We’ve been coming to Dojo for a loooong time. Ratings wise, they’ve gone from VERY GOOD (Chef David Bouhadana days), to “GOOD” (Chef David Bouhadana days when he started to charge us crazy costs), to “ACCEPTABLE” (between Chef Bouhadana and Chef Xiao days, when it was still traditional/EDOMAE style), to “EH” (Chef Xiao days), to downright “GROSS” (Chef Chen days). I BEG YOU, please take a look at the photos of when they were still good… If this wasn’t an omakase, if we weren’t paying 125 for our sushi/sashimi omakase, it might remain as “EH”, but it is, and for that price point, GROSS! And how DARE you, claim yourself to be a “TRADITIONAL SUSHI RESTAURANT”! How dare you! Taken direct from Sushi Dojo site:
Take a look at the photos, tell me what about it, is it traditional. Blasphemy!
Before I get to the meal, the servings, I do need to point out… The service, both wait staff and chef alike, are PLENTY nice, plenty friendly, plenty accommodating. The crowd have changed a bit, from folks that clearly knew fish, to a bunch of yappy early 20s. Goodness gracious I hope I wasn’t that annoying when I was in my early 20s!
Our omakase tonight:
- Black cod – Marinated in a wasabi soy sauce and served atop a bed of seaweed. How does this look to you? Gross? Well, it was! GROSS! I’m all about fatty whites, but this was the wrong kind of fat. This was the kind that left a fatty lining in your mouth, where you tasted that grease all evening, all night, until the next afternoon. No joke, I’m not exaggerating. This was disgusting.
- Baby red snapper – Despite the load of yuzu zest, the fish itself was flat. Not bad… at least it wasn’t fishy or worse, mushy…
- KAMPACHI – Probably the best cut of the plate. It didn’t have a brightness, nor the spectacular crunch, but perfectly “acceptable”. Too bad for me, acceptable translates to the avg score of 3, “eh”.
- TORO – Another cut that is outrageously oily. Not the melt in your mouth fattiness, but outright oil. That combined with the big fat chewy veins… Give me a break! I only had one of the two cuts. Couldn’t bring myself to eat the second.
- SHIROEBI (baby sweet white shrimp) – SHIROEBI is only one of the shrimp family that really doesn’t come with a crunch, like ever. You can tell it’s good when it’s still somewhat dense, very separable, and very sweet. This one was not sweet, somewhat separable, but not really dense. Doesn’t make it to the “good” category, but an above “eh”… Meaning just ok…
- KUMAMOTO Oyster – Kumamoto served with UNI, IKURA and gold flakes. Lots of pizzazz, for sure. Taste wise, chef would have been better off keeping just the Kumamoto, and not adding UNI or IKURA. The IKURA, though tasty, was mushy, and not at all whole/crunchy. UNI was slightly funky. If you’re going to add glitz and glamour, make sure it’s of equal or better quality than the “feature”.
- Blue Fin TORO – Another cut from the Spanish Tuna. MUCH better than the sashimi version, at a minimum, no huge veins, no outrageous chew. Almost “good” but still short…
- Arctic Char – If you’ve been reading my posts, you’ll know I’m not a huge fan of salmons in my omakase. I am amenable to only ONE orange (Salmons/Chars/Trouts/et) serving per omakase. This one, is the exception, not only am I amenable, I WELCOME it. Topped with smoked sea salt, this is the first GOOD serving of the night.
- BOTAN EBI – Second GOOD serving of the night! USUALLY, I take a bite of the fish without the topping, and before consuming the whole, so I can judge the fish alone without the toppings. I missed that step with this serving. It was very good. Too bad, foie gras is such a strong flavor, I have no way to share how good the BOTAN was…
- Hokkaido UNI – I couldn’t tell if this was the same UNI from the Kumamoto, but this one is still no good. Very watery, not at all nutty, zero depth. Given it’s not funky though, I can’t rate as “Bad” or “Gross”, so back to my average rating… “Eh”
- IWASHI (Japanese Sardine) – Third GOOD serving of the night. Perfect amount of fishiness to this cut, great oils, and fantastic distribution of meat versus skin, all that AND a lovely traditional topping of ginger and scallions. Here’s the sad part. 95% of omakase, my rating is in the “Good” category, and I highlight the “Greats”. Tonight, my bar is set at the “Eh” category, and I’m now highlighting the “Goods”. Like I said, SAD!
- HAMACHI-SUNAZURI (Yellowtail belly) – OMG. NOT EDOMAE! So much spice! No way to get around it. Garlic, chili oil, scallion, oh my! Is this fish or chicken?
- CHUTORO – Another cut from the Spanish Tuna. Same deal, MUCH better than the sashimi version, no huge veins, and no outrageous chew. Not a fan of the black garlic, but otherwise, ok… I’m really tired of the just oks! (which I classify as “eh”)
- SHIMA AJI (Striped Jack) – So happy we are going back to EDOMAE. Simple chef’s soy is the KEY! I can now tell you how this fish is. No crunch, but decent density, nice firmness, great flavors and proper oils. Nothing over the top. Solid Good!
- HOTATE (Scallop) – WTF. What is this crap atop of my scallop? I can’t even…
- Tazmanian Sea Trout – Hello SUSHI OF GARI! This is something that Gari is known for, tomato with the salmon. And then SUSHI SEKI followed suit… NEITHER of which am I a fan of. Again, I’m OK with not knowing that the fish is fantastic if this wasn’t an omakase. But in my omakase, no cooked servings, and no overload of toppings such that I can no longer taste the fish. No choice but to give this serving an “Eh”!
- TORO/WAGYU/FOIE GRAS – A few years ago, along with the “affordable omakase” concept, came the flood of monstrous, mile high, million ingredients, sushi serving. Combining 2 types of TORO, a cut of Wagyu, and foie gras is definitely a winner, BUT how many people can actually fit that into one bite? At the end, you attempt, you fail, half the bite is back on the plate, and your face is an absolute mess. Why couldn’t we be more tactful with combining those cuts? A handroll maybe? Oh, and I abhor the black garlic. Just gross! Tasted awful! Can’t imagine that to go with anything!
- UNI/HOTATE/IKURA hand roll – For our final serving, we had an option for the handroll. Girlfriend wanted UNI and IKURA, so I was a good friend and followed suit. Individually, the UNI and the IKURA was not good, the HOTATE, I couldn’t tell because of all the crap on top. Together, and with the nori, it was actually acceptable.