Diners 2+1 Review – Japanese Staples in Squirrel Hill

Last Updated on February 22, 2022 by Jeremy

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Diners 2+1 in Squirrel Hill is the kind of Japanese restaurant that has something for everyone. Not only do they have a large sushi menu (which brought us to visit), they also have a wide array of starters, rice bowls, and full entrees as well.

But as we were in the mood for sushi, during our first visit we stuck heavily to this side of the menu with some appetizers for good measure.

A Sushi Feast at Diners 2+1 in Squirrel Hill

Gyoza from Diners 2+1

We started our meal with orders of takoyaki and gyoza- two of our favorite Japanese starters.

The gyoza were lightly pan-fried dumplings filled with shrimp and were simple and too the point as all good gyoza should be with a nice textural contrast for the otherwise soft fillings.

Diners 2+1 Takyokai

Takoyaki, on the other hand, are always a treat. These fluffy, doughy balls are stuffed with bits of tender octopus and topped with a tangy sauce (not unlike a barbecue sauce), spicy mayo, and bonito flakes. These lean into the flavors of the ocean quite well without being overly fishy, but just be careful when you bite into them as they can be steaming on the inside!

As we were interested in checking this one out for the sushi, we landed on three premium rolls for our entree. I was originally wanting to order more, but Angie rightfully pointed out how large the rolls were at nearby tables, and we found three to be more than plenty with the appetizers. The rolls we sampled (from left to right in the image below) were the Beauty Alaska Roll, the Sushi Sandwich, and the Murray Roll which helped get a nice mix of all of the seafood and accompaniments offered here.

Sushi Platter from Diners 2+1 in Squirrel Hill

The Beauty Alaska Roll featured mango, cucumber, jalapeno, and was topped with salmon and avocado. In this one, the mango was almost the star as much (if not more than) the salmon and offered a refreshing sweetness and bright acidity to every bite despite being a relatively small amount of fruit relative to the fish.

The Sushi Sandwich wins all the points for being unique and was perhaps our favorite of the bunch. This one featured spicy tuna, salmon, crab, avocado, and tamago with a soy wrap. Instead of being rolled into a cylinder and sliced, this one was cut into triangle wedges to look like tea sandwiches. Not only was this one an inventive creation for the appearance, the flavors came together nicely, somehow still held up to the disproportionate amount of sauce dolled on top, and was a flavor burst with every bite- you won't be wanting for more seafood in this one. 

The final roll we tried was the Murray Roll with deep-fried white fish, massago, cucumber, and avocado. While this roll was far simpler than others, the hot fish and textural contrast from the batter provided a nice break from the seafood and citrus flavors of the other rolls. As a pairing, you really couldn't ask for much better than these three as they all brought something a bit different to the table.

Our real regret from our first visit to Diners 2+1 was that we only sampled from the sushi side of the menu apart from our appetizers. This one features an array of even more dishes including chicken teriyaki, tempura platters, an array of fish options, rice bowls, and more. As such, while you may also visit this one for the sushi as we did, you really have a wonderfully large menu at your finger tips if you want to try something different!

We know we will on our next visit.

Diners 2+1 is located at 1722 Murray Ave in Squirrel Hill.

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