If you are looking for a new venue for late-night sushi and exciting cocktails, look no further than Spoonwater Sushi Ultralounge. Debuting in July in the heart of the Ocean Springs entertainment district, Spoonwater is quickly becoming a hotspot for tourists and locals alike.
Owner Brandon Brinkley, who is originally from Mobile but has lived in Ocean Springs for 20 years along with his partners, Ashleigh Windecker and Nick Quave, have created a stylish, yet family-friendly, restaurant with cool lighting, numerous flatscreen TVs and an outdoor patio that’s perfect for enjoying the weather and people watching on Government Street.
“As locals ourselves, we desire to have a neighborhood feel and inviting atmosphere,” Brinkley says. “We are in the business of people, and we hope to build meaningful and lasting relationships with each of our guests.”
Brinkley’s inviting nature was evident with the friendly banter directed toward passersby. Offering “the best happy hour on the Coast,” he clearly is a man of the people, and I’ve already made plans to return just to watch his infectious personality in action.
While Brinkley’s carnival barker vibe is quite entertaining, it’s the food and drinks that will ensure your return. Made using only high-end ingredients, the sushi and colorful cocktails I had during my visit were highly satisfying.
“The philosophy behind our menu is serving serious food that looks as incredible as it tastes,” Brinkley says. “We feature unique rolls that are made with only fresh ingredients and hand-crafted by our outstanding staff.”
Wanting to experience the best of Spoonwater, I asked to try their four most popular sushi rolls. With all of them being so enticing, it was hard to choose which I liked best.
Spoonwater considers the Government Street its quintessential roll. It features shrimp tempura, spicy tuna and cream cheese on the inside, then it’s topped with a mix of mango, avocado, jalapeños, cucumber, ponzu and a sweet chili sauce. It’s a great roll to start. The River Styx also was quite tasty, featuring red tuna, smoked salmon and cucumber on the inside, with seared steak, diced mango and spicy mayo over the top.
The restaurant namesake, The Spoonwater, is a cooked roll with a warm, crunchy middle of shrimp tempura, balanced with a coolness of cream cheese. Topped with a house crab topping, crawfish, jalapeños, kabayaki and sweet chili sauces, spicy mayo and crunchies, it would make for a satisfying lunch on its own.
The last roll I tried was named after the man himself, the Brinkley. As it says on the menu, you will know him when you see him, and the roll of shrimp tempura, crab and cream cheese topped with smoked salmon, avocado and red tuna on the outside is a fine-tasting roll that does justice to the man responsible.
Having been a bartender from Chicago to Orlando over the years, Brinkley used his expertise to create a nice array of colorful cocktails. All those I tried were quite tasty, with the pink nymph and watermelon ice being my favorites.
Be sure to save room for dessert, as Spoonwater has a must-try. The fried banana cheesecake, served with a side of pineapple vanilla ice cream and drizzled with caramel and hot fudge, was absolutely delightful.
“I want to open 25 of these things,” says Brinkley about what the future holds. “Dreams come true. Magic happens. Come find out what makes Spoonwater stand apart from the rest.”
Spoonwater Sushi Ultralounge is open Tuesday through Sunday and often has an all-day happy hour. A $10 hibachi special is offered on Wednesdays, and a late-night food menu is available on weekends. From 11 a.m.-9 p.m. is the perfect time to bring the family, with many board and outdoor patio games to enjoy. You can show off your karaoke skills on Tuesdays and Fridays, and the restaurant is certified dog friendly anytime.
IF YOU GO
Spoonwater Sushi Ultralounge
1019 Government St., Ocean Springs