During a recent visit, Gazette restaurant reviewer Bill Livick and a dining companion enjoyed Sequoia’s signature salad featuring organic fresh greens, avocado, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, seaweed and a sweet peanut dressing.


A new sushi and ramen restaurant that opened on Monroe Street in June is offering tantalizing flavors and artful presentations of its food in an upscale setting.

Sequoia restaurant replaced an Irish pub and established itself as the only ramen-sushi lounge in a trendy neighborhood with a host of fine eateries.

Its menu features pork and vegetarian ramen along with more than a dozen sushi rolls, nigri and sashimi options. It also offers nine appetizers including pork buns, salads and several seafood specialties.

Sequoia excels at combining simple, flavorful ingredients that complement each other.

The restaurant’s interior has retained much of the dark-pub wood featured when it was Brocach on Monroe, but a partial remodel has lightened the spacious dining room. The space remains anchored by a handsome bar along one side, with chairs and tables set with white cloth napkins in the main dining area.

A friend and I took a window table near the front door during a recent visit. We were impressed with not only the quality and presentation of the food but also the service. Sequoia’s sushi rolls also are colorful and tasty.

A rainbow roll ($15) begins as a California roll (with cucumber, crab and avocado combined with vinegar rice) and adds raw salmon, tuna, shrimp, escolar and tobiko (flying fish roe). When it arrived at our table, it was like a glimmering gem—the brightly colored fish topped with emerald roe (which appeared almost crystalline). As with most rolls here, it is served with wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce and comes dressed in seaweed.

The rainbow roll was a highlight, but the rest of our meal was filled with healthy surprises, as well.

It began with an order of pork buns (two for $7) featuring roast pork with pickled vegetables dressed with brown hoisin sauce, all stuffed inside a fluffy, white, clamshell-style bun. The tender, juicy meat was complemented perfectly by crunchy pickled cucumbers and scallions.

An order of four deep-fried shrimp in tempura batter ($7), served with the same hoisin, was equally flavorful.

Sushi and ramen eateries often fall short when it comes to salads and fresh vegetables, but that proved not to be the case at Sequoia. Its signature salad ($12), which was easily large enough for two, is excellent with organic fresh greens, avocado, cucumber and cherry tomatoes serving as a base that is topped with seaweed salad and a sweet peanut dressing.

Like a lot of people, my dining companion hasn’t fully embraced the idea of eating raw fish. Fortunately, there are plenty of other options at Sequoia—even beyond the pork and veggie ramen and seared nigri (salmon, tuna and escolar).

A baked scallop roll ($15) arrived looking more like a casserole than something you would find in a sushi restaurant. Still, its flavors were fine, combining numerous small scallops and crab meat with cucumber, avocado and rice, all of which was drizzled with hoisin sauce and served with wasabi and pickled ginger. It was as filling as it was attractively presented.

Sequoia’s menu doesn’t have a dessert list, but a Thai iced tea ($4) works well to serve the purpose. It is a deliciously sweet beverage that agrees with a healthy meal.

The restaurant wasn’t terribly busy on the night of our visit. We noticed the kitchen pays close attention to detail, and we appreciated our professional and helpful server.

My companion and I plan to return to Sequoia later in the fall, when the weather turns cooler, for Sequoia’s other specialty—pork or vegetarian ramen.

Bill Livick is a freelance writer who writes entertainment stories and Madison-area restaurant reviews for The Gazette.