Menu Items Tried:
- Sushi Boat
- Tempura Vegetables
- Lion King Roll
I’ve tried to go to Sumo Sushi on several occasions, and have been thwarted by their bizarre operating hours every time.
For some reason, my sushi clock is entirely out of sync with their 2-5pm down time. After a few failed attempts, I had sworn them off for good, to be honest. Kind of unfair, considering that I should be able to read the door and remember it. Although terrible with numbers, my mammalian brain always retained the sting of finding the door shut when I was primed to paw the river for fresh fish.
A very good friend of mine who isn’t too familiar with sushi invited me for his initial forary into the cuisine, and I figured I’d give them another crack at my wallet. “If they’re closed this time, I’m done pretty much forever” I thought. The customer is always a jerk. Is that how it goes? Anyway…
My initial impression of the place was a bit guarded. The carpet smell I’m always on about was present. Not obscenely so, though. The place was relatively clean, with the wooden sushi bar taking center stage. Our table was a bit close to the wall, set at an odd angle, so the chair closest to the wall made the table feel a bit like the tray of a highchair. Also, the partition separating us from the other diners had a bit of unidentifiable and unappetizing black schmutz on it… could be excess varnish. Hard to tell. Still, I was along for the ride. Silverware was clean… can’t beat that.
The salad and soup arrived first. A standard highschool brown plastic bowl made an appearance with the soup, which was quite good, surprisingly. The aroma foretold a rich and balanced boullion flavor, not distinctly store bought, with a hint of scallions. The little panko crumbs sprinkled in right before service were a nice touch, in a dish rarely known for texture.
Their homemade ginger dressing was tangy, pungent and not-too-sweet, with what appeared to be carrot blended in with the ginger. Just enough different to be their own, and often the standard by which I measure Japanese faire, I’d call this dressing another a win for this sumo.
Next came the fairly standard tempura veggies. The fresh sweet potato that I tried was quite good, with a hearty crunch and perfectly moist potato inside.
The real treat was the first sushi boat. Yes, with the boat special (roughly 85 bucks), there are two. Entirely sashimi, all the fish was exquisitely fresh and chilled. The tuna was firm but supple, not flaky. The salmon was tender and succulent with no blemish. I’m not a fan of white fish, for the most part, but even those pieces were delectable. In fact, we were both thoroughly impressed with the escholar, a buttery white fish with a very mild flavor and gentle texture.
I thought it a particularly nice touch that they had gently sandwiched the thin slices of clam and octopus between even thinner slices of fresh lemon, standing in creative little lean-to’s at either end of the boat. For a first trip, my friend had a significantly heartier experience than my early toe-dipping into california rolls.
Next came boat two, containing salmon and tuna nigiri, along with two specialty rolls. Both of the rolls were fried and contained cream cheese, which, in both cases, are a huge no from me. I would have preferred a choice in the matter. Even so, the rolls were quite good, and the nigiri rice had the peak tenderness and flavor evident of a sushi master.
Throughout the adventure, the wait staff was attentive, and the authentic sushi chefs kept an amused eye on us as we happily devoured and discussed each morsel.
All in all, the ambience could use some polish, along with moving that back table away from the wall… but I was overall very glad that I’d finally paid a visit to unlocked doors, and now that I have the schedule down, I’m certain that I’ll be happily making my other two rounds. From my first impression, I have high hopes that the mastery shown in this visit will continue.