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by Sharon Ramirez
November 26, 2007
From journal Minneapolis Hometown
Saint Paul, Minnesota
February 20, 2006
Much like its name suggests, Azia is an awkward experience. Really, it is like three places in one, Azia is the main restaurant, but it also houses the Anemoni sushi bar, and Caterpillar lounge.
There are three separate exit doors, for each individual section of Azia, but the only entrance leads you through the main restaurant. When we tried to get in, it seemed like every smoker in the greater metro area was huddled within five feet of the door, which made it an even tighter squeeze. Plus diners get jostled when someone enters to grab some sushi or a drink.
With that unpleasantness out of the way, Azia is actually quite good for sushi and drinks. Anemoni has some of the best, most entertaining sushi chefs I've seen. The crunchy rolls are to die for, and there's no shortage of fresh fish around. There are at least 50 different types of sushi to try, and the atmosphere in Anemoni is both upscale and relaxed.
Many of the drinks here are on the expensive side, but Azia has a half-priced happy hour. They have a wide selection of sake, as well as a few original mixed drinks. The mixers do not go well with sushi, though!
After a bite to eat, avoid the Caterpillar Lounge at all costs. It's overcrowded, the DJ doesn't spin a great mix, and it looks like a sleazy pick-up joint. It's a good thing the lounge is separated almost entirely from the rest of the complex by the cute bathrooms, otherwise I wouldn't go back.
Overall, if you're looking for a hip night, where you won't feel out of place, Azia is the place to go. Try the restaurant or the sushi bar, but steer clear of the Caterpillar lounge. Visit the Azia website for a taste of the menu.
From journal Becoming an Uptown Hipster