Pictured here: Sushi Town's rocky, Mt. John, Timmy and spicy tuna rolls.
Here is the third of seven installments about South Sound maki sushi.
Trapper's/Trapper's Sushi Town
Where: 20649 State Route 410, Bonney Lake; 253-891-2046
Also in Puyallup at 209 39th Ave. S.W. Locations also in Bremerton and Covington. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sundays.
Prices: $ (Entrees under $14)
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Sushi Town's chef-owner Trapper O'Keeffe has two sushi approaches: Contemporary and accessible.
He said his niche is with maki rolls for the average sushi diner. "A lot of traditional sushi can be intimidating for first-time (sushi eaters). In Bonney Lake … there's not a traditional Asian population. I'm catering to the people who haven't had sushi."
Sushi Town is also budget friendly. O'Keeffe keeps prices low at his restaurant, which opened in August 2004. That also translates into cheaper ingredients, so if you're a maki snob, be warned, you'll find artificial crab in your roll. But if you're paying around $7 for a maki roll, that's to be expected.
O'Keeffe got his start in sushi at his brother-in-law's restaurant in Reno. His brother-in-law, an Osaka-born and trained sushi chef, taught him the contemporary craft of sushi rolls, which O'Keeffe brought with him when he came here to open the Oasis Sushi Bar at the Muckleshoot Casino in 2000.
And now he's expanding his concept. In March, he'll open a second Sushi Town in Covington (he'll be changing the name of both locations to Trapper's Sushi soon). Timmy Stanhope, who has worked at Sushi Town since it opened (and the Timmy behind the Timmy roll), will remain at the Bonney Lake location as general manager.
As for Sushi Town's menu, it's focused on typical maki rolls (many cooked), with more than 40 specialty rolls -- accessible to many palates.
Mount John ($9.75): This crystal shrimp roll is covered with tuna and octopus and topped with an addictive sweet, creamy cooked scallop salad with green onion and tobiko. Every time I eat there, I want a bowl of the scallop-tobiko mixture that tops the Mount John. The scallop topper also comes on the Mt. Rainier and Trapper maki rolls and the Jason hand rolls. My advice: Try them all.
Timmy Roll ($8.95): Spicy (artificial) crab, tuna, salmon and yellowtail in tempura and a spicy garlic sauce. It's a flavorful roll, but the artificial crab should be ditched.
Captain Crunch ($9.95): A decent flavor and textural pairing with cucumber, avocado and tobiko, and a solidly good crunch from tempura bits.
Sonic ($7.95): This unremarkable roll with tempura salmon in a garlic sauce with cucumber and tobiko absolutely fell apart when picked up with chopsticks or hands. Note to kitchen: Roll tighter, please.
The scene: Strip mall atmosphere in a bustling busy restaurant. Even on a Sunday afternoon or Monday evening, this place always seems packed. What it lacks in fancy atmosphere, it makes up for in speediness and budget-friendly maki.
Kid friendly: It has one of the best children's menu I've seen at a sushi restaurant. Six choices, two of which are sushi options (with cooked sushi).