Over the last few years, The Grove has become a go-to destination for quality food and drink, with a variety of interesting bars and restaurants popping up along the bustling stretch of Manchester Road between Kingshighway Boulevard and Vandeventer Avenue. One of the latest to hit the scene is Goku Sushi, which offers a plethora of Asian delicacies.

Goku Sushi's building, which includes the event space Siam, used to be home to the popular nightclub Novak’s; and as befits that heritage, it’s a sprawling place, with multiple bars and plenty of room for dancing. Some of the interior walls have been removed since the Novak’s days, giving the interior an even more spacious feel. The Siam folks make good use of this wealth of elbow room with live music, DJs and special events, and there’s also a huge patio area featuring covered and uncovered seating, a fire pit and a dedicated bar. It’s most definitely on the short list of our favorite local outdoor dining areas, a perfect venue for sipping a drink on a spring afternoon and letting the world go on by.

One of our favorite sides is Seaweed Salad ($7). It’s usually served up in tiny dollops alongside other dishes, just a tantalizing morsel, but Siam serves up a hearty portion, dressed in a subtle sesame vinaigrette. This salad is a delicious accompaniment to the Pot Stickers ($7), six tender dumplings stuffed with a choice of pork, chicken or shrimp (we opted for the pork), and a soy chile sauce for dipping.

The menu includes a variety of ramen, hot pots and other assorted dishes, though unfortunately, many of these were unavailable during our visit. Luckily, there’s also plenty of sushi to be had, so we ordered up a trio of rolls: the Serpent Roll ($15); Goku Roll ($16); and the Spicy Tuna Roll ($10). The Serpent is a rich roll, full of marinated crab, creamy avocado, and masago (roe); and topped with broiled eel and eel sauce. The Spicy Tuna is a bit more restrained, contrasting rare pieces of tuna with crunchy scallions and cucumbers and some mayo, as well as masago. Both had plenty of flavor, and the rice was the perfect sushi consistency. While we liked these rolls just fine, the Goku was the standout of the three, featuring crunchy shrimp tempura, asparagus and avocado. The roll is divided into two sections, and between them is a serving of scallops and crab meat on a bed of radish and topped with masago. The presentation is impressive; but once we dug in, the aesthetics became secondary. The interplay of flavors and textures was delicate, with no one element overtaking any of the others.

Goku Sushi just began Sunday brunches, and also offers bottle service for those who want some extra-special attention after dark. Whether you’re looking to just pop in for a quick drink and a bite, a full-on dining experience or to dance the night away, Goku Sushi (and Siam) has all of the bases covered--and then some.

-- 4121 Manchester Road, 533-7426, siamstl.com

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