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EATS & DRINKS

By Case Dighero | Photos by Meredith Mashburn

Rein Sushi & Hibachi

101 W. Johnson Ave., Springdale | (479) 361-8008 | www.reinspringdale.com

Famished. We roll into Rein Sushi & Hibachi draped in summer Arkansas heat, but we are relaxed and chilled immediately by the sight of a busy display kitchen churning out vibrantly colored platters of ultra-fresh sushi and sashimi, unmistakable sounds of sizzling hibachi, and the ethereal fragrances of fresh ginger and sesame. Yes, famished and reeling after an afternoon at a bustling street festival in downtown Springdale but calmed and reinvigorated by the excitement of a new restaurant.

We order a carafe of chilled Snow Beauty sake ($16), cloudy and milky with a velvety texture. Two, three sips, and now we’re marching in the right direction. Rein has only been open a few months, but already word has gotten out. Both the patio and interior dining room are filled with locals perfecting their chopstick skills, sips and long twirls of fried noodles. People are happy, Springdale is energized, Rein is busy. And we are ecstatic.

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Kiss of Fire

Moments later, we’re presented with a short platter of Rice Crispy Tuna ($7), fried sushi rice pillows topped with spicy tuna and avocado. Each bite is a wonderful juxtaposition of texture, crunch and slurp at the same time. We order a second platter before we’re finished with the first because it’s that good. Our friendly server drops off two more dishes. One is Crab Rangoon Nachos ($10), a deconstructed take on the popular appetizer in which wonton chips are topped with shredded crab, cream cheese and sweet chili sauce. Scoop, crunch, repeat. Next up, the Monkey Brain ($9), a deceivingly pretty appetizer with a fried half avocado teeming with tuna, crab salad, then finished with toasted panko and yum yum sauce.

Friends and business partners Reiner Wibowo and Bari Prabana hit the ground running in downtown Springdale with the opening of their Japanese-style restaurant. Both have had success with their arkanSeoul restaurant in Bentonville but decided to expand their vision after seeing the exciting cultural and culinary development in and around Emma Avenue.

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Reiner Wlbowo and Barl Prabana

Chef Bari heads up the hibachi kitchen, churning out a plethora of new ideas and classic standards that include steak, shrimp, lobster, salmon, chicken and scallops nestled against a choice of smoky long noodles, seared vegetables or rice. All options are served traditionally or brilliantly rolled and presented as a burrito. No, your eyes don’t deceive…burrito.

 

Sushi is also a mainstay at Rein. Chefs brandish sharp Japanese knives, making precision cuts with beautiful, fresh fish of all varieties. I’m in awe of the quality. How is it possible to have this experience in sushi, this far away from the ocean? Still, technique is the trick, and I could spend hours watching the Rein sushi chefs work their craft in the brilliantly organized and well-equipped display kitchen.   

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Monkey Brain

Nigiri and sashimi laid out before us, we sword fight with chopsticks over rainbow colors of salmon, tuna, hamachi, escolar, tamago and unagi dipped in soy, wasabi and pickled ginger.

 

Rein also offers a number of notable rolls for the more gluttonous diner, including the Kiss of Fire ($20), shrimp tempura and crab salad, topped with avocado, baked crawfish, masago, green onions, sriracha, spicy mayo, eel sauce, chili oil and lemon juice; and the Rein Roll ($16), spicy tuna and shrimp tempura, topped with tuna, salmon, yellowtail, masago, green onions, ponzu and eel sauce.

 

Indeed, the vibe in downtown Springdale continues to gain momentum with the presence of Rein Sushi & Hibachi, and we’re all undeniably happy, energized and ecstatic.

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Rice Crispy Tuna

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Crab Rangoon Nachos

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Sushi Platter

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Hibachi Combo

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