The experience

Sushi ZushiI have been wanting to get together with my good friends, Ashish and Reina, to hear about their recent international travel.  We were finally able to coordinate our schedules for dinner tonight.  I left it up to them to decide where we’d have dinner.   They are both vegetarian, so I wanted to make sure they’d enjoy both the food and the company at dinner tonight.  Ashish texted Sushi Zushi to me.  Perfect, I texted back.  I told Ogre that we needed to leave by 5:15 to get there for our 6 o’clock date, but of course he didn’t show up until 5:35, making us a little late.

When we arrived, WHOA, who was this bearded man before us??  Mina giggles and Benjamin was frozen in fear…until we tried to set him in his chair across from Sasquatch.  Then he fought with all his might to be out of that seat.  We ended up holding him to protect him from Beardo Weirdo.  Mina loved it and couldn’t stop touching his beard, although, she did tell him that he should shave it off…tomorrow.  See, Mina has this song that she has sung about Ashish since she was two years old:

  • Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear,
  • Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair,
  • But Ashish has LOTS of hair! 

And she was just talking about his arms and chest!!!

After Team Phipps got over the distraction of his new beard, we read the very large menu with very small print.  There are a lot of choices on their sushi menu -from appetizers, to “japanese comfort foods,” to noodle dishes and more.  The entire backside of the menu is devoted to various creative rolls.  I noted to everyone that I should write down what I order here so I don’t have to review the menu every time, it’s a lot to digest!  We do know that we want the Yellowtail Razor and we go ahead and put that order in.  I also have to decide what to get the kids.  They don’t have a true children’s menu here, but they have some appetizers and other small dishes that will work for our family.  Benjamin is still being ridiculously cranky.  I’m blaming it on Ashish and his facial hair, but I don’t know if he didn’t nap long enough or what.

 

Benji got some bowlsOur waitress is totally kind and proactive and brings a couple empty plastic bowls and two spoons just for Benji.  I forgot to mention that they did have crayons and a paper placemat with activities on it for the kids as well as plastic kids’ cups.  Unfortunately, Benjamin was not being restaurant-friendly at all today.  We hoped that when we got some food in front of him he would chill out.  I was beginning to feel sorry for anyone dining near us. 

 

Yellowtail RazorWhen she came back, we put in our order.  It’s a long list that I’ll discuss in the food section.  I got a shrimp tempura appetizer dish for Mina’s entree and an order of cold tofu for them, also.  Our Yellowtail Razor comes out.  Ashish, who is not very tolerant of spice, pushes off the jalapenos -as do I, actually, and Ogre scoops those on to his.  It’s a light and refreshing start to our sushi meal.

 

Mina giving a Ashish a shaveWhile Benjamin continues to cower in fear, Mina is using her wooden sushi knife to “shave off” Uncle Ashish’s beard.  I’m feeling a little claustaphobic watching her.  Mina has NO IDEA about personal space.  I try to tell Mina to back off a little bit.  Thank goodness Ashish is so tolerant of my freakishly friendly child.   Our food starts to arrive.  Thankfully, first the tempura and tofu come out.  We try to put Benji back in his chair and with just the tofu, it’s a no go.  Then we hand him one of the tempura plantains and he, happy with this culinary delight, sits in his chair.  Our sushi arrives and there’s a little bit of mix up with where the vegetarian sushi should be, which she tries to fix, but it’s still not quite right.  We decide to just let it be and we rearrange the sushi ourselves.  Mina has to go to the bathroom, of course, and I move over to sit beside Benji in case he remembers that he is afraid of Ashish.   He finishes his plantain up and starts to whine about something or another.  I try giving him one of Ogre’s sushi rolls, not knowing that it has jalapenos in it.  He took a bite and threw it back at me.  Nice one, Benj.

Sushi galore

 

For the rest of dinner, he seems to be pointing and wanting something, but when I try to give it to him, he shakes his head and cries.  I think he was just in an absolutely foul mood.  We even ordered him a full order of plantain tempura, but that does not keep him happy…or quiet.

In between Benji’s fitful screams and whining, we get to hear about Reina and Ashish’s trip to Brazil and Peru.  It’s so nice to have adult conversation even if it is marred by high pitched screaming and ketchup on my sleeve.  I learned that there are islands made from the ground that reeds have rooted into that float on Lake Titicaca where entire villages sustain themselves.  Interesting stuff, Ogre is reading more about it right now.

At the point right before I think Benjamin might totally decompensate, I pick him up out of his chair to finish off my last few pieces of sushi and we can settle our tab. 

When we all get up to leave, Ashish comes over to see Benjamin.  He rubs Benji’s head and actually gets a smile out of him. 

 

The food

Their menu is expansive.  They have most of the “traditional” Japanese appetizers and entrees.  The real star of the show is their creative rolls.  In addition to the standard nigiri, sashimi, and traditional rolls, they have probably over 50 specialty rolls.  We ordered the Yummy Yummy Roll (unagi, snow crab, shrimp tempura), the Cosimo roll (shrimp, avocado, cream cheese), the Spurs Roll (yellowtail, cilantro, avocado, tomato -no serranos, this one was for Ashish), the Toreado Roll (toreado serrano peppers, scallps, avocado, crab), the Cristina Roll (yellow tail, cilantro, topped with escolar), the Tropical Roll (asparagus, avocado, cucumber, cream cheese, carrots, sprouts topped with mango), and the Spicy Vegetable Tempura Roll.  We also ordered the Ronald McDonald House Roll (which was similar to the Yummy Yummy, but it was sea eel and I do not think it had shrimp tempura).  I, prefering more traditional style rolls, also ordered the plain old tuna roll and a tuna nigiri.

Toreado Roll

Toreado Roll

Vegetable Tempura Roll

Vegetable Tempura Roll

 

Mina loves tunaThe fish were all very fresh.  The combination rolls were all very good.  No complaints about the food here.  My tuna was very buttery.  I had to give up one of my tuna nigiri to Mina who also lauded the goodness of it.

The kids also enjoyed their dishes.  Mina ate all of her shrimp tempura and Benji enjoyed his tempura plantains.  Both of them liked the cold tofu.  It was a little more difficult feeding the toddler here, but his temper was so labile today that I don’t think I can blame it on the restaurant.  They also have chicken skewers, dumplings, and edamame, which can all be suitable for a toddler or child.

 

The service

This waitress did a pretty good job in spite of our screaming child.  She kept the drinks filled, tried to accomodate the children, and kept our table uncluttered.  She didn’t quite understand what we wanted with the vegetarian rolls on a separate plate, but she kept wanting to fix it til she got it right; I think that’s an A for effort!  The food came out at a good tempo, also.  It did not feel like we were waiting too long to get our food even with grumpy Ben.

 

The kids

They do get some points for kid-friendliness here.  They do not have a true kids menu, but they do have crayons and activities to try to keep kids entertained and there are kid-compatible menu items.  Our waitress was also kid-friendly tonight.  I would still probably err on dining here on a night and at a time where the restaurant isn’t too busy.  If we’d had an excessively long dinner here, it would have been disastrous.  Also, this is getting close to my discomfort level with annoying the other restaurant patrons.  Benjamin’s crying echoed through the restaurant.  Sushi Zushi obviously anticipates the presence of children, but the other restaurant goers may not.

Mina was begging me to give this place 4 stars.  I think that the 4th star was just because of the presence of Uncle Ashish and Auntie Reina.  So we are giving it 3 stars, I doubt that they’ll want to join all of our readers for dinner to make it a 4 star night.  When we tried to explain what 4 stars means and that she needs to try to take the Ashish and Reina factor out, she did confess that she likes Sushi Awaji better.

This is definitely a great place to go with really good sushi and it certainly can be a fun family outing, just don’t bring a grumpy toddler with you!

Total: $184.51 (ouch! But it is 4 adults who really like sushi and Ogre’s $23 sake included)

 

NOTE:  AFTER THIS POST, WE CHANGED THE STAR RATINGS TO BE 5 STARS, WHICH IS WHY THIS IS NOW 4 STARS.  WE CONSIDERED IT ABOVE AVERAGE, BUT NOT TOTALLY EXCELLENT.

Related Fiascos