I am pretty excited about this place. To be honest, we had sort of put off going for a couple of reasons—one, it is also a nightclub, and I sort of feel too old for nightclubs, and two, when you look at the menu online, it looks like you get a lot of food on each plate, and with only 2 people, I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to try too much. It IS a nightclub after 10 pm, and certainly has a nightclub feel, but it was a very enjoyable experience going earlier in the evening and there were quite a few people there that were even older than us, so that was reassuring. It is a very dark modern interior (hence the dark-ish pictures), and the music while in the forefront, wasn’t so loud that you couldn’t easily carry on a conversation. As for the portion size, I was totally wrong. At the time we went, it wasn’t reflected on the online menu (now it is), but many of their plates come in half portions, or you can buy them by the piece (the tacos, etc.) making it very easy to try a lot of things. And essentially, that is what they intend for you to do. Most of the things are fairly small—in fact we ordered an extra thing at the last minute.
The first things we were brought were the lobster tacos (half order (2) was $9). They were delicious. Each taco had one small warmed soft tortilla shell filled with small chunks of lobster meat (tender and not chewy at all) and mixed with lots of good stuff—salsa, avocado and cilantro as well as some little lightly crispy bits of something (just tempura bits maybe?) giving it just a little interesting texture in each bite. I would get these again in a heartbeat.
Next we had the snapper sashimi—also really, really great (1/2 order, $9). It was four thin slices of the raw snapper, which was impeccably fresh and tender with a light ponzu sauce (generally a soy based sauce mixed with citrus). There were crispy toasty tasting garlic chips and a little slice of jalapeno on top giving it a bit of a kick as well as a bit of a crunch. I loved this one—again another one I would love to get again.
The next item we were served (they sort of space them out so you just get one at a time) was the “toast and jam” which was shrimp toast with Ahi tuna jam ($15). A very interesting concept indeed, and we both loved the toasts themselves—they were little triangles of bread that were dipped in a batter with the shrimp in it and fried. Seriously, I could much on these alone all night long. The “jam” part was made with the tuna, and other seasonings—garlic and cumin I believe, as well as house made strawberry preserve and a bit of sugar. While I loved the consistency of the jam to spread on the toast, it wasn’t my favorite because it was a little too sweet for me—I tasted the fruit more than anything. Hubby liked the combination more than I did. But just to try the toast alone—this dish is worth getting.
We also shared the seared Kobe beef ($28). This was by far the largest portion of anything we had, although, it wasn’t huge or anything. The beef itself was perfectly cooked, and I liked that it was sliced into manageable pieces, but unfortunately, it lacked enough seasoning. It was supposed to be served with a yuzu cilantro butter which sounded like it would be great. Yuzu is a type of citrus, and I think the flavors as described would be lovely with the beef, but you just couldn’t taste them at all. The beef was good, but plain. It was also served with some asparagus spears.
So after all this, we had so enjoyed ourselves, we decided to skip a dessert and just get one more small plate to share. This time we chose the Albacore salad ($11). It was mainly a salad, as in greens, but was mixed with cubes of mango, tuna, and pink peppercorns and dressed with a Yuzu-vinaigrette. The dressing was nice, and adequately coating the leaves. The salad would have been nice if it weren’t for the severely under ripe mango. This is the kind of dish that the mango is a big part of, and my advice, if it isn’t ripe, don’t serve it. The dices of mango were hard and dry.
Even with the less than stellar ending (although, truly the salad would have been quite good if not for the mango), this is a place that got me and hubby both very excited. The service is extremely professional, all questions were answered with a lot of knowledge, and the dishes were all brought out in succession, but in a perfectly timed manner. And I am happy to see a new independent restaurant opening downtown. We look forward to returning to get a couple of the dishes we had on this visit, as well as several new ones.
Sensu (I hear a version of it has opened in Carmel as well)
225 South Meridian