Sushi Monk of West Chester Review: They’re going to need a bigger place, because the food is that good

I often brag about the many options there are in West Chester, Ohio for entertainment and business, and I give the credit toward the trustees for creating a friendly pro-business environment.  And many people I know have loved Sushi Monk  which was located near the Kroger by Beckett Ridge encouraging me to go there—which I didn’t because it was a small little place that didn’t embody what I considered to be a good night out with my family .  I do eat sushi quite a lot, I like getting it at the Kona Grill currently, or the Fuji Steakhouse at Bridgewater.  I do a lot of computer work during the day and it’s a leaner snack than potato chips and nuts, so I get a lot of sushi.  The easiest for me is the Kroger counter where you can stop by the Beckett Ridge location and get a nice pack of it for about $10—which is often my lunch when I don’t have time to go out somewhere to eat.  But I didn’t go to the Sushi Monk for a lot of reasons—mainly because I preferred the other options.  Yet I kept hearing that I haven’t had real sushi outside of Japan unless I’ve been to Sushi Monk, so I’ve had it on my list for a while.

Recently because of the quality of Sushi Monk they moved from the 747 location to one at the plaza across from Jags on Lakota Dr West for more space.  I had out-of-town guests and the suggestion was brought up to go there because they wanted something more authentic to their normal diet, so an opportunity had presented itself because the new restaurant had just acquired their liquor license and I’ll have to say I was very impressed.

I was there on a Friday night and the place was really humming along, every table was occupied and the staff behind the sushi bar were working very respectfully to feed the entire room with those little works of art.  Normally, sushi is prepared well in advance of needing it, and when they do make it fresh, you wait for it–unless you are at a really classy place.  These guys were making it fresh from the beginning of the night to the end and the precision of their work was admirable.  I couldn’t help but respect deeply the skill it took the staff at Sushi Monk to prepare all that food for such a large crowds all evening long.  For me the night started around 6 PM and ended around 9:30 PM and I never saw anybody lag in performance or even look stressed out even as the place became packed.

When I was there the place had only been open for a few weeks and they had literally just obtained their liquor license so there were some bugs to work out.  The biggest problem was the bathroom situation.  There was only one toilet per bathroom and everyone had to manage getting to it with some patient cooperation.  This will get much worse now that they have a liquor license.  But I was more than willing to overlook that little problem to get to the buoyancy of the environment.  It was thriving with happy people who came to Sushi Monk to have an authentic experience that you might get at a similar place in Tokyo or even Hong Kong—yet in West Chester, Ohio it was available—and I was grateful.  The guests I was with enjoyed the experience and appreciated the option.

It was just a few months prior that we were looking for a similar experience in West Chester and it was Asiana on Cincinnati Dayton Rd. that did the trick.  Sushi Monk was a better restaurant experience but both places had shockingly good Asian style cuisine.  I get the opportunity to deal with people who are very knowledgeable about these types of things and they have been spot-on in their picks over this last year and for that I appreciate the quality of what came from those options.  Like I said, I consider going to Kroger to get some sushi to be exotic and satisfying so having access to these kinds of foods in West Chester when you need them is extremely valuable–a real asset to the options presented in the night life of our community.  The Sushi Monk experience is like something you’d get in New York, or Chicago at a little street bar, but this new location had the space and seating that people in West Chester have come to expect.  More to point, it’s like something you’d get when traveling through Asia so the quality was extremely good and worth dealing with only having one bathroom.  I’m sure those kinds of problems can be worked out over time.  It’s tough to open up a place like that so it was good to see the new place open because for me that was the barrier to trying it out.  I’m not one for going to some dinky place when there are so many other options available—like Jags—but if it has a bit more elbow room, then it’s something I can get excited about.

So for the staff at Sushi Monk, it was a great experience, you did a great job and the professionalism in food preparation was something I admired greatly.  The family atmosphere reminded me of my favorite Chinese restaurant in the area which my wife and I go to a lot called Panda King.  We’ve watched the son of the owners grow up and the young man still helps his parents with the restaurant the way most Asian people do.  I realize that I am talking a lot about Asian food and Asian people in this little article and that is because I have always admired the industrious of their culture which spans from India all the way to the Pacific Ocean to the east.  The people who come from those cultures typically are very hard-working and present themselves very dignified.  They are socially too collectivist for my personal taste, but I respect their work ethic tremendously and my wife and I go out of our way to eat Panda King any time we can.  As a result I get more Asian food in my diet than people might think.  My idea for luxury in food is a nice, fat, juicy hamburger for instance.  But when I’m working on hard problems and need to keep my mind on the right kind of topics, I tend to choose various kinds of Asian food to supplement my diet—thus the occasional sushi for lunch with a nice tall glass of water—its light food prepared with complex care—and its fresh in a primordial way.

Given all that, I will be going to Sushi Monk again—it was certainly worth another night out.  What a great option for the community of West Chester to have such a treasure in its midst’s.  I am glad that I had the opportunity to go and that the owners of the place decided to expand instead of staying in the little place they had on 747.  I tend to think that the building they are in now isn’t big enough.  If I were them, I’d start thinking of moving to the building at the corner of Centre Loop and Centre Point which has been sitting empty for a long time.  I know the owner built the place with high hopes and dreams and now it’s just sitting there doing nothing.   Sushi Monk is good enough to be a standalone restaurant and that other building has plenty of bathrooms.  As good as Sushi Monk is, it won’t take long for them to be able to afford to move into that location if they really want to step it up.  I bet a good deal could be made to make it happen.

I’m just saying.  Not long ago I went to a little sushi place in Los Angeles that was supposed to be the greatest place in the world for sushi.  Well, Sushi Monk was better.

Rich Hoffman


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2 thoughts on “Sushi Monk of West Chester Review: They’re going to need a bigger place, because the food is that good

  1. >

    We went there a few years ago and our waitress and hostess began to have a crazy, loud fight (in a foreign language) which escalated and got really scary. It was quite memorable experience and we never went back!


    1. That’s funny. Well, maybe they have stepped it up since then. That’s one of the reasons I don’t like going to rinky dink places very often. They can sometimes be way too informal and if I wanted that, I’d just stay home. : )


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