NaNa Asian Fusion
Though it boasts such notables as a Talking Heads guitarist, a cast member from The Real World, the Zucker brothers, and that hellcat of a den-mother Charlotte Rae among its past residents, the Village of Shorewood is a quiet and, dare we say, boring place to spend time. But at the risk of inviting a hoard of ruffians from the oh-so-unkempt Milwaukee proper, Shorewood has recently increased its nightlife presence exponentially—to “existent”—with a recent flurry of new bars, cafes, microbreweries, and restaurants. The A.V. Club ventured north and paid a visit to the village’s newest restaurant, NaNa Asian Fusion, to indulge in some Shorewood-style sushi.
The space: The waterfall cascading down the foyer window serves as an immediate hint to the attention paid to NaNa’s decor. A brand-new bar runs almost the entire length of the southern wall. Beyond the bar sits an array of two-top tables and behemoth booths, each with its own lantern. The pristine interior and rich wood accents suggest a swanky establishment, but we didn’t feel too out of place in jeans and a sweatshirt when we spotted a TV showing the Thursday night football game.
The service: As is the case with most new restaurants, NaNa was a tad overstaffed with servers not yet fluent in the restaurant’s menu. Still, the staff navigated through the chaos and uncertainty of the week-old restaurant the best it could with some success. Our food and drinks arrived promptly, but our bill took a while to make its way back to us from the cash register pile-up.
The A.V. Club’s food: We started out with a bottle of Momokawa Diamond sake ($16). Served in tiny metallic cups, the 14.8-percent ABV beverage was surprisingly smooth. NaNa also features about a half-dozen other sake varieties, including pear. Non-sake drinkers will be glad to know the bar is fully stocked with a variety of beers and other traditional spirits.
From there, we rode our sake buzz into the menu of entrees. Fittingly, the fusion restaurant featured an assortment of items from a variety of Asian regions, most preceded with tasty miso soup and a ginger dressing salad. Selections range from spring rolls to pad Thai and curry; even Chinese stir-fry dishes are available. We took advantage of NaNa’s sizable sushi selection, opting for the Spicy Maki Combination Dinner ($18)—an 18-piece haul comprised of a yellowtail roll, a spicy salmon roll, and a spicy tuna roll. Each roll was delicious, and jockeyed for the top spot as we alternated between the delightfully smoky salmon, the flavorfully zesty yellowtail, and tender tuna. Really, it was so good that we temporarily forgot we were paying about a dollar a bite.
The verdict: With all due respect to the now-incorrectly named Number 1 Chinese, NaNa Asian Fusion is hands down the best Asian cuisine in Shorewood in terms of atmosphere, menu, and quality. Only time can tell where it will rank in terms of Milwaukee-area sushi joints.