The first thing I noticed, this time and last, was how cold it was in there. They did adjust it for us, but it remained pretty breezy. I think the fans from all the hibachis running may have had something to do with this, but it made the other side of the restaurant cold. We also had an extremely enthusiastic server who told me how he was just exceptionally happy that day (nothing wrong with that).
We started with the agedashi tofu ($4.45) (seems to be a standard order for me and Suzanne at Asian places) and this was one of the better ones. The pieces of tofu were smaller sized (maybe three inches long) and had the perfect crunch to tofu ratio. They served a tempura sauce alongside which had a little more flavor than most sauces I have had with fried tofu and I appreciated it. There were also dry fish flakes on top, giving it a little salty flavor and more texture.
The other appetizer we ordered was the tuna tataki ($11.45), which I didn’t care for as much. It was just thinly sliced barely seared tuna with a ponzu sauce. First, the tuna was not sliced all the way through which made it annoying to eat, especially when you are sharing with others. The tuna itself was fine, but the sauce was so mild, you couldn’t taste much of anything.
We then ordered several rolls. My favorite one was the Indy 500 Roll ($9.95), which was shrimp tempura and avocado inside and topped with spicy crab, crunch and eel sauce. It had the crunch I liked, both inside and out. And while I questioned the “crab” on top, there wasn’t a ton of it so it tasted pretty good.
We also had the spicy dragon roll ($10.95) and the crazy monkey roll ($11.25), which were both decent. The spicy dragon had spicy tuna inside and was topped with eel and avocado. Sometimes eel can be just slightly fishy and this had a touch of that. The crazy monkey roll was eel and cucumber inside and was topped with salmon, shrimp, avocado, lemon, tobiko and a spicy sauce. There was a fair amount going in in this one, and I liked the pieces with the salmon and avocado on top—for some reason, shrimp just doesn’t do it for me on top of sushi rolls (even though I love a tempura shrimp inside). Maybe it’s a texture thing. But overall these two were not bad.
The last roll was my least favorite and had us guessing about some of the ingredients. It was the Dynamite Roll ($9.95). It is described as a California roll (which is avocado, krab, and cucumber inside usually) that is topped with baked spicy crab and scallop on top. First of all, if you are using fake crab, let’s be honest about it. It is used a lot in sushi, and I think people expect it. But I expect it to be stated on the menu. Say it’s “krab” or “crabstick” or whatever. Especially if you use “crabstick” some places on the menu and “crab” on others (for example on the description of their California roll, Izakaya specifies crabstick is used). That makes me think you are differentiating the two. (And some places, like H2O, actually mean crab when they say crab). The topping on this roll was so strange we thought it was noodles for the longest time. It was shredded crabstick that I think had a few tiny pieces of scallop mixed in a spicy mayo-type of sauce that was then baked. I did not care for this roll for many reasons. The main one was “crabstick.” The strange somewhat gelatinous texture of the topping was one of the others.
Overall, I liked that the rolls themselves were smaller bites though so no mouth contortions needed. They certainly have a ton of variety in their special rolls—it took us a fair amount of negotiations to get our order decided. I am still intrigued by the popularity of the teppanyaki side of the restaurant and will see if I can convince hubby to give it a go sometime, although, he was not a huge fan of the place overall. I think I may have asked this last time, but any of you guys tried the hibachi dinners?
7325 East 96th Street