REVIEW: Heaven Is a Feeling I Get in Hiroba’s Arms

Go nuts for gonads. Image: Kyle Young

Hiroba Sushi, formerly on Skyline Boulevard in Reno, serves exceptional all-you-can-eat sushi on Prater Way and Sparks Boulevard in Sparks. Employees of the cozy restaurant warmly greet diners with a robust ‘Hello!’ upon arrival.

Hiroba’s Eastward Trip

There’s a solid article from the Sparks Tribune describing the split between the original two owners of Hiroba while the restaurant was located on Skyline Boulevard in Reno. The now sole owner of Hiroba was hard at work making sushi while my fiancé and I dined at his restaurant on a Friday night, so I didn’t get the opportunity to ask him about the move to Sparks.

Now that Hiroba lives in Sparks, despite a smaller location, the space in the restaurant is more comfortably distributed when compared to the original Reno location. The sushi chefs, including the owner, a hostess/food runner, a server/food runner, and a busser/food runner skillfully kept front-of-house operations smooth while we dined there. I have no doubt that a skilled kitchen staff was also working to turn out mussels, miso soup, and more.

We enjoyed chatting with the hostess, Kylie. In addition to killing it at her duties in the restaurant, she also studies creative writing at UNR. Local writers, unite!

The Dream Team of Sushi

Quail egg shooters, seared tuna, albacore, mussels, and salmon.
Quail egg shooters, seared tuna, albacore, mussels, and salmon. Image: Kyle Young

My fiancé and I both commented on the employee dynamic in the restaurant. Despite a completely packed house, both tables and bar, every employee at Hiroba genuinely seemed to be enjoying himself or herself while at work. The staff joked with one another and chatted with diners all while never skipping a single beat of service.

Our large food order was delivered about ten minutes after we submitted it. Our water glasses never ran dry. Cleaned plates were promptly removed. Side orders of lemon were quickly dispatched. Every employee seemed to help out with every table. If it’s possible to feel a sense of community in a sushi restaurant, you’ll feel it at Hiroba.

The service staff aren’t the only people on point at Hiroba. The chefs deliver remarkably consistent technique. The rice to fish ratio in the nigiri was fantastic. The rice was firm, well-packed, and deliciously vinegared. The chefs cut the fish in thin, uniform slices. The chefs honored every side-note request we wrote on the order forms (usually a request for Sriracha).

A Gill-Bearing Aquatic Craniate Feast

Every single item we ordered at Hiroba was well-prepared and tasty. The bountiful menu included all the classics as well as some surprising new favorites. AYCE dinner at Hiroba runs $23.95 per person. Here is what I ate and brief description of my thoughts:

  • Uni (sea urchin gonads) – This type of nigiri is a rarity in the Reno/Sparks area. I had never tried it until this trip to Hiroba. I had seen it on television and in internet clips but never available to try on an AYCE menu. Suffice to say, I was excited to try it. In media depictions, they always seem to say something pretentious like, “Uni is a whisper of salty sea air.” To me, it tasted like a very mildly flavored custard with a hint of brine. It was creamy and elevated with a thin slice of lemon. Try it!
  • Mussels – They were served piping hot, four to an order with mayo and Sriracha. I really enjoyed the spoon saucers they were served in. I also liked that the chosen mussels were small when compared to other restaurants. Giant mussels never seem to cook through to my liking.
  • Quail egg shooter – They were sour with medium heat and a touch of sweetness. The green onion was sliced wonderfully thin. A well-executed classic. I always toast with my fiancé to, “Love’s eternal embrace.” We’re goobers.
  • Miso soup – It was served hot with small, cubed, soft tofu, thinly sliced green onion, and a salty dashi broth. Another well done dish.
  • Rainbow hand roll (with Sriracha) – The surimi made the roll fragrant. The avocado, tuna, yellowtail, and salmon all tasted fresh. The tobiko and cucumber added a nice crunch. If you enjoy heat but have never tried this roll with Sriracha, do it!
  • Albacore – I love the texture on this white tuna. It’s almost beef-life in texture. Some albacore can become off-putting when poorly prepared. At Hiroba, the albacore looked and tasted wonderful. Try it with a slice of lemon if you’re feeling funky.
  • Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck – The tuna, salmon, surimi, avocado, Sriracha, and sweet sauce in these two classics were all well-prepared. Sweetness in sushi is usually not the flavor I seek, but these nigiri riffs are wonderful.
  • Tempura veggie hand roll – Since first discovering my love of this roll, I now seek it out at every sushi spot in town. Hiroba’s rendition is exceptional. The yam, carrot, and zucchini are all sliced incredibly thin before being fried, so the final products are especially crispy. The veggies, avocado, and rice wrapped in the crunchy seaweed was one of my favorite parts of the meal.
  • The Boston – This was the only long roll that I ordered. This roll will forever live in a nostalgia-dense slice of my mind. The first time my fiancé and I ate sushi together, I was aghast that she had never tried this roll. The roll consists of spicy tuna and cucumber wrapped in seaweed and rice and then topped with thinly sliced avocado, Sriracha, and black and white sesame seeds. The crunch from the seeds and cucumber, the heat from the spices and sauces, the delicate texture of the muddled fish, and the oil and creaminess from the avocado make this roll one of my all-time favorite things to eat. Hiroba does the roll master-level justice.
  • Salmon – I generally conclude all my sushi outings with salmon nigiri. The cuts of salmon this go around had gorgeous fat-lines resting against that signature bright orange. The lemon slices at Hiroba are thin enough to eat rind and all. Getting to eat salmon nigiri with lemon is one of the best parts about being human.

If you can exercise some restraint, be sure to order one of their delectable desserts. Options include strawberry mochi, chocolate mochi, green tea mochi, mango mochi, tempura banana, green tea ice cream, or green tea cheesecake. I exercised no such restraint in my sushi order, so I declined dessert. Next time, though, I’m all about the green tea cheesecake.

Hiroba Sushi is located at 1495 E. Prater Way in Sparks next to Bubble Tea Station Café. They are open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and closed on Mondays. Give them a call at 775-470-8177.

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Kyle Young
About Kyle Young 46 Articles
Kyle Young is a local freelance writer. He offers content writing, blog posts, copywriting, and editing services. His current writing foci are food, cooking, and the oddities native to Reno, Sparks, and Tahoe. He graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor’s degree in English writing. He gained some food chops while working as a dishwasher, line-cook, and food-truck operator. He learned quality control, imports/exports, and logistics at a local spice and seasoning manufacturer. When not hustling as a writer, he plays Scrabble, cooks, wrangles three pups, and attends live music/comedy with his fiancé.