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Sushi Sensation: Temaki

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Located just a short drive from Neumann is some of the best sushi this side of the Pacific.

Temaki in Media, PA. (Photo Courtesy of Temaki)

Hidden Treasures

Neumann students don’t know how good they have it. I’m not talking about education, of course—I’m talking about culture. If you drew a map and placed Neumann at the center, our University is located practically equidistantly to some of the tri-state areas hottest spots. Downtown Philadelphia is only a forty-five minute drive down I-95; Wilmington is less than a half an hour away, West Chester and Phoenixville are short trip down Rt. 1 and if you’re adventurous, the Jersey shore is only a ninety minute drive from campus. But, what most students don’t know is that there’s a little known hot spot even closer—less than fifteen minutes away, in Media, PA.

Media's State Street during the holidays.

Serving as the seat for Delaware County, Media is a treasure trove of culture and class. State Street, Media’s version of Main Street is overflowing with an artful blend of new and traditional, eclectic and sophisticated, international and plain old down-home goodness. Between the Media Theatre’s awesome season, events like America’s Music Festival series and Dining Under the Stars, and various other activities, there’s something for everyone. But, what most people don’t realize is that Media’s current claim to fame is their dining scene.

With restaurants like Fellini’s Café, Azie, Lotus and Seven Stones, Media has everyone covered. Especially considering the fact that located just a few steps off of State Street, Media is home to Temaki, a restaurant with some of the best sushi I’ve ever eaten.

Temaki: Award Winning 

You may not know it, but I happen to consider myself a budding foodie. As a child who hated anything green, slimy or not fried or covered in sugar, my current taste in food is a major deviation from the taste buds of my youth.

These days I’m pretty much down to try anything, and over the past few years I’ve cultivated a distinct attitude towards what I consider good food and what doesn’t quiet meet my expectations. I’ve also cultivated a particular list of favorite foods, with sushi right at the top.

Needless to say—it obviously had to take a whole lot for me to list Temaki’s sushi above everyone else’s, but believe me when I tell you, the award is well won.

Inviting Ambiance

(Courtesy of Temaki)

Entering Temaki, whose name means, “hand rolled” in Japanese, is a treat onto itself. The atmosphere is a mix of cozy, contemporary and classic. The décor is flawless. Decorations are set to match the season and holiday and the walls are covered in art from local artists (if you fall in love with a piece, you can purchase it!). Not only does Temaki have good taste in style, but they also have great taste in music—carefully placed speakers gently pulse with alternative indie and live music from local artists can be enjoyed every Wednesday night.

Guests have a choice as to where they want to sit during dinner. Temaki’s tables and chairs easily move so configuring seating for a group of eight or an intimate pair of two is no problem. And, for those a little more courageous, you can also sit at the bar—which means that, free of charge, you get a show along with dinner, as Temaki’s expertly trained sushi chefs carefully craft your meal.

A Meal to Remember

Chef Aki (Photo Courtesy of Temaki)

Speaking of meals, Temaki’s Head Sushi Chef knows how to make one.

With over thirty-five years of experience and a resume that includes working everywhere from downtown Manhattan to Japan and Taiwan, Chef Aki, Temaki’s Head Sushi Chef, can be called nothing but an expert at his craft. More than that, Aki and his team are culinary artists—taking a contemporary creative spin on a centuries-old tradition and combining experimentation with expertise to craft some of, not only the best tasting, but also most eye-pleasing sushi this side of the Pacific.

Temaki’s menu includes a combination of salads, soups, entrees, fresh meats and poultry, but of course it’s the sushi that stands out.

Guests have the option to order sushi in one of three ways—on the menu (which offers a huge selection of hand rolled sushi and sashimi), off-menu or leaving it to Aki and his team by ordering Omakase. (The Japanese phrase literally means, “I’ll leave it to you.”)

Edible Art (Photo by Alexander Crofoot)

Sitting at the bar, I asked Aki to craft my meal according to his recommendations, and I can honestly say the only thing I regret is that I ate too quickly and got full too fast.

From the very beginning, Aki produced winning combinations, by mixing classics like crunchy tuna and salmon with creative additions like homemade mango salsa, strawberries and fried potatoes.

Fruit on sushi, which I was skeptical about at first, is a winning combination. The citrus compliments the fish (which is guaranteed fresh considering Aki hand selects it daily) and each bite is a guaranteed flavor explosion. With huge portions (seriously, huge) and complimentary additions like delicious green tea, you don’t be disappointed. Each mouthful is exciting and new and with front row seats to Aki’s artistic performance, it’s an unforgettable meal.

Team Aki

But it wasn’t Chef Aki that stole the show, rather it was Team Aki—Aki’s carefully chosen collection of chefs, waitresses and staff.

To say the staff is superb is an understatement.  From the very beginning with a welcoming, “You’re in for a treat” to the very last goodbye, each member of the staff was attentive, welcoming and accommodating.

Team Aki (Photo by Alexander Crofoot)

General Manager, Kate, makes each dining experience extremely personal, visiting each table and answering questions for inquisitive guests. Temaki’s waitresses are flawlessly efficient—not one single table was empty the night I went, and each one was filled with obviously happy patrons.

Despite Temaki’s popularity and busy atmosphere, not one guest felt like just another paying customer—Team Aki made sure of it with their well-rounded team work.

While Temaki is perfect for any age group, hosting a variety while I was there, from families of four to larger parties of eight, the restaurant is perfect for college students with adventurous taste buds. Aki’s creativity and expertise is perfect even for those with conservative tastes and his team will make you feel right at home.

If (When!) You Go

If you go, remember that big things come in little packages—while the space may seem small, Temaki will leave a big impression. Also, don’t forget that you’re not bound by the menu—Aki specializes in just rolling with it—by offering a different Off-Menu special roll every night. Be sure to have dessert too, mmmm.

Temaki is a BYOB, and offers special services like free wifi, delicious take out and free delivery.

Photo by Alexander Crofoot

College is about trying new things—so venture out sometime soon and try not only a new town, but also a new restaurant—one that I promise won’t disappoint.

Temaki is located just a short drive from Neumann’s campus.

19 S. Olive Street, Media PA 19063



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