Asian fare than what you'd find at your local sushi joint.
The Asian food purist will be satisfied with Little Tree's offering of Japanese, Thai, Filipino and general Asian plates (they keep pad thai and teriyaki around so as to appease those with more traditional tastes). Additionally, even dishes such as paella are offered at Little Tree with their own unique and subtle Asian flair. A generous portion of king crab is mingled with shrimp, mussels and scallops in a delicious tomato broth, and is highly recommended even if just for the fact that it's a visually remarkable dish (it is equally as delicious, for the record).
One of their strengths, as already stated, is their ability to consistently provide a unique offering of sushi that doesn't cross the line into side-show oddity. Their chalkboard dailies and specialty rolls always seem to contain something that piques popular interest. The Fresca Roll, for instance, is a standard tuna roll with spicy mayo topped with tuna, avocado and pico de gallo (which provides one of the most remarkably clean, fresh and unique sushi experiences you'll encounter). You're safe going either way: the tried-and-true traditional sushi route (their nigiri and sashimi are ridiculously fresh and delicious) or the I'll-give-it-a-whirl specialty test. And for the record, their exotic sushi menu offers fresh Hawaiian fish flown in once a week, and you can literally tell the difference in texture and freshness.
With a modern interior that stops short of being yuppie, pretentious or [insert any other obnoxious contemporary establishment's theme here], Little Tree provides a nice, spacious dining area and sushi bar that holds a very large dinner or early evening crowd without feeling cramped. The true test of Little Tree's popularity comes on your average Friday or Saturday night. The place is busy on any given evening, but it truly comes alive on weekends. And restaurants that simply fake it don't hold a consistent clientele over the test of time. Little Tree upholds that theory beyond the shadow of a doubt.
One of the 24 participants in Royal Oak Restaurant Week (10/3-10/9), Little Tree is offering a three-course meal (sushi, soup, entrée and Japanese ice cream) for only $20. Even if you've visited recently, why not take the opportunity to stop by again and enjoy a selection from their incredible menu at a great discount? | RDW