Monday, August 10, 2009

Sumo in Wichita on a steady decline

Phil, Nicki, and I went to Sumo on Wednesday May 13, 2009. Back when this place was a hole-in-the-wall establishment on N. Rock Rd, it was remarkably world class. Some of the best sushi in the country, authentic atmosphere, and timely service. After moving to their bigger place on 13th St a few years ago and becoming more commercial, the experience and food has been on a steady decline.

This is approximately the 7th time that the three of us have collectively eaten there. We did get immediate seating in the sushi area (which is not always the case even with reservations), but it was a Wednesday night. However, we were the only ones in that area and yet the service was ssssllloooowwww. The hamachi they brought we sent back (it was either really bad hamachi or another fish altogether). No uni (again). Everything else was average. At least they had Rogue Soba Ale.

This was yet another significant hit to a place that held a #1 ranking at one point on our list and has long been listed in the top 5. Are we giving up on Sumo? No. But expectations are very low now.

Sushiko - Chevy Chase, MD

Jay and I went out to Sushiko for a trial last week - we had heard some good things about this place and wanted to corroborate. The first stike was the price - most nigiri were between $6-8! The second strike was the lack of big bottles of Kirin Ichiban, so I had to have the small sizes.

The atmosphere of the restaurant wasn't too bad, it had a relatively nice place to eat outside with some foot traffic to keep us busy. The inside was swanky like an upscale restaurant, but the sushi bar was prominently located right at the end of the entrance hallway. I did notice that there was a novice chef learning the trade, so it is possible that some of my fish was prepared that way. I was told that they don't always serve the uni, but tonight it was fresh.

All in all, the sushi wasn't too bad, just a heavy hand on the wasabi at times, especially on the sake and maguro. The uni had good flavor, texture, and appearance, but the portion was small (as were the rest).

Ratings (out of 5 for taste, texture, and appearance)

Uni 4.3
Hamachi 4
Maguro 3.7
Sake 3.7
Escolar 3.7

Overall taste: 4
Overall appearance: 3.9
Overall texture: 4
Restaurant: 4
Service: 4

Total: 19.9/30 (Average)

Sushi Taro, Washington, DC - Gone Corporate

We were so looking forward to going to Sushi Taro near Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. Phil had been there before and said that it was very good sushi. In addition, they were closed down for a few months for remodeling, so we were looking forward to something special. Walking in, the atmosphere is upscale and nice, but not traditional sushi bar style - more like a trendy, swanky downtown restaurant. Nevertheless, the Kirin was good and cold!

They did have some traditional Japanese items like a warm, wet cloth to clean up prior to eating, but that is where it stopped. They prepared all of the sushi in the closed kitchen which means you couldn't see it or talk to the chef. In addition, they didn't even have sake, I mean what kind of sushi bar doesn't have sake! I don't have the complete recollection of the sushi (not a good thing obviously), so there isn't an overall score.

Overall, this restaurant lost it's Sushi atmosphere, the sushi was overpriced and not that good. Aside from the Hamachi and the Kirin, it just isn't worth it to go anymore. This place has fallen into the average category quickly.

Sushi Taro on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Current Scores

29.5 Three Sons, Nagoya Japan (2008)
29.5 Sumo, Wichita KS (2007)
29.25 Iwasa Sushi, Tokyo Japan (Fishmarket) (2008)
28.6 Sushiko Bossier City LA (2009)
28.5 Shibuya
Las Vegas NV (2009)
28.5 Amura,
Orlando FL (2007)
27.5 Sushi Yama, Baton Rouge LA (2009)
27.3 Kinatro, Tsukuba Japan (2008)
27.2 Muzi, St. Louis MO (2008)
26.5 Yatsuda, Nagoya Japan (2008)
26 Ginza Restaurant, Chicago IL (2007)
25.5 Tono Sushi, Washington DC (2009)
25.4 Fish Market,
Hiroshima Japan (2008)
25.1 Tennou, Gretna LA (2009)
23 Wasabi Nashville TN (Opryland) (2008)
22.7 Kyoto 2, Harahan LA (2009)
22 Hello Sushi, Baton Rouge LA (2009)
21.5 JPop, Las Vegas (Mandalay) (2009)
21.4 Smile Sushi, San Jose CA (2008)
21 Sushi Zushi San Antonio TX (2008)
20.8 TEN Asian Bistro, Newport Beach CA(2007)
20.25 Jaes, Boston MA (2007) {NOW CLOSED}
19.9 Sushiko, Chevy Chase MD (2009)
19.9 Hana Zen
San Franscisco CA (2006)
19 Nobu Las Vegas NV (2006)
18.9 Wasabi, St Louis MO (2008)
18 Famous Sushi Prairieville LA (2009)
17.6 Kimono's
Orlando FL (Dolphin Hotel) (2007)
16 My Sushi Frankfurt Germany (2009)
Niwano Hana, Rockville MD (2007)
15.2 Sushi Den, Kyoto Japan (2008)

Sushi Yama, Baton Rouge LA

Andre & I recently tried out Sushi Yama in Baton Rouge. I had heard it was great from a few people. But when the sushi chef at Kamados (formerly one of our top 10s) told me his former boss had opened Sushi Yama, I had to go. Overall, it was really good. It has taken over Kamados in Baton Rouge...for obvious reasons. The Uni & Unagi were absolutely fantastic. We also enjoyed the Monroe Roll and a chef's special roll (upon request) containing Spicy Tuna and Whitefish. the only real disappointment was the size of the nigiri, which led to low appearance scores. The portions were rather small, but made up for it with outstanding texture overall (4.9/5)

Our average scores on taste, texture & appearance (out of 5)

Escolar 4.2
Hamachi 4.8
Sake 4.7
Maguro 4.5
White Tuna 4.5
Uni 5
Unagi 5

Overall Taste: 4.7
Overall Texture: 4.9
Overall Appearance: 4.4
Presentation 4.5
Restaurant 4.5
Service 4.5

TOTAL 27.5/30 (Excellent)

Sushi Yama Japanese on Urbanspoon

Kamados, Baton Rouge LA

Mike Rogers & I visited Kamados on Sherwood Forest for happy hour on a Tuesday in June. The sushi was average at best. Given that it was a Tuesday, that might be acceptable. The fresh shipment wasn't due until later that evening. Didn't help our experience Uni, and the Maguro wasn't that great. Needless to say, Kamados has gone down on our list....replaced by Sushi Yama! The former chef from Kamados opened Sushi Yama, and you can definitely tell the difference at Kamado's now.

Kanno Sushi, Metairie LA

An update on Kanno. Remember how Andre & I first ate there about 6 months ago with tremendous rave... and we vowed to come back to rate it. We returned in February, only to see a sign on the door, "Closed for a Month". OK. So we came back in 2 months to another sign "Closed for a week". What the hell? I'm pretty sure that Andre & I will not go back there again...but you never know! That was the best we'd had in New Orleans.

Saki Cafe, Harahan LA

Andre & I went to Sake Cafe a few weeks ago just to get a few tastes of sushi after an afternoon of working...Our previous experience there was quite a let-down. Very average at best....but since we didn't want a full meal, we couldn't score it. Not surprisingly, the sushi was again average. No Uni (even on a Saturday!) and the maguro and hamachi were both average. Maybe one day when we're desperate enough, we'll actually spend the money to rate it!

Nagoya Seafood Buffet, Baton Rouge LA

Mike Rogers & I decided to try a seafood buffet in Baton Rouge that included Sushi. Since we both have voted the best sushi in the world to be from Nagoya Japan (3 Sons), we had to try it. Since there's no real 'sushi bar', we can't really rate it. The sushi is simply placed out on a tray to be devoured. Surprisingly, the sushi wasn't that bad! For $15 all you can eat, that included other dishes, we thought is wasn't a bad deal. We still strongly recommend staying away from buffets, but we're glad we tried it.
Nagoya on Urbanspoon

Blog Update

It's been a while since we posted anything...obviously everyone has been quite busy this summer. But I also wanted to change the way I have been posting restaurant scores and reviews. The previous posts required HTML tables to be built, which is time consuming. Now, we will just post the averaged scores. And, we will change the "overall experience" score to "Service" score. We will also have some brief posts about restaurant experiences without full scoring. Happy eating!