BLOG: Clinton Eats – Bonsai II

Eating out doesn’t have to mean spending a small fortune on one dinner! There are plenty of places around the Clinton area where you can have a fun, enjoyable meal that’s still affordable and delicious. Over the next few weeks, my friends and I are going to explore some of the local favorites where we can grab a bite for around $10.

Since a soft opening in December, Bonsai II has become one of the prime spots in Clinton for dinner dates and group outings. The restaurant, owned by the family of a fellow MC student, is a more modern take of the original Bonsai located on Lakeland Drive. They present a “sophisticated menu of traditional and modern Japanese cuisine,” including the much-beloved hibachi carts. Bonsai II boasts a trendy, contemporary atmosphere and one of the most impressive restaurant bathrooms I’ve ever encountered. (The door handles light up whenever bathrooms are occupied – how cool is that?!)

While I frequented the original Bonsai, only recently have I been able to try out the newest location. We like to call this night The Broverload, since dinner with a friend somehow became a group outing consisting of ten guys and a lone female, yours truly (to many of you, this carries no surprise). I certainly didn’t complain though: that meant ten more dishes I could taste!

My friend Jared and I split the Bonsai Tower, a unique take on the traditional sushi roll: the chef layers fresh sushi rice, avocado, crab, spicy tuna and 3 types of roe all sitting on a bed of spicy mayo, wasabi mayo, and eel sauce. This is a great dish for sushi beginners to try, since it doesn’t look like ‘typical’ sushi and the flavors blend perfectly without being too overwhelming or exotic.

Jared couldn't wait to dig into the Bonsai Tower. Can you blame him?

I also tried out the Louisiana Roll, which includes fried crawfish topped with crab meat. Full disclosure, I’ve ordered this dish three times since. If cajun sushi is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

This tasted as great as it looks!

The highlight of our night was definitely our game of Sushi Roulette. From the Bonsai Facebook:  “Our Chef prepares a piece of sushi per person but with a twist. Hidden amongst the other pieces is a piece overloaded with a mind-blowing amount of wasabi while the others are standard sushi. No peeking, no smelling and no trading. Lady Luck will make her choice as the server spins the plate. Each person chooses the piece that lands in front of them (no exceptions). Then everyone will eat their entire piece all at the same time.”

My buddy Will Crews ended up picking the wasabi roll, and I made sure to capture the moment… But hey, as compensation he earned a free drink AND a Polaroid of his reaction framed in the restaurant lobby. Who doesn’t secretly want to be a part of historical restaurant infamy, right?

I'm in the upper left picture, celebrity status y'all!

All in all, The Broverload turned out to be a memorable night with friends full of laughter and more sushi than I’ve eaten in my entire life. While we ended up spending closer to $15 apiece, the evening was certainly worth the money. Next time you’re craving Japanese or even just a night on the town, visit Bonsai and support our local business industry!

– Lauren White, Senior Telecounselor and Sushi-Loving Brogirl

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