food :Kokoro Maki House offers friendly atmosphere and generous portions

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Simple and clean, the family-owned Kokoro Maki House provides an at-home atmosphere among an array of sushi and other Japanese and Korean dishes.

Walking into the small yet comfortable restaurant at 340 West 75th Street in Waldo, I was immediately taken back by the friendly environment and the small staff working behind the counter. I am a fan of smaller-scale environments for dining experiences, and Kokoro again takes the cake on instilling such an essence.

After sitting down at one of the tables and grabbing a menu from the counter, I read over the many different styles of sushi and noodle combinations. Compared with similar style restaurants in town, this place, by far, wins in the price department. With small sushi combinations less than $3 to specialty plates for less than $10, each portion is well worth the price.

For those who are iffy about raw fish, the dinner portions are a little bit pricier. The healthy-sized portions are also worth the price.

From chicken teriyaki meals to delicious rib dishes, these portions run on the $10-to-$20 scale, yet they would be a great option for two friends on a budget to split. There are also a variety of cheap appetizers and small entrees, from seaweed salads to different soups.

After perusing the specialty roll section, I decided on the Hot Mama sushi roll, consisting of spicy tuna and spicy crab, which was less than $9 and completely worth the price – I ended up not being able to finish it, which is rare for me. I also chose the mildly-spiced Ramen and enjoyed every mouthful.

Drink-wise, the choices were fairly modest. I chose a Perrier sparkling water and went to the counter to pay for my order. Even with two entrees and a higher-priced drink, my meal was just under $20. This seemed like a splurge for the prices of the menu, because it truly is an extremely decently priced place.

Finally, after I ate my food and drank my Perrier, I felt full but still refreshed enough and ready to take on the night.

The service was difficult to judge because, quite honestly, the only interaction I had with the cashier or server was when I went up to pay before getting my meal and when the cashier casually picked up the empty plates.

However, sometimes this is the best kind of interaction, so I did approve. I would recommend this place for any student on a budget and to anyone with a keen love for sushi, Japanese or Korean cuisine. I plan to give myself at least a week break until my next visit – until then, Kokoro.

abyrne@unews.com

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