Almost a year ago, I read Krista’s rave review of Tomoe sushi and thought “hmm, it’s cheap, fresh, handy when near Oxford Street *and* it’s named Tomoe [just like my fave sushi place in NY].” There was *no question* I was going to rush over.
So. I’ve been to Tomoe five or six times over the past few months, and the thing I liked every time was that it was, in fact, cheap, fresh, and handy when near Oxford Street. No fireworks from the food. But good, honest value: no matter how much I order at Tomoe, my tab always seems to come out around £15.
Well, this evening when I dropped by, Tomoe’s sushi just knocked my socks off. The fish’s freshness was off the charts. I was so impressed! All those other visits I’ve paid were good, but today was great. When I mentioned how especially good the sushi was today, our server looked at me like I was on crack. Maybe they just got a super-good fish delivery today? Maybe the packed house (thanks to a very large party of Japanese men) meant the sushi was made especially a la minute? I wish I could figure out why today was suddenly shoulders-above all my previous visits, because I really couldn’t get enough of the fish.
I started with miso soup, as always, and drinking it down created a spot of warm comfort in these cold, dark nights. It’s good, but the food that followed was without question the highlight.
My friend ordered the chirashi sushi (aka bowl of assorted sushi toppings on rice), and look at the care that went into putting it together. It was so pretty! And £8 for this large bowl of goodness.
Salmon nigiri (£1.70 a piece) was melt-in-your mouth rich. Fresh and light tasting. Beautifully sliced and bedded on still-slightly-warm sushi rice, with an excellent balance of sweet, sour and spicy (from the wasabi). I started with just two pieces and just had to have more and more.
Maki was good as always, but played second fiddle to the raw fish. That said, I’m partial to the shrimp tempura roll (when am I not, honestly?) as well as to the unagi-avocado roll. Most rolls are £5 an order, and three orders is very filling, even if you’re a big eater comme moi.
The bill never arrives itemized, but I always end up with an average tab of £15 for seemingly-endless amounts of sushi and green tea. Service is unfailingly polite and sincere seeming. For example, today, our server apologized in advance when we sat down, because she worried that the crowds of diners this evening would mean the sushi chef would be slower than normal fulfilling our order.
The decor is drab, but endearingly un-slick. Go. Bring friends. And tell me what made today so much better than all my earlier visits.
Tomoe Sushi, 62 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2PB; 0207 486 2004; closest tube stations: Bond Street or Oxford Circus