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THE EATBEAT: Presentation a strong point at Shing Ya

Oh yes. You do want dessert.

On a recent visit to Shing Ya in downtown Grand Forks, we were introduced to a delicate green tea ice cream along with a strawberry version. It was light. It was luscious and a perfect ending to a meal of Japanese food.

It is, in fact, the presentation of foods on appropriate serving dishes that attract me back to this small, quiet restaurant. It has been in operation for more than a year. It seems to have a dedicated following of people who enjoy Japanese fare. And they enjoy meeting up with Sheng, the chef at the sushi bar. He wears a cap, a jacket and a smile as he turns out orders with a smile.

First of all, there are the basics. Before writing about Shing Ya, I checked my food spelling guide from the Association of Food Journalists. Sushi, it says, is a Japanese term for various combinations of seasoned rice, vegetables and raw fish (sashimi) with wasabi (hot, green horseradish paste).

With that in mind, I studied the menu. Because I had enjoyed it before, I ordered the Heart Attack ($12). I mean, if you have had one, you want another of this spicy tuna cream cheese roll. Carrie Sandstrom (CS) opted for the Amazing Roll described as “eel tamago avocado spicy crab cream.” Will Beaton (WB) knew from previous visits he wanted the Dacotah Roll, which is made with marinated tuna, tomato, avocado and tobiko spring mix.

A California and vegetable curry dish caught the eye of Gail Hagerty (GH). The menu is vast and well-organized, a boon for those who are seeking raw fish as well as those who want to avoid it. Still, the sushi bar is an inviting place at the rear of the restaurant.

All of the food at Shing Ya is served on attractive, squared-off serving plates of various sizes. There are chopsticks available. Presentation is a strong point. The variety on the menu is extensive.

The usual “bathtubs” full of cola drinks are served here, although water or tea seems more logical as an accompaniment. The restaurant also serves wine, beer and sake.

Some people opt for the appetizers that include a seaweed salad, edemame and Chinese pork barbecue. There are small plates available with pork cutlet with egg, fried squid and green beans with oyster sauce.

Actually, the menu is long and involved, but laid out in a user-friendly fashion. After a few visits, the people who frequent Shing Ya know what they are seeking.

Shing Ya on Sunday was a break from the same old eggs, pancake and bacon brunches. WB enjoys tasting foods different from fare on the UND campus. GH was pleased with the curry dish with its artistic presentation including a tiny red touch of sharp tasting beets on the side.

The restaurant itself seems orderly and clean. But the menu I studied was a little sticky on the cover. The restaurant, which was long ago known as the Dacotah Hotel cafe, was completely redecorated before its rather quiet opening late in 2012. There are Japanese parasols and lettering along the walls. There is a row of black booths with cushions and tables along with an inviting sushi bar where Sheng presides with an ever-present smile.

He had previously been with Little Bangkok in East Grand Forks. Like the manager, Steven Ming Li, he has a background in China and of living in Japan.

Shing Ya Japanese Restaurant

108 N. Third St., Grand Forks

Manager: Steven Ming Li

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; 5 to 9 p.m. week days and Sundays with 10 p.m. closing Friday and Saturday

Telephone: (701) 772-0515

Wine, beer, saki

Report card: A quiet place on North Third Street with an extensive menu for Japanese cuisine, friendly service.

Reach Hagerty at or at (701) 772-1055.