Foods I crave when I go back to the US: fresh, cheap sushi (yes, it’s a category), bagels and pizza. Having been raised in the New York area, I consider these three items a birthright. It’s just too bad that the closest I came to NY during the last trip was Connecticut.
Still, the straightforward sushi I had at Kazu in Norwalk, CT was the best of my three sushi outings during this last trip. The restaurant, which has a sleek, a-little-too-ready-to-be-franchised decor, was pleasantly busy on a Thursday evening, but I could still easily hear myself talk over the buzz in the room (important!).
Kazu’s sushi offerings were all classic and basic, which was fine by me, especially because everything I ordered tasted fresh and flavorful. My shrimp tempura roll, for example, was warm and crispy from a recent frying, and the shrimp still tasted sweet, sea-creaturey and not rubbery. And it was only $6.50. Take that, evil doers.
Service at the resto was super-attentive and perky in that unique American way that annoys Europeans. I figure, on the balance, it’s better to be overly-perky and attentive than rude and indifferent. (Cue American flag waving in the front yard).
On another evening, Jon and I met three of our fave friends for sushi at Oishii in Boston. The resto is all black slate sleekness, but the cool factor diminished for us when we were seated by the bathroom. To be fair, we’d made a reservation only three hours beforehand, so I guess if someone’s going to be by the bathroom, it’s reasonably us.
The sushi at Oishii was visually exciting, but the food really varied. The baby hamachi starter (photo at top of post) was a highlight – beautiful to see, delicious to eat. Miso crumbs and menegi added crunch and savoriness, and fried garlic gave it a tasty kick. Totally worth the $18.
Unfortunately, we veered away from the raw fish after our starters, and I think ordering the “cooked” foods was a major mistake. $25 for shrimp maki and $15 for lobster tempura maki yielded lots of overcooked seafood, however prettily wrapped in nori and jicama (see third photo).
My shrimp boule wrapped in fried potato strings (see fourth photo) deserves a special mention for looking so interesting and creative, but tasting like rubber trapped in shredded wheat.
Because the baby hamachi starter was *so* good, I’d go back for the raw fish and sake.
Last and totally least, avoid Ra Sushi in Palm Beach Gardens like the plague. Eating in the vicinity of Palm Beach generally means that you should steel yourself for an expensive and mediocre meal. At best, you might end up with an expensive and decent meal, but most times, expect the mediocre outcome and cook at home.
Despite knowing this rule of thumb, I broke down and dragged Jon to a shopping mall called Downtown (yes, really) to eat sushi at the enormous and loud Ra Sushi. Think Cheesecake Factory (of course also located in “Downtown”) with lots of red lanterns, then subtract all the diners that at least make Cheesecake Factory buzzy, and add back in a giant-screen TV showing very loud football games.
We should have run away immediately upon entering, but I was determined to get a sushi fix. Jon is still holding this one against me. The raw fish was so old and mealy that I feared for our safety so we didn’t finish our food. We just paid our $70 and left.