all the rest is a dream come true for lovers of the bite-size Japanese delicacy: all-you-can-eat, high quality sushi for under $25. Any kind of sushi on the menu you want! All you can eat! For under $25! I swaggered out of IOU the other day feeling like Arnold Schwarzenegger: I'll be back
Meet the owner
IOU, pronounced "e-yo," means "delicious," "tasty" and "sweet" in the native Pohnpeian language of the restaurant's owner and manager.
"We are originally from the Macronesian Islands - the main island is Pohnpei," said IOU's co-manager Jun Hawley, the owner's nephew, who shares management duties with Trina Flanagan.
Open since early March, IOU is the first restaurant endeavor for Hawley's family. IOU's menu tells a bit of the story: Owned and operated by a local restaurateur who was born and raised on a small atoll in the South Pacific, IOU Sushi brings a little taste of home to Boise. It's traditional Japanese cookery "with the island twist," Hawley said. "We have our own way of doing food."
On the menu
The main draw is the all-you-can-eat sushi-fest for either lunch ($16.99) or dinner ($23.99). For dinner, the chefs add 11 specialty rolls ($10.99 each) to the lineup, including the Bronco roll, the Bogus roll and the Nampa roll.
Hawley's personal favorite is the dragon roll. It has shrimp tempura in the middle and avocado and eel on top, topped with sweet sauce. Best-sellers include the Bogus roll, which features crystal shrimp (a house mix of smaller shrimp) with salmon and tuna on top, plus crab meat
over the tuna. Customers also like the deep-fried sushi and the upside-down shrimp, which combines sweet shrimp on top of rice, topped with scallops and crab meat and sweet sauce, all deep fried into a hot and crunchy house specialty.
IOU's lunch and dinner crowed includes "business people to the football players, students, everybody comes in here," Hawley said. Situated down the road from Towne Square Mall, IOU is in a busy shopping plaza at the high-traffic corner of Milwaukee Street and Fairview Avenue.
"The atmosphere is easy going, just relaxed," Hawley said. "The service is good, you get to know the chefs, the chefs get to know you, they know what you like."
Our waitress did go out of her way to make our visit memorable. When my daughter's teriyaki beef bowl hadn't arrived on the table after the grownups had polished off their plate of sushi, the waitress apologized and took 10 percent off the bill without our even asking. Classy and kind.
Community writer Dan Lea met my daughter and me for a delicious lunch on a very tight deadline. IOU delivered, getting us in and out quickly despite a full house. We loved the unagi (freshwater eel), which, as Dan summed up, "wraps itself around your taste buds with a delicate, melt-in-your mouth appeal that makes it a personal favorite." Well said by Dan, and well done at IOU.