THE EATBEAT: Konnechiwa’s Japanese cuisine goes well beyond sushiKonnechiwa's menu goes far above and beyond the daily special that draws in customers throughout the day.
By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
They started out 10 years ago in Grand Forks selling egg rolls, fried rice and Japanese donuts at the downtown Farmers Market.
They moved on to a little takeout place in Grand Cities Mall. And five years ago, Sadako and Lester MacGregor opened Konnechiwa at 3750 32nd Ave. S.
Today, they offer a daily special of chicken- or beef-fried rice, egg roll and beverage for $4.95. And they go far beyond the special with Japanese cuisine concepts such as sushi, sashimi, edamame and harumaki.
They’ve branched out to fresh sushi, which is not raw fish, to sashimi, which is, and other fine dinners and soups. Their menu offers smoked salmon sushi, eel sushi with cucumber and avocado and items such as orange masago sushi crab meat.
The restaurant looks small, but looks are deceiving. Although you see the booths for seating, you might not immediately notice the three curtained rooms for private groups of up to 10.
The whole restaurant is tastefully decorated with Japanese art. Many of the pieces were brought by Sadako MacGregor, who came to the U.S. after she met her husband, a U.S. serviceman, on duty in Japan.
Their restaurant has quietly grown and flourished with the help of family members over the years. Twin daughters — Cathy Haines and Sandy MacGregor — are on the serving staff along with a grandson, Steven Haines, 15, who is starting out as a busboy and hopes someday to take over the business.
Cathy Haines was the waitress in the small dining room that seats up to 10 when I went with a group for lunch. She explained the choice of chicken- or beef-fried rice with egg roll and beverage choice on the special.
She told us of the gluten-free meals served at Konnechiwa. She explained the series of sauces so we could decide how sweet or how hot we wanted to make our rice.
The menu goes far above and beyond the daily special that draws in customers throughout the day. The menu draws diners who seek out appetizers such as calamari, coconut-breaded shrimp skewers and yaki-tori. There are several tempura offerings among the appetizers. There is a teriyaki stir-fry section, which comes in several versions.
Some of the dinners feature steamed red snapper, walleye, chicken or crab legs.
The restaurant has a seaweed and calamari salad and will be adding an edamame salad. Lightly salted and “utterly delectable” is the way the menu described edamame — or soy beans.
With the coming of spring and summer, Konnechiwa will add more sushi. Sushi platters, which start at $14.95, are made up in a wide variety of choices. The most expensive on the menu was Platter 9 with a half-rainbow roll, Caterpillar roll, California roll, Philly Smoke Salmon roll, spicy tuna roll and hamachi, tuna, sake, ika and shrimp nigiri for $49.95.
The entire menu is there to meet the fancy of diners who want to explore the cuisine. Entrees are in the $14 to $16 price range.
Reach Hagerty at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (701) 772-1055.