4720 Nelson Road #130, Lake Charles
In 1985, Skate City roller skating rink opened in Lake Charles. It hosted birthday parties and skate nights for family, friends and first dates. That came to an end when Skate City closed in 2018. The property was sold to a developer and the 25,000 square-foot building was razed. This offered potential for new and exciting ventures.
Four years later, Lake Charles has a 21st century modern white painted brick and contrasting black accented structure on the site, housing several commercial tenants, including one of the most talked about new restaurants, SushiBoxx.
Locally owned and operated, SushiBoxx offers Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine in a casual dining atmosphere.
Hearing all the hype and positive feedback surrounding SushiBoxx, I had to get in there to see what this was all about — and soon. I had only a couple of days before my deadline and there were scheduling issues between me and my wife, so I asked our son’s longtime girlfriend, Emily, if she’d like to join me for an early dinner after work.
The exterior was impressive. Two seconds after we entered, we were greeted by the team. Several tables and chairs were located to the right for family dining. A countertop with stools ran along the glass front wall to the left, along with an open-front cooler stocked with cold drinks and a variety of fresh sushi and nigiri as a quick grab and go option. A large digital menu hung over the counter: a video monitor looped mouthwatering pictures of various hand-made sushi rolls, poké bowls and appetizers.
As Emily and I stood gazing at the menu, a steady stream of patrons flowed past us. Some grabbed their favorite rolls from the cooler, while others took their bagged meals to go.
The interior was very clean, very nice and complementary in the overall design and feel. Our food was delivered to the table on silver trays. The handmade sushi, prepared just seconds before arriving at our table, had an array of fresh ingredients. The Chef Special Fantasy had spicy tuna, crab salad and cool cucumber to soothe the heat of thin slices of Serrano pepper, all delicately topped with tobiko.
The trio of Vietnamese spring rolls featured an almost transparent and sticky rice paper wrapped around chilled shrimp, thin vermicelli noodles, cabbage and julienned carrots served with a side of house made peanut sauce.
As a hometown tie-in, SushiBoxx offered the Lake Charles Roll — a large hand-formed roll with crab salad, cream cheese, and fresh spicy tuna coated with a tempura batter, fried and then sliced. The sushi was laid flat and adorned with tempura fried sails of lotus and drizzled with unagi sauce. This was a perfect roll for sharing, as the tempura doesn’t carry well into leftovers.
As for the Banh Mi, there was a choice of protein — chicken, pork, various shrimp preparations, or my favorite: lemongrass beef ribeye with Vietnamese mayo. This was a decent-sized sandwich. It was served on a baguette, which I found to be a little softer than a traditional French baguette, with a lot of tug in the bite. As I opened the sandwich to examine the ingredients, a bite-sized chunk of ribeye fell to the plate, begging to be sampled. The ribeye was so tender it melted in my mouth. It carried subtle hints of aromatic lemon, ginger and garlic.
The sandwich was soft and warm, and the Vietnamese mayo was buttery in comparison to traditional counterparts, which made this easily one of my favorite sandwiches.
Nearly two hours slipped by while we ate. During this time, someone was always checking on us, ensuring we were OK, clearing trays, asking if we had any questions or if there was anything they could do for us.
By now, my wife had to have arrived home, and I was sure she’d be hungry. I asked if she would like anything as Emily and I were ready to depart.
There was a bit of food left over between the two of us. One nice detail to this service was that each of the food items was served in its own to-go container.
My wife wanted egg rolls, steamed dumplings and a “surprise me” item. I chose for her an Aloha roll with mango, salmon and tuna poké and avocado. She was pleasantly surprised at how good the food tasted, especially the egg rolls with the light and flaky dough.
Our experience was undeniably wonderful. There was a friendly staff and fresh quality ingredients in a nice casual environment. I will be returning often for the Banh Mi.