Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sushi @ Ryoko's

[ Originally posted January 29, 2012 ]

Trying out yet another new sushi place. This time we went to Ryoko's in the Tenderloin.

The place was hopping, full with a wait out the door when we arrived at 7:30pm and still there when we left at 9:30pm.  Luckily, they take reservations, and were ready to seat us the moment we walked in, a major plus for a sushi restaurant!

We ordered an assortment of dishes, to really give the place a chance - some appetizers, nigiri off the specials menu, some rolls, and dessert.  The menu is pretty huge, particularly the rolls section. Overall it was all ok, and I thought better than the last few places I've been, but it still doesn't replace Sushi Sam's for nigiri. I think it might beat Sushi Zone for rolls in that the rolls were less sloppily made (tightly rolled, proper proportions of ingredients). The cuts of fish were all good, it seemed like the sushi chefs were skilled, but just that the product wasn't necessarily great quality.  I'd probably go back if I wanted some rolls and didn't want to wait at Sushi Zone.

The flow of the food was a little off - the grilled shisito peppers that were ordered along with everything else at the start did not come until long after the rest of the food, something like 1.5 hours into our dining. I have no idea why they took so long. The tamago we added on later on in the meal also took a long time to arrive, and came after the dessert (probably our fault for ordering the dessert, but we'd been waiting quite a while and figured the tamago would come soon ...).

See individual photos for full reviews.
HIYASHI WAKAME - Thinly cut kelp and seaweed lightly seasoned with sweet sesame oil.  Complimentary edamame. 
Complimentary edamame was served soon after sitting which was a nice touch, but it was cold and not salted. Meh.

The hiyashi wakame was a standard seaweed salad. Not much to say here, dressing wasn't particularly flavorful, but it also wasn't overdressed. Not really worth getting unless you actually are in the mood for some seaweed salad.
Monkfish liver, with salad, scallions, ginger, dressing
Not very good. The texture was off and it tasted exactly like I'd imagine cat food would taste like. One diner thought it tasted like spam.
Blue fin nigiri, white tuna toro sashimi. 
The blue fin was a generous cut and was a good texture, but the flavor was mild. It was good but not "OMG that was amazing blue fin tuna" good.

I did not like the white tuna toro, it was very very fishy and reminded me more of salmon in flavor than tuna.
SHIITAKE Roll: Cooked Japanese mushroom. HOT TAIL Roll - Marinated yellowtail in spicy sauce, shiso, and cucumber.  UMESHISO Roll - Sour plum, shiso, and cucumber.  POKEMON Roll - Salmon, mango, avocado, and green leaf lettuce, wrapped with soy paper.
The Hot Tail roll was interesting in that it was a spicy roll that didn't use mayo. I also appreciated the freshness from the shiso and the cucumber, and it had a nice spice to it, but you didn't really taste the yellowtail at all.

The Pokemon roll was good. I didn't notice the lettuce in it. I liked the change of pace of having the soy paper rather than nori. The salmon and mango were both good quality and flavorful. On par with the salmon mango roll at Sushi Zone.

I did not try the veggie rolls.
Uni nigiri, wild sockeye salmon nigiri, scallop sashimi.
The uni was good, creamy, but like the tuna, the flavor wasn't quite as intense as a really good version of this should be.

The sockeye was served with skin on, which was different. It also seemed like it was smoked, not raw? We couldn't really figure that out. The texture seemed somewhere in between raw and smoked and there was a subtle smokiness to it. I liked the flavor.

I didn't try the scallop.
JUMPING VEGGIE Roll - Assorted vegetables rolled and deep fried.
Spring roll, meet sushi.

Deep fried roll filled with cucumber, avocado, and some other green stuff.

The roll wasn't that good, the fried layer was really oily and not nice. The dipping sauce was sweet and delicious though, very similar to spring roll dipping sauce. I liked that part :)
SEXY Roll - Crab and avocado with salmon and cheese on top (baked) .
 Uh yeah.

This actually was a lot better than we expected. The inside was crab and avocado, pretty standard. On top was cooked white salmon which I really enjoyed, it had a nice firmness to it and was flavorful. And then on top of that was ... cheese. It sorta seemed like American cheese.

I didn't think the salmon and cheese went together at all, but the crab and cheese did and the rice and cheese did. There were lots of bites left behind that were just cheesy rice, which I really liked, even though it really was just rice with crappy american cheese, it reminded me of dishes I used to make as a kid, super comfort food! And crab and cheese really went together better than I expected, I guess people do make crab melts?

Anyway, deconstructed this was actually pretty good (eating the salmon separately).
Grilled shisito peppers.
Standard grilled shisito peppers. Out of the 10, 3 or more of them were spicy!

Would have been better with some salt, or marinade, or something though, kinda boring on their own.
Tempura ice cream, chocolate sauce, nuts, toffee, whipped cream, cherry. 
The ice cream inside was just plain vanilla ice cream, not very good, not very creamy. The tempura layer was kinda soggy and was very hard to break apart with a spoon. The whipped cream seemed like it just came from a can.

That all said ... the peanuts and toffee bits and chocolate sauce were yummy. It was likely low quality stuff (Hershey chocolate sauce and a crumbled up heath bar?), but those were tasty bites!
Tamago nigiri.
Not very good. Lightly sweetened, but way too fried.
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