Thursday, March 08, 2012

Sushi @ Koo

[ Originally posted January 22, 2012 ]

Checking out another sushi place on my giant list.  They have an extensive menu, spanning hot and cold appetizers, grilled items, lots of crazy rolls, and some standard nigiri.

Since it was our first time there, we decided to try a variety: the appetizer everyone on Yelp raves about, a grilled item, a roll, and all of the nigiri the sushi chef recommended (and the extras the other sushi chef threw in).

Overall, it was decent, but nothing that I'll really remember. I wouldn't say no to going back, but I also wouldn't suggest it. Fish was all good quality, fresh, and the cuts were generous. Prices were a little high for what you got. The place was clean, service friendly.  Seating was either at tables on the side, or at the sushi counter.  We were originally seated at a table, but chose to move to the bar so we could interact with the chefs more.

I still prefer Sushi Zone for rolls and stuffed jalapeno, and Sushi Sam's for nigiri.
A Spoonful of Happiness: a spoonful of uni, quail egg, tobiko, ponzu and a spoonful of ankimo wrapped with red snapper, white truffle-oil, ponzu and a shot of chilled sake
This appetizer is what all the Yelpers rave about and was a reason we decided to check the place out. We were instructed to drink a little sake, have one spoon, drink a little more sake, and have the other.

Sake was forgettable.

The ankimo spoon was decent, the liver nice and creamy, the snapper a nice firm fish, and the truffle oil added all sorts of flavor. Interesting, but I wouldn't really go out of my way for this.

The uni spoon was far more interesting. The uni was delicious and the quail egg added a lot of richness. The ponzu sauce was incredibly flavorful. I'm not sure it was a spoonful of happiness, but it was certainly really interesting and combined numerous flavors, textures, etc into a pretty intense experience.
Flying Kamikaze Roll: spicy tuna and asparagus wrapped w/albacore and topped with garlic ponzu and scallions.
I decided we should at least try one roll off their crazy list of rolls. This turned out to be pretty good.

Spicy tuna and asparagus on the inside, albacore on the outside, and a little ponzu sauce.

The spicy tuna was standard, filled with mayo, not that flavorful but decent cut of fish. The asparagus added a nice crunch. The albacore on the outside was again a decent cut of fish. The ponzu and scallions made it seem a little lighter somehow.

Overall, a decent roll. Not one I dream of like Sushi Zone's but better than average.
Grilled stuffed Jalapeno with hamachi, served with lime aioli.
Not very good. Sushi Zone has a version of this that I love (although I think theirs is stuffed with albacore not hamachi).

The jalapeno was nicely grilled and had a nice crunch, but the hamachi filling was really boring, just cooked hamachi with no real flavor (Sushi Zone's version has a delicious soy sauce on top).

The lime aioli was really out of place, I don't really understand how it was supposed to go with the dish at all, and it wasn't really lime flavored, mostly just mayo. I wish I'd tasted it before dipping my piece in it.

Skip, skip, skip.
Wild Aji - Spanish Mackerel from Japan and Hamachi - yellowtail 
We asked the sushi chef for a recommendation.

The hamachi was the first thing he recommended. It was ok, nice and firm, but not particularly noteworthy.

The folks sitting next to us told us to get the Aji, so we did. Again, decent texture, but nothing noteworthy.
Salmon salad with yuzo and miso.
One of the sushi chefs had no orders coming in (the roll making one), so he decided to make this for us, complimentary.

It was salmon, some sort of greens, in a yuzo and miso sauce, with sesame seeds. Super flavorful from the dressing, decent salmon.

My favorite dish of the night (which is funny, since I didn't order it!)
Iwashi - Sardine & Hirame - Japan, Halibut
More recommendations from the sushi chef.

Again, nice firm fish, good cuts, but not particularly standout.
Deep fried mackerel
The same bored sushi chef gave us this, complimentary. I think he said it was a deep fried mackerel, but I'm not positive.

It was slightly scary looking, but mostly just like eating chips, but more delicious. Salty and super crispy.

Probably my 3rd favorite dish of the night (again, funny since I didn't order it)
Maguro - Japan, Blue fin tuna. 
"Do we feel bad ordering Blue fin tuna?" - One of my dining companions.

Yes, but ... a nice generous piece of fish! My favorite of the nigiri.
I don't remember what this one was ...

Saba - Japan, Marinated Mackerel
Least favorite. Was really fishy tasting.
Hamachi toro.
They only had one piece of this left, so it went to one of my dining companions.  He really liked it.
I was stuffed, but I have a thing with finishing all sushi meals with tamago. It is like dessert to me.

This was particularly good tamago, nice and sweet! 2nd favorite dish of the night.

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