Akron, Ohio              Date of Visit: 01/23/10         

Tried a new place to celebrate a birthday. Located right in downtown Akron, which appears to be hoppin’ by the way, Cilantro promises Sushi and Thai Cuisine right in Akron. The interior is bright and cleanly appointed with warm colors and attractive lighting. Quiet when we sat at 6:30, the place really started to pick up during our service.

First the service. Our server was a very nice young man, but he had little to no training in his current profession. Working hard, he was nonetheless inefficient and tragically uninformed. He struggled to describe anything on the menu, other than to say he didn’t really like sushi. I doubt it is his fault, but he could really use some guidance.


Cilantro Special Roll

We shared five appetizers, a seaweed salad, spring rolls, spicy tuna rolls, the Cilantro special roll, and the tuna tataki. This was the real highlight of the evening, although not all of them hit the mark. The salad didn’t have any zing, which is unfortunate. The spicy tuna rolls were exactly what we were looking for and the spring rolls were hot, crispy, and delicious, served with a sweet vinegary sauce. The tuna tataki was a real find, sliced with a razor, these strips of sushi grade tuna were just frightened by the thought of heat and laid in a complimentary ponzu sauce. The house special roll was my favorite, spicy mayo with a real kick played off the tuna and spicy tuna, all topped with a special sauce and crunchy panko topping. These two offerings are defiantly worth a return trip to downtown Akron.  
Seaweed Salad

Spicy Tuna Roll

Tuna Tataki
  Unfortunately, we had already hit the high point of our evening. We followed up with a Shrimp Pad Thai that not only lacked in complexity, but lacked any flavor at all. This should be a signature dish but if they are wise they will sign John Doe in any autograph book for this one. A yellow curry highlighted one particular benefit at Cilantro as you can order several items with your choice of protein and then signify the amount of heat you would prefer from 1 – 5. Just a note, the 2 has a warm and substantial kick for my palate. The highlight of the entrees was actually chicken satay from the app menu, simple but tasty, with a superbly limey peanut sauce and a new to me cucumber sauce.
Pad Thai

Inside the Special Roll

Yellow Curry

My Duck Basil started with a taste of a promising peppery sauce and quite the pile of duck breast, but everything was cold and the duck appallingly overcooked. Full of flavor, the execution of the dish itself spoiled what might have been something memorable for much better reasons. I decided against desserts as my entrée included a surprise, bones and bones. About five bites of the duck proved the menu wrong, in stating the breast was boneless. Big mistake. All in all, I would return anytime for the sushi or other appetizers, but would be sure to fill the table with small plates before risking another specialty, I can’t afford the orthodonture.


Chicken Satay

One last note, the sushi was every bit as good as our trip to Parallax and we got out the door over $100 less, for those who are considering a drive to Cleveland for sushi, give this place a try. Just don't expect too much from the servers and rub down your entree for physical hazards, or stick to the first two pages of the menu.


Duck Basil




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