Last weekend was rainy, but Sushi Say was all the comfort I needed. It’s a small, narrow restaurant with a sushi counter up front and a dining room with about a dozen tables in the back. The owners are a husband-and-wife team, and best I could tell, the husband is the sushi chef at the counter, and the wife is the gracious maitre d’ and pinch server. They set a great example, because everyone working at Sushi Say was helpful, patient (at explaining the lengthy menu) and welcoming.
Jon and I went for dinner with two friends who are regulars, and I’m already looking forward to going back, luxuriating in the friendly care of the servers, and pigging out on more fresh sushi and Japanese dishes.
While the four starters we shared were all good, agedashi tofu was one of my favorites. Tofu with a fluffy, creamy-tasting center, lightly battered and fried, and taking on the perfectly-balanced salt-sugar flavors of the tentsuyu broth – how could you not love it? My other favorite was a special-of-the-day starter, gyu tataki, which was served as a bowl of lightly-grilled, thinly-sliced beef (the most beautifully-marbled beef, I should say) in a soy-citrus sauce and topped with crispy greens. The beef was rare and melt-in-your-mouth luscious, and the sour citrus lightened everything up.
By the time we were ready to order at 9 pm, the restaurant had run out of shrimp tempura, but the vegetable tempura we shared instead was a good choice. Tempura is all about the batter, and Sushi Say’s batter is excellent: the veg were crispy but their flavors were still strong and distinct. It wasn’t just fried flavorlessness.
All four of us ordered a variety of sashimi, maki and nigiri, and while the maki – like all our sushi – featured fish that was tender and clean-tasting, the maki options were pretty simple, so don’t show up thinking you’re going to find elaborate fusion-y rolls. The omakase options are all £25-30, and the photo above shows how much fish you get for your omakase.
Our tab for all this food and a few beers came to £35 per person, which I thought was a great price for so much high-quality food. Sushi Say is simple and fresh, which is exactly what I want for my sushi fix.
Sushi Say, 33B Walm Lane, NW2 5SH, 0208 459 2971. Just two blocks down from Willesden Green tube station.