Owners plan changes, including creating sushi bar

MOORESVILLE – Shiki Japanese Restaurant likes to keep it simple.

The menu is quite diminutive with uncomplicated offerings of hibachi, teriyaki or noodles. The kitchen is truly immaculate with limited clutter and sparkling floors and appliances. The staff is well trained with pleasant attitudes.

The prices are also very small in keeping with the overall theme of the restaurant.

Toan Tran, owner of Shiki Japanese Restaurant, came over from Vietnam in 1975 and began working in hotels and restaurants. At first, he worked at Vietnamese restaurants but eventually gravitated toward Japanese cuisine.

“I liked the simplicity of the cooking,” Tran said.

His extended family now owns Shiki restaurants all over the area. His son, Khoi Tran, helps out as manager.

As of now, the menu has meat, fish and vegetable options available as hibachi, which is a savory soy sauce base, and teriyaki, which is a sweeter glaze of a sauce.

Options are available alone or as a combination with mixed vegetables, broccoli or mushrooms.

Lo Mein noodles are also done on the hibachi grill with chicken, steak or shrimp. Add in a few appetizers such as crab rangoon, spring rolls and pan-fried dumplings and that is the entire menu.

“We try to keep it as simple and healthy as possible,” said Khoi Tran.

The restaurant prides itself on providing healthy food items at an inexpensive price point.

“Many teenagers love to come and eat here after school and families, as well,” said Toan Tran. “You get a lot of healthy, good food at a very fair price.”

There is no MSG in the food and they use 100 percent pure vegetable oil. The meat and seafood taste very fresh and the vegetables are tender crisp.

“The Chinese, they use a wok, you see,” said Toan Tran. “That can make the vegetables soggy. But on the hibachi grill, they come out perfectly.”

Many items are made in-house such as spring rolls, dumplings and all the sauces and marinades. None of the proteins are frozen aside from the seafood.

The restaurant is about to undergo some changes.

“We’re going to rip up the entire carpet, re-do the ceilings and create a sushi bar,” Khoi Tran said. “It’s time to do an update.”

And with this, the menu will also be reformatted to include a full sushi menu.

“I think it’s the one thing that is missing from our offerings,” said Khoi Tran.

Teresa McLaughlin, of Mooresville, picks up food on a windy Monday.

“The food is always fresh here,” McLaughlin said. “Plus it is very good and very reasonable.”

Toan Tran said many regulars patronize the restaurant as both dine-in and take-out customers. 

The waitstaff, mostly young people, is also a boon to the restaurant. Toan Tran said they are like family and that is why they work so hard for the establishment.

Brittany Pelot, of Mooresville, works as a waitress at the restaurant.

“I’ve waitressed other places and this is the best of all,” said Pelot. “It is so clean and the food is amazing.”

Toan Tran and his son are working hard to provide a healthy, low-cost alternative to the people of Mooresville and the surrounding areas.

Want to go? Shiki Japanese Restaurant, 335 W. Plaza Drive, Mooresville, 704-799-2122.