Conway’s New Kobe attracting lunch-time crowds

For Weekly SurgeOctober 29, 2013 

New Kobe is at 117 Rivertown Blvd. in Conway, and the number is 365-6888. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Setting the Table

An uncommonly busy lunch rush, for a Monday, pleased the staff when I visited New Kobe in Conway.

Word must be getting around that this isn’t a typical quick-prep carryout Asian restaurant, although the staff is happy to prepare orders to go. Formerly the site of an Italian restaurant and an Italian-American grill, the layout features two rooms: a bar area and a dining room.

The bar doesn’t serve liquor yet – beer, wine and sake are coming soon – but it does have sushi. Several barstools ring the sushi bar, and there’s also a banquette along the wall dividing the rooms.

Down the Hatch

The sushi chef is a friendly 43-year-old Vietnamese native who has worked at several area restaurants. I asked him to make me two rolls of his choice, which turned out to be a tasty request.

The chef prepared one roll that isn’t on the menu featuring a ring of rice topped with a roll filled with spicy tuna and avocado. Inserted in the middle of the ring were two vertical tempura crab sticks, and the roll was drizzled with crabmeat eel sauce and sprinkled with masago roe.

The other roll featured raw tuna and salmon, and was scrumptious. The sushi bar menu is extensive and includes salads, nigiri, maki and sashimi priced starting at $4 for a piece of yellowtail nigiri or an avocado roll, to $16 for a lobster roll or $40 for a sushi boat that contains 16 pieces of sashimi, eight pieces of nigiri, a basic roll and a special dragon roll.

Lunch specials are available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for $6.50-$7 that include an entrée, eggroll or vegetable spring roll, and white or fried rice. A few of the lunch entrée choices are lemon chicken, spicy orange chicken, Mongolian beef, pork with hot garlic sauce, steamed fresh veggies with shrimp, sesame tofu and lo mein. There’s also an $8 lunch special with two sushi rolls from a select menu plus a choice of miso soup or salad.

Bento boxes are served all day for $11, and they include an entrée from a list of two dozen choices, a sushi roll, a side dish, and a choice of fried, steamed or hibachi rice.

New Kobe serves appetizers priced $1.50-$10 including pork or vegetable pot stickers, shrimp tempura, lettuce wraps, boneless spare ribs, soups and Oriental chicken salad.

As for entrees, they include meat and rice bowls for $5-$7 and heartier portions for $7-$14. Choices also include lo mein, Singapore rice noodles, fried rice, steamed entrees, vegetarian dishes such as broccoli with garlic sauce, sesame shrimp, double pan-fried seafood, General Tso’s chicken, spicy scallion chicken and spicy tangerine beef.

My husband and a friend and I tried mu shu pork and were impressed with the hearty serving of pork, cabbage, mushrooms, mini corn and bamboo shoots for $12; we also enjoyed Szechuan Beef for its spiciness and the large pieces of crispy vegetables.

Check, please

Children have five choices for $5 that come with rice or fries: sesame chicken, teriyaki chicken, chicken with broccoli, chicken wings or spare ribs.

In addition to not yet having alcoholic beverages, hot tea is not available. The hostess said they are trying to decide whether to serve green tea or Oolong; I suggested they offer both.

Our bill for two sushi rolls (a buy-one-get-one-half-price special), two entrees and a soft drink came to $51.18, including tax, and we easily had enough food for four people.

Becky Billingsley serves up fresh news daily at

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