By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Apr 08, 2018 at 11:01 AM

It’s been five long years of set-backs, delays and heated anticipation. But Fish Cheeks, the new sushi, seafood and hibachi restaurant has officially opened at 6818 W. North Ave., next door to Rocket Baby Bakery.

The cozy restaurant seats about 40 guests in a warmly lit environment with dusty blue walls and warm wood accents.

Seating is available at small tables near the front of the restaurant, banquettes along the east wall, at a small sushi bar at the back of the restaurant and at the substantial bar.

Fish Cheeks is currently operating sans liquor license, a commodity currently in short supply in Wauwatosa. However, it’s likely it will be granted a license for wine and beer in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the restaurant is serving its full menu along with a variety of soft beverages including tea, lemonade and soda.

On the menu, you’ll find appetizers including standards like edamame ($5), blistered shishito peppers ($6) and pork or vegetable gyoza ($7). There’s also a crab cake served with mango salsa and cilantro lime aioli ($12), a sashimi appetizers featuring tuna, salmon and white tuna ($14) and veggie pouches filled with shiitake mushrooms, carrots and onions that are fried and served with a green coconut curry sauce ($6).

There is house salad with ginger or avocado dressing ($6) along with wakame salad ($7), sunomono with cucumber, wakame, bonito flakes and ponzu sauce ($5) or a smoked salmon salad with spinach, poached egg and togarashi hollandaise ($12). A number of the salads can be upgraded to include items like cooked shrimp, crab or salmon for an upcharge. There are also bowls of soup, including miso, tamarind, tom yum and tom kha, priced $4-6 each.

Entrees include items like braised black cod with miso served with edamame mashed potatoes ($22), salmon with shiitake mushroom cream sauce and cilantro lime rice ($22) and escolar with chimichurri sauce, fried sweet potato strings and asparagus ($20). There is also the hibachi style dinner served with rice, grilled vegetables and the guest’s choice of tenderloin, shrimp, chicken or scallops for $18-21.

Nigiri and sashimi options include maguro (tuna), sake (salmon), hamachi (yellowtail), unagi (eel), shiro maguro (white tuna), along with smoked salmon, octopus, squid, king crab, salmon roe, flying fish roe, smelt roe and tilapia. All are priced $6-8 for two pieces.

The bulk of the menu is made up of maki. Traditional rolls include both vegetarian rolls (avocado, asparagus, cucumber, sweet potato, priced $4-5) and fish, including tuna, salmon, yellowtail, spider and spicy scallop ($6-9).

Specialty rolls, about 15 total, include unique offerings like the surf & turf roll featuring tenderloin crab mix, avocado and cucumber topped with tempura flakes; a combination of octopus, shrimp, scallops and garlic butter; and tobiko (8 pieces for $16) and a baked crawfish roll featuring crab avocado and cucumber rolls topped with crawfish, eel sauce and masago ($10).

There are also numerous deep fried rolls, including the sunrise featuring spicy tuna, spicy salmon and avocado fried in tempura batter and topped with eel sauce and mango jalapeno mayo (10 pieces for $12). Other options include the sayonara with tempura unagi, crab mix, avocado and cucumber topped with spicy tuna, scallions and eel sauce (10 pieces for $14), the volcano with spicy octopus, scallions and masago topped with spicy tuna, tobiko and eel sauce (10 pieces for $16) and the wicked tuna featuring tempura shrimp, spicy tuna, asparagus and avocado topped with tuna, eel sauce and mango jalapeno mayo (10 pieces for $16).

Fish Cheeks is open Sunday through Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m. Both dine-in and carry-out are available.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.