Eating IN: Haru Sushi & Izakaya offers an impressive mix of Japanese staples and surprises

Unassuming at first glance, Haru Sushi & Izakaya is a hidden gem across the street from Glenbrook Mall. It extends an impressive mix of staples and surprises. 

The menu feels more like a guide with pages full of photos to walk me through Haru’s abundant offerings. I see the usual suspects, like maki and uramaki rolls, nigiri, sashimi, teriyaki, and bentos, as well as some treats not commonly seen around town. One of those treats being carpaccio—Haru’s take on an Italian classic where raw meat or seafood is served paper-thin, usually accompanied by a sauce or oil and other toppings. Another pleasant surprise that sets Haru apart is their sprawling selection of izakaya-style snacks. 

The unagi donburi is presented beautifully with colorful sections of eel, tobiko, and masago placed over subtly seasoned rice.

The Japanese word "izakaya" (居酒屋) roughly translates to “stay-drink-place” or "a shop for people to stay with alcohol." Similar to a British pub or a Spanish tapas bar, izakaya is a casual meeting place where people gather to enjoy a combination of good company + sake, beer, and other libations + snacks and small plates—usually a blend of traditional and fusion fare. 

I’ll admit I’m a geek for happy-hour culture or any tradition that brings people together for social grazing. With my enthusiasm in tow, I order the agedashi tofu from the izakaya menu first. The tofu is served in thick squares encased in a fried, but delicate outer ridge. The texture is dynamic, with a wafer-like crisp on the outside and a soft, custardy center. Unlike custard, this dish is deeply savory with a dashi-soy-based dipping sauce that packs a balance of brightness and umami into each bite. 

The tofu is served in thick squares encased in a fried, but delicate outer ridge.

Since it’s lunchtime, I skip the sake. Instead, I sip on matcha iced tea between buoyant bites of tofu. The matcha is refreshing, earthy, and stunningly green. 

The matcha is refreshing, earthy, and stunningly green. 

Per my server’s suggestion, I order three of some of their most popular rolls: the samurai, the playboy, and the scallop lover. The playboy roll is wrapped in fatty avocado and filled with soft, minced tuna, crunchy shrimp tempura, and a punchy spicy mayo—topped off with some sort of fried shallot or onion that adds more texture and a slight sweetness.  

I order three of some of their most popular rolls, from left to right, the playboy, the scallop lover, and the samurai.

The samurai roll is rich with cream cheese and avocado that compliment the lightness of the snapper, crab, and shrimp. It’s topped with fresh green onions and masago (fish eggs), adding bursts of grass and sea. 

I order three of some of their most popular rolls, from left to right, the playboy, the scallop lover, and the samurai.

The scallop lover roll is refreshing with cucumber and scallops that are lightly dressed in mayo. It’s topped with a spicy tuna that plays nicely with the rest of the roll’s cooling elements. More fried alliums are scattered on top to give it a nice crunch.  

I order three of some of their most popular rolls, from left to right, the samurai, the scallop lover, and the playboy.

Where some sushi makers slather rolls in sauce to the point where everything begins to taste like a homogenous blend of spicy mayo and unagi sauce, Haru’s use of sauce is intentional—not overdone. Each roll is perfectly balanced, with sauces paired to bring out the nuances of the seafood and flavors inside. 

In addition to the server’s suggestion, I order a simple salmon roll, which allows the salmon to shine. It tastes fresh and of the sea, with a great chew from the sushi rice. 

I order a simple salmon roll, which allows the salmon to shine. It tastes fresh and of the sea, with a great chew from the sushi rice. 

Last to the table is the unagi donburi, which is presented beautifully with colorful sections of eel, tobiko, and masago placed over subtly seasoned rice. The tender eel slices are rich and coated in a sweet, savory sauce. The furikake, tobiko, and masago add a flavor that’s deeply oceanic and sensational—with explosive pops of roe.

The unagi donburi is presented beautifully with colorful sections of eel, tobiko, and masago placed over subtly seasoned rice.

As the end of my lunch at Haru Sushi & Izakaya creeps up, I feel a sense of FOMO. I didn’t try enough snacks from the izakaya menu! I didn’t try any of the carpaccio. No noodles. No sake. There’s simply too much to fit into one visit alone. 

While a large menu isn’t always indicative of quality, in Haru’s case, it keeps me longing for my next visit—where I know the food will be refined, the preparation thoughtful, and the izakaya plentiful.

 Menu items in review:
 
  • Agedashi Tofu
  • Matcha Iced Tea
  • Playboy Roll
  • Samurai Roll
  • Scallop Lover Roll
  • Salmon Roll
  • Unagi Donburi

Vegetarian and vegan friendly? Yes, they even have a section on their menu dedicated to vegan rolls. 

Chef’s choice? Playboy Roll, Samurai Roll & Haru Roll 

Writer’s choice? Playboy Roll & Agedashi Tofu

What I wish I would have tried: Next time, I’m prepared to go full-on happy hour and order an assortment of items from the izakaya menu and something from their sake selection.

Hours & Location: 

Tuesday-Thursday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Closed Monday

4036 Coldwater Rd
Fort Wayne, IN 46805

Website and social media:

Check out Haru Sushi & Izakaya’s website here!

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Read more articles by Molly Conner.

Molly Conner is a Fort Wayne native. Driven by curiosity and affection for culinary crafts, Molly’s writing explores our food-focused community—from haute, experimental eateries to no-frills, all-flavor mom-and-pops.