The cozy room seats around 40 people with 10 more at the sushi bar. Perched at the bar you can watch the three chefs – one for sashimi, one for nigiri, and the third for other appetizers – create culinary masterpieces. You can also peer into the spotless kitchen.
The density of the menu reminds me of the neighboring Chinese restaurant tomes. On one side of a single page menu, lists dozens of styles of nigiri and sashimi. Though, they offer traditional preparations, it seems silly in a place like this to not trust the chef’s creativity. On the other side are categories for waygu beef, pork, vegetables, chicken, truffles and a few other things. With the least expensive nigiri at $8, I was careful in my selections to make the best choices for my money – I knew the bill would add up quickly.
The intrigue ended with the arrival of the first dish. Enoki Mushroom nigiri was served with wild asparagus and a soy glaze. The two fingers had a lovely earthy, sweet scent. The wild asparagus was a fun visual addition, but with the strong flavors of soy and mushrooms, its appeal was lost. And for $12 I was disappointed. Two pieces of Wild Santa Barbara Spot Prawn came in at $20, and they were torched until cooked through. I had hoped for the raw creaminess that makes shrimp sushi so pleasing.
As I perused the menu for further selections, I wondered if it were possible to satiate my admittedly ample appetite for under $100. Three bite-size pieces of chicken thigh yakatori came in at $16 – though I will forgive this one for the generous slices of black truffle. I was down-right insulted when the soft shell crab arrived – only ½ a crab – also for $16.
No soy sauce or wasabi adorned a dish, nor were they served on the side. The kitchen did not send out any amuse bouche that would suggest that the $16 soft shell crab was also bank-rolling other refinements. In the end, two of us ate 6 small plate, drank a modest $40 bottle of wine and spent $105 each.
The flavors were lovely, though with small portions and none of the extra flourishes that Oishii offers, I doubt I’ll return unless someone else picks up the tab. And even then, I’m not sure… I wouldn’t want to take advantage of someone’s good nature in treating me to a meal.
Labels: restaurants----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:7/10/2008 07:22:00 PM O Ya? Oh, no. ----- --------