It was a hot lazy Saturday afternoon. Perfect afternoon for sushi. We had been very busy all morning. Busier than usual on a Saturday. It was way after lunchtime and none of us were in the mood to make anything. I was in the mood for something different. After all, I can’t live on crisp bread, cheese, and avocados. OK maybe I could live on it, but that is another post. We decided that sushi sounded good for a late lunch.
Where to go locally for really decent sushi for lunch?
The key words there was decent sushi for lunch. That’s hard to come by living in a rural community in North Carolina. Not exactly top of folks’ list for favorite foods. We had found a good Japanese restaurant in Greenville, North Carolina; however, we were not in the mood to drive the thirty-plus miles one-way. Off to the Googles I went to see if there were any Japanese restaurants in Rocky Mount, the closest city to us. Of course the standard hibachi and all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets came up. Not for us. Then I noticed Tokyo Express.
You can dine-in or take-away at Tokyo Express. It looks like it was at some point a fast food restaurant, so it isn’t the most fanciest of places. We spent the meal trying to figure it out and we didn’t in the end. The decor is plain, functional and very clean. It is counter service where you place then pick-up your order. The service is friendly and knowledgeable of the menu. Always a good sign.
The menu is diverse so everybody should find something to their liking. Tokyo Express offers sushi, hibachi, and soba. The menu wasn’t vast which is good. It means the ingredients tend to be fresh and the end product is good. That’s what you want in a sushi place or for that matter any restaurant serving fish.
What we ate
Spicy Eel Roll
We went for sushi and that’s what we had. Though the soba noodles were enticing, I stuck to sushi. Next time I’ll have the soba noodles. We asked for recommendations ordering four rolls: California, spicy crab, spicy eel, and dragon tiger roll. All were made to order. And all were very good. We dipped on soy sauce instead of the yum yum sauce. We’re traditional like that.
I really enjoyed the spicy eel. The eel as BBQ’d. The spicy crab roll was nice.
Dragon Tiger Roll
We tried sometime that we never would have unless it was recommended to us: the dragon tiger roll. It is tuna and avocado that is breaded and fried then rolled in caviar topped with spicy mayo and eel sauce. It was good; however, it is something you share with a crowd. I could only have one or two pieces.
The portions were generous. We left with enough for another lunch. The price range was $5.49 to $.8.49. Well worth every penny.
I’ve got two suggestions that would improve the dining experience. The first suggestion is when dining in use actually flatware and plates. The food is worth being served on plates. Second suggestion is to have servers bring the food out to the table. Tokyo Express has great food and these upgrades would make it a dining experience.
Tokyo Express Info
2816 Sunset Avenue
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Drive Thru, Dine In, and Carry Out.
Quality over quantity. That’s a foreign concept to many of the restaurants where I reside in eastern North Carolina. The mantra of cheap and plentiful rules when it comes to dining. Where most meals are disappointing. At least for me. I crave fresh and interesting combinations. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy my fried foods. Just once in a while.
Choosing a restaurant on a Friday or Saturday night can be cumbersome. And frankly we often just end up cooking at home those nights because there is minimal choice unless you want chain restaurants or “home-cooking.” And we usually make the thirty minute drive to Greenville for any ethnic food such as Indian or Thai.
This is where Milton & Miles
enters the picture. It is located in the Imperial Centre in Rocky Mount. The Imperial Centre is a cultural hub for Nash county housing museums and performing arts venues as well as this small cafe. In another life, it was a tabacco processing plant and the bones are still there giving it a modern industrial feel.
I didn’t know Milton & Miles existed until I recently when I had a business meeting there in the morning. So glad my friend Ken suggested we meet there. I’m glad I found it. It serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday and dinner on Thursdays and Fridays. I came back with my guys for a Friday night dinner.
For Milton & Miles, they serve small plates or bites. To me, the dishes were perfect in portion allowing diners to get a handful of dishes to share. All of us felt comfortably full at the end of the meal. The quality of ingredients was high. Presentation was pleasing to the eye. The prices were reasonable ($4-$9 per dish.)
So what did we have?
Biscuits with Strawberry Jam & Maple View Butter. It was a lovely way to start the meal.
Turkey with Cucumber & Cranberries. Light and refreshing.
Beef Braised in Red Wine with Roasted Veg. The classic beef dish done right.
Pulled Pork with Sweet Korean Pickles. Wonderful combination of an eastern North Carolina staple of pulled pork with Korean condiments.
Liege Waffle with Vanilla Cream, Honey Almonds, & Maple Syrup. The Liege Waffle is a house speciality and is devine.
Two Coconut Macaroons with Chocolate Espresso Glaze. A classic with a twist.
I like the fact that the owner Brian is there interacting with patrons and sharing his passion for the coffee, wine, and/or food. He shared with me that his meats are locally sourced from Blazing Cattle Company
, a well-respected butchery in Tarboro known for their quality meats.
What a refreshing place! I have to say it was one of the most relaxed meals I’ve had living in eastern North Carolina. While we were there, there was a group of professional women enjoying wine and different small plates while sitting on comfortable chairs and a couch. It is a place to have leisurely meal while enjoying the company of whoever you are with. That’s golden to me. Dining should be an experience. One to be enjoyed not rushed.
We’re going back. We want to support small, local restaurants which are focusing on quality over quantity. This restaurant would not be out of place in any larger city.
And I suggest you pay Milton & Miles a visit. Support local.
Milton & Miles
270 Gay Street
Rocky Mount, NC 27804