Indulge at Boathouse Sushi in Rohnert Park
Many Sonoma County locals are familiar with Boathouse Sushi, which for many years welcomed guests to its Japanese eatery on Redwood Drive and Rohnert Park Expressway. But this is a brand new Boathouse Sushi, located in a prime space within The Graton Resort & Casino in Rohnert Park.
And what a grand new place it is.
The original Rohnert Park restaurant debuted in 2004, followed by another store on Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa. Then, partner and chef Catherine Do added yet another spot, the quick service “mini” Boathouse Asian Noodles in the Casino’s food court when the Casino opened three years ago.
For this newest enterprise, Do has expanded the menu to other Asian cuisines, including traditional Chinese and Vietnamese cooking.
The look: Walls of glass separate the slot machine action from the elegant dining tables, creating a quiet cocoon amid white brick walls painted with Japanese-style octopus murals. Gray banquettes and chairs get pops of color from Japanese pattern pillows in rich red and gold, while a tall, uplit silk tree reaches toward the second floor loft. A sleek wood sushi and raw oyster bar anchor the restaurant’s center, with dramatic pendant lighting all around for a modern statement.
To eat: There’s sushi, of course, in an array of nigiri staples like tuna ($7), salmon ($6), and yellowtail ($7), but also more exotic bites like raw Wagyu ($9), oyster ($7) and halibut ($5). Rolls push the creative envelope, such as the Trainwreck of spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, cucumber, unagi, avocado, spicy aioli, tobiko and green onion ($16), or the Mexican of spicy crab, cucumber, ebi, avocado and splashed with spicy jalapeño ponzu ($13).
Still, one of the best is the Rainbow, a simple California roll that’s draped with an assortment of silky sashimi including tuna, salmon, yellowtail, shrimp and snapper ($15).
The kitchen does a nice job with bento boxes, particularly the crispy pork tonkatsu and shrimp tempura combo rounded out with miso soup, salad and steamed rice ($15). An ample list of share plates tempt as well, such as the delicious Vietnamese crepes crafted of lacy rice-tumeric dough stuffed with shrimp, pork, onion and bean sprouts ($13), or iron pot rice studded with Chinese sausage, barbecue pork, chicken and king trumpet mushrooms all finished with toasted rice ($15).
There is sophisticated cooking to be had here, tossing manila clams in ginger-spiked black bean sauce ($15), folding excellent pork belly into the fried rice kissed with lime and kimchee ($10), and presenting an entire lobster dressed in ginger garlic onion sauce (market price).
The soups are flat out superb. Duck noodle soup delivers slurpable joy, stocked with tender duck leg, bok choy, egg noodles and pork in an earthy shiitake broth ($14). And this is authentic ramen, the rich tonkatsu broth ample with chashu pork, bean sprouts, bamboo, corn, green onion, soft boiled egg and a dollop of blackened garlic mayu oil ($14).
To note: Portions are generous, so resist the urge to order a lot of dishes at once. Yes, they all sound good, and are good, but you’ll fill up faster than you think.
To drink: Beer, wine, sake and a full bar.
Details: Boathouse Sushi at The Graton Casino: 630 Park Court, Rohnert Park, 707-588-9440.
While you're in Rohnert Park, check out these 5 fun things to do.