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Newest dining spot opens at Orchard Valley
Manteca Vice Mayor Debby Moorhead, left, and Matsu Sushi Japanese Restaurant owners Rick and Kay Howard, hold on to their wooden mallets as they get ready to break the wooden lid on top of the barrel of sake. The Japanese traditional ceremony held Wednesday heralded the official opening of Manteca’s newest Japanese bistro located in The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO
With the sound of wooden tsuchi breaking the cedar lid of the kagami, the newest dining destination at The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley in Manteca made its grand opening in the Family City.

“This lid symbolizes the future,” Yasuhisa Tanaka of Takara Sake USA Inc. of Berkeley said, explaining the significance of the popular Japanese tradition which marked the official start of business for Matsu Sushi, a bistro-style Japanese restaurant located next to the Kerasotes ShowPlace 16 movie theater at Orchard Valley.

Manteca’s Vice Mayor Debby Moorhead joined Matsu Sushi owners Rick and Kay Howard in doing the honors of breaking the wooden lid that covered the ceremonial barrel of Sho Chiku Bai sake brewed at Takara in Berkeley. The sake was then distributed to the guests in small plastic cups with Moorhead leading the toast for good luck.

Around the curved sitting counter where one can leisurely dine while watching the chefs prepare sushi and other Japanese delicacies during normal business hours, samples of the restaurant’s gastronomical offering were arranged in various artistic presentations. A steady stream of guests came to taste-test the various scrumptious offerings during the late afternoon celebration which started at 4 p.m.

The Howards, who already have two successful Matsu Sushi restaurants in Pleasant Hill and Dublin in the Bay area, chose Manteca for their third location because, as Kay Howard explained it, “we heard that Manteca is a pretty nice town.”

In contrast to the busy milieu surrounding their two restaurants in the Bay Area, Manteca’s more quiet surroundings appealed to them, she said.

“Here, it’s more country; it’s a different place” from the Bay Area, she said.

The shopping center’s mixture of business outlets such as the Bass Pro Shops and the 16-plex movie theater were also big incentives in their decision to expand their business in Manteca, Kay Howard added.

“I think it’s pretty fun here,” she said of the bustling Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley.

While some restaurants usually close their doors between lunch and dinner, Rick Howard said, “We’ll be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. We don’t close between 3 and 5 p.m.; we stay open.”

Matsu Sushi’s menu features over 100 unique sushi rolls made fresh every day, plus nigiri and sashimi platters along with grilled and cooked Japanese dishes. The restaurant also offers a wide variety of beer, wine and sake. Their menu also offers a long list of specials such as the Titanic (shrimp tempura wrapped with tuna and salmon and topped with spicy crab meat, tobiko, green onions and avocado), the Cherry Blossom (salmon and avocado wrapped with tuna), and the Godzilla Roll (spicy tuna tempura with the restaurant’s own special spicy sauce topped with tobiko and green onions) which is being billed as “hot!”

Matsu Sushi is centrally located at The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley, the humongous shopping center anchored by Bass Pro Shops  and surrounded by other big-name retails such as JC Penney and Best Buy, and the equally popular dining place, Red Robin, just a skip-and-a-hop away from the Japanese bistro.

The opening of the Matsu Sushi Japanese Restaurant is part of the continuing development of Phase II at The Lifestyle Outlets at Orchard Valley featuring a mix of outlet retailers, specialty stores plus restaurants and casual dining. It’s a dynamic business mixture of value-oriented and brand-name shopping opportunities plus great dining and entertainment which is the main focus of this large shopping center on the south side of the 120 Bypass on South Union Road.

Matsu Sushi is the fourth Japanese restaurant to open in Manteca. The others are Yukimi in the Raley’s Shopping Center, Matsuyama at Spreckels Park, and Tokyo Sushi in the old Walgreens shopping center on North Main and Alameda streets.