The Hippo


Apr 20, 2014








Try the Rainbow Supreme with avocado, cream cheese, salmon and tuna at Muse Thai Bistro. Emelia Attridge photo.

Sushi at Muse Thai Bistro

581 Second St., Manchester

It’s maki time
Thai fusion meets sushi in Manchester

By Emelia Attridge

 Sushi lovers looking for a new taste experience can find it in dishes like the Scorpion King or Angry Bird maki, now on the menu at Muse Thai Bistro. 

The restaurant opened its sushi bar this fall.
  “We wanted to be different than other people,” owner Eddie Saktanaset said. “We don’t want to be just any other sushi place around town. We like to distinguish ourselves.”
Although it took some time, it has always been a part of the plan to incorporate a sushi menu with Thai fusion since Muse Thai Bistro changed its name from Siam Orchid, Saktanaset said.
“I think creative sushi, that’s the one thing. We’re open to all the ingredients pretty much, plus the Thai ingredients goes a lot into it,” Saktanaset said. “There’s the sweet, the sour, the tangy that can go into sushi.”
The menu includes familiar sushi and sashimi dishes and platters, with maguro (tuna), sake (salmon), saba (mackerel) and hamachi (yellowtail). There’s still a California roll (made with crab, avocado and cucumber), but there are more adventurous maki, too. 
“For some people that don’t like raw fish, we can do vegetable or a California roll for the beginner,” Saktanaset said. “We have the cooked sushi, like shrimp tempura, crunchy roll and spider roll.”
The Bagel Maki is a roll made with cream cheese, salmon and scallion, then deep fried. The Pink Berry has sweet shrimp, crabstick, fresh strawberry, tempura flakes and avocado topped with tobiko roe and wrapped with ping soy bean wrap, instead of nori (the seaweed wrap traditionally used for sushi). 
Even the Angry Bird maki might make a fan of spice shed a tear. It’s made with tuna, salmon, crab, tobiko, asparagus, spicy mayonnaise, jalapenos, fresh Thai chili, wasabi sauce and Japanese turnip. The maki has fresh chiles, and on the menu it’s marked with six chili peppers (the only other sushi on the menu that merit a chili pepper sigil are ranked by a single chili, the equivalent of mild).
Muse Thai Bistro’s sushi chef, Ray Wittaya, comes from Atlanta, where he had been working as a sushi chef for 10 years. His specialties include cooked sushi, like the Bagel roll, and his personal favorite maki is the spicy tuna roll, which is made with red pepper and spicy Thai sauce.
“Most people think that sushi is just raw,” Saktanaset said. “We also try to incorporate the authenticity of Japanese — that’s why we have things like chirashi.”
Muse Thai Bistro also serves temaki (hand rolls), chirashi sushi (select fish on a bed of sushi rice, like mixed sashimi) and maki combination sets. They also carry uni (sea urchin) and can make special orders for otoro — a select cut of the fattest part of the belly of bluefin tuna. 
Saktanaset and Wittaya are constantly experimenting and creating new sushi combinations. In particular, it’s the Thai fusion that makes the sushi at Muse Thai Bistro unique. Wittaya uses Thai sauces and balances the various flavors with the sweetness of the fish.
“The sushi rice is a big part of it,” Saktanaset said. “[Ray] takes a lot of time cooking his rice. You’ve got to use the right amount of vinegar and the right rice.”
Wittaya said his favorite part of preparing the sushi is seeing the customer’s expression after they take that first bite. He added that he often has regular customers order by saying, “Surprise me.”  
Appeared in the Dec. 5, 2013 issue of the Hippo



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