After over a dozen times dining at Dojo, and second time dining with chef Xiao, I have my conclusion on what the “better deal” is!
Sushi Dojo offers two kinds of omakase at the sushi counter:
- 15 Piece Sushi Omakase $90
- 12 Piece Sushi and Sashimi omakase $120
The Sashimi course contains 6 cuts of fish. So if you equate that back to pieces, the first 15 pieces would be $90, averaging to $6/piece. The last 3 piece would cost $30, averaging $10/piece. Ultimately, from a “deal” perspective, the Sushi omakase is definitively a better deal. When presented the menu options, our selection has always been, whatever gives us the most amount of fish. I now know how much of a chump we’ve been this whole time.
One more non-food thought, and we’ll get into the meal. When making our reservation, I specifically requested the two seats at the front of the sushi bar, right by the entry way. If you enjoy conversation with the chef, enjoy watching him at work, these are the only seats to be had. We had to wait an extra 2 weeks to get my desired seats, at my desired time. When we showed up, 5 minutes early to our reservation, we saw there were two other patrons in our seats. I shared this information, and my frustration with the hostess. For us, it was simple. You took our reservation, you miss-sat other patrons in our seats, your problem, you fix it. And if you couldn’t, we need not dine here anymore, today, or otherwise. The hostess requested the other patrons to be reseated. Now, if I had been those patrons, I would have been furious. What would have been the best way to handle this snafu? I have no idea, bottom line, it was a situation that could have easily been avoided.
OK, enough blabber about costs and service… Let’s get down to business – THE MEAL!
Sashimi (top to bottom, left to right):
- KAMPACHI (Amberjack) – Good cut, nice crunch, great start!
- BOTAN EBI – Not “live” BOTAN EBI, but I don’t discriminate too much on that. Still very good.
- Japanese Sea Bass – I asked Chef Xiao if it was a Suzuki, he said no, that it was a Japanese Sea Bass… But that’s what sea basses are? SUZUKI! SEIGO maybe? But that’s getting super regional… Anyway, it was very good.
- King Salmon – Nice and FATTY. YUMMM
- AKAMI ZUKE (Marinated lean Bluefin Tuna) – This was impressive! I’m a huge AKAMI fan. Our last visit here, their AKAMI was not up to par. Today, they won us back and then some! YUM!!!
- Maine UNI and Marinated IKURA (Salmon Roe) and SHISO – In all my years of sushi-ing, there’s only a handful of times where I actually enjoyed a Maine Uni. Today wasn’t one. It wasn’t horrendous, but nothing I would ever order. The IKURA is another a vast improvement from our last visit. Just like last time, great texture and flavor, but this time, no crushed pearls. YUM.
- MADAI (Seabream) – Served with a chopped jalapeño sauce. Not too strong, not too overpower, just right!
- HAMACHI Ceviche (Young yellowtail) – HAMACHI marinated in a sesame oil. Oh goodness. What the heck was this? I took a quarter bite, and forced boyfriend to have the rest. This is ceviche gone wrong! I know Chef tends to put more of a Chinese flare to his sushi-making, but this is a bit off the rails. Chef offered to serve me traditional, edo-mae style. I said let’s hold off, and see.
- HIRAME (Fluke) – Served with fried garlic chips, Szechuan chili oil, and chopped chives. I remember this serving from our last visit. This is one of those that I don’t expect myself to enjoy, but did. The fried garlic chips reminds me of Tomita-san from Cagen. We need to go back…
- Smoked Arctic Char – I feel like I’m in a game of taste buds ping pong. One good, one bad, one good, one bad… NOT a fan of this serving. Not at all. More for the boyfriend…
- AORI IKA (Squid) – ABURIed and topped with YUZU zest. I preferred the YUZU zest over the black sea salt (last visit’s serving). Good, but nothing special.
- AJI (Horse Mackerel) – Served with ground ginger and chopped scallions. Fish was fresh, texture was firm, and flavors were great.
- HOTATE (Scallop) – I’m having buyer’s remorse. I should have taken Chef’s offer, and went with edo-mae. My tiny bit of the end of JUST HOTATE, was super fresh, super yummy. The rest, the parts drowning in the spices was too much, completely stole from the fish.
- CHUTORO (Medium fatty Tuna) – Served with black truffle and topped with gold flakes. I finally wised up. I remembered how funky the truffle was last time, and removed it before consuming. What a smart girl I am! Too bad, the funky truffle already tarnished the fish. Fish itself was great though.
- OTORO (Super fatty Tuna) – Served with Hackleback Caviar. Taste buds ping pong continues. This was DELIGHTFUL. The OTORO was incredibly fatty, with zero veins, zero funky aftertaste. The Hackleback wasn’t the best quality, but plenty good, and still complimented this super fatty cut incredibly well. Good job.
- King Salmon – Topped with MIMOI (the soybean paste used to make soy sauce), and chopped scallions. I am at a loss for words. The salmon was fine. But three salmons in one omakase? Really? The MIMOI was disgusting, and completely fought against the Salmon.
- California UNI – Back to being great. I’m exhausted. The rollercoaster of emotions, going from being so, SO happy, to so, SO frustrated. This was a great serving.
- WAGYU topped with FOIE GRAS – Happy to report that we ended on a high note. Both the WAGYU and the FOIE GRAS were delicious. Tonight was one of the rare, rare times, that we did not request for additional pieces. We just couldn’t anymore tonight.
Still happy to sit with Chef Xiao, to watch, to chat, and to enjoy the high quality fish. But this meal, the constant peaks and valleys of servings, was beyond exhausting. The quality of the fish is no doubt there, but next time, I will definitively ask for EDO-MAE style.