Plano, TX — Japan House

Categories: Texas
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Published on: November 3, 2012
Japan House
300 W Plano Parkway
Plano, TX
972-633-8000
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I was in Dallas for a week and some colleagues suggested that we go out for sushi.Sounded good to me and they suggested Japan House. Japan House is one of those Japanese Mega-Buffets with a little bit of everything on the menu. I have to admit that I was a little bit leery. My experience with these restaurants ranges from Ichi Umi which I enjoy to Todai which I swore to never set foot in again.

I enjoyed everything about Japan House — except the sushi. There were a number of excellent cooked fish, beef and pork dishes. I also enjoyed the salad selection and noodle dishes.

(By the way, Japan House commits a grievous sin on their website, they play audio without asking for the reader’s permission.)

When I am in the Plano area, I will be back to Japan House. I can recommend the restaurant but not the sushi.

Japan House 3 rice bowls * * * - -

Annapolis, MD — Joss Cafe & Sushi

Categories: Maryland
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Published on: September 20, 2012
Joss Cafe & Sushi
195 Main St
Annapolis, MD
410.263.4688
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I am in Columbia, Maryland this week and as usual, I got several sushi recommendations from colleagues. I decided to try Joss Cafe & Sushi in Annapolis. I haven’t been to Annapolis in a while so a walk in the old city sounded like a good way to spend an evening. It was a difficult choice because the excellent Sushi Sono is just a few miles from my hotel.

So, I waited until the traffic died down and made the drive to Annapolis. It was a beautiful evening and when I got downtown I even found a parking space near Joss Cafe. The restaurant has just undergone an expansion, and good thing because it was definitely crowded. Joss Cafe has a very large sushi bar and a number of bar style window seats that look out on to Main Street.

While I wasn’t offered any specials, the menu had perhaps the widest selection of nigiri and sashimi items that I have ever seen. I decided to start with a rockfish soup with cellophane noodles. The soup was very good with a couple of large chunks of rockfish. The fish was tasty and added flavor to the broth. I would have like to see more of the cellophane noodles but they are one of my favorites.

As an entree, I decided to order the sashimi combination. The combo is chef’s choice so I had no idea what I was getting beforehand. The fish was perfect, tuna, white tuna, salmon, snapper and one other that i have forgotten. Each piece was firm and tasty without being the east bit fishy. White tuna is one of my favorites and the pieces in my combo melted in my mouth. Nothing fancy this time, just great quality fish.

Joss Cafe has a large number of desserts and I took the waiter’s recommendation and ordered tempura sweet potatoes with ice cream and honey. The dessert not only looked good, it tasted even better. It’s a good thing that I chose to take a walk before driving back to my hotel. The only negative thing I would say is that the place was loud. Some curtains or wall coverings might help to dampen the noise.

Joss Cafe & Sushi has everything I look for in a sushi restaurant.

Joss Cafe & Sushi 5 rice bowls * * * * *

Ardmore, OK — Edamame an American Sushi Bar

Categories: Oklahoma
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Published on: July 12, 2012
Edamame an American Sushi Bar
200 W Main St
Ardmore, OK
580.223.2333
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Next time you are playing word association games, try these, when you friend says, "Oklahoma", you say "SUSHI!" The two just don't go together. But, in my quest to review a sushi restaurant in all fifty states, I had to make a pilgrimage to Oklahoma for sushi. I was in the Dallas area on business and I decided to find the closest sushi restaurant in Oklahoma. A google search led me to Edamame in Ardmore.

Edamame, is located on Ardmore's old Main Street in a corner storefront. It is a small restaurant with a sushi bar and a few sturdy looking tables. While one of the waitresses was Asian, the sushi chef was definitely not. As I sat down, my waitress brought a small plate of edamame (cooked soybeans in the pod), the restaurant's namesake. I was a little bit surprised beacuse nearly every other time that I have had edamame, it was served hot.

The menu at Edamame was interesting, there was a modest selection of nigiri and sashimi. No real standouts, but there was a whole page of sushi rolls on the back. The rolls were definitely not authentic but some of them looked interesting. Unfortunately, I do not like spicy sushi and most of the roll selections were spicy. I also noticed several rolls had fried wonton in them for texture.

I decided to try their panko crusted calamari as an appetizer and a seaweed salad. The calamari was made up of large strips, perhaps 4" long, presented with two sauces. The panko breading along with the sauces and the calamari was absolutely perfect! I was tempted to have a couple more orders and call it a meal, it was that good. The seaweed salad was also quite good and the sauce/dressing was different than what I usually see on seaweed. With the salad and appetizer, Edamame was off to a good start.

For a main course, I ordered a sashimi sampler and a Philadelphia roll. The sashimi sampler was only about $10 so I was not surprised that it was a small portion, it consisted of salmon and tuna, rolled into roses and some yellowtail. The yellow tail was very food as was th salmon, the tuna was good, but not as tasty as I had hoped. My Philadelphia roll had a surprise, it was made with asperagus! I liked the crunchy texture. I ended by ordering a tuna roll with cucumber and avocado.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience at Edamame. Everything was good and the calamari was outstanding. I felt that the selection of fish was limited, and there were no specials posted, otherwise Edamame would have been a contender for a five ricebowl rating. (On a side note, I was just looking at Edamame's web site and I saw a picture of a pretty good looking dessert. I wish my waitress had offered me a dessert menu, I would have tried one.)

Edamame was surprisingly good.

Edamama 4 rice bowls * * * * -

Columbia, MD — Sushi Sono

Categories: Maryland
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Published on: June 27, 2012
Sushi Sono
10215 Wincopin Circle
Columbia, MD
410.997.6131
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This week I am enjoying a heatwave in Columbia, Maryland.Two of my colleagues reccomended Sushi Sono, they both said it was expensive but worth it. Sushi Sono is located near an upscale mall on Lake Kittamaqundi. The lake is real a small pond with paddle boats for rent a number of restaurants. Sushi Sono looks out onto the lake and the evening I was there a band was playing down by the water. The are was a nice location for an after dinner stroll.

Sushi Sono is a modern restaurant with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the lake. When I walked in I was pleased to see a pretty good list of specials on a whiteboard by the sushi bar. I was excited to see that my favorite sushi item was on the specials board — Aji. Aji is horse mackeral, one of three kinds of mackeral typically served in sushi restaurants.

Unlike the normal Saba, Aji is not served marinated in vinegar. It is served fresh. The preparation is called Aji Tataki. The restaurant serves the whole fish. The fish is first filleted and the fillets are served as both sashimi and sushi the bones and head are used to garnish the plate. After eating the sushi and sashimi, the sushi chef will take the bones and head and serve them broiled in a miso glaz or deep fried. I always choose fried The bones are fried until they are crispy like a potato chip. You then eat the bones, which still have alittle meat on them, along with some sea salt for dipping.The Aji was perfect and that alone would give this restaurant 5 ricebowls.

I also had a seaweed salad and a Philadelphia Roll. I think they were good, but I was so focused on the Aji that I can't really remember anything else.

Sushi Sono was perfect, I will be back.

Sushi Sono 5 rice bowls * * * * *

Deerfield, IL — Wakaba

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Published on: June 19, 2012
Wakaba
20506 Milwaukee Ave
Deerfield, IL
847.541.7777
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Wakaba located in a little strip mall just down the road from a major Chicago area client. I asked my colleagues about sand several of them mentioned Wakaba. Wakaba is a modern looking restaurant with dark wood decor. When I arived at lunch time, there was not too much of a crowd but there appeared to be several Japanese diners.

The menu at Wakaba looked relatively ordinary, so I ordered the gyoza and a sashimi combination. The meal came with miso soup and a salad with ginger dressing. The gyoza, miso and salad were good, but the sashimi was the star of the show. The white tuna melted in my mouth, it was cold and tasty, I would go back for that alone. The mackeral was also first rate.

As an aside, after I paid my bill I left my iPad at the table and as I was driving off, the waitress ran out to my car to give it to me. Excellent food excellent service.

Wakaba will be a regular lunch stop when I am in the area.

Wakaba 4 rice bowls * * * * -

Boston, MA — Douzo Modern Japanese Restaurant

Categories: Massachusetts
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Published on: May 20, 2012
Douzo Modern Japanese Restaurant
131 Dartmouth St
Boston, MA
617.859.8886
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Boston, I have always enjoyed Boston. I came in to town on a beautiful warm Saturday evening for a conference on Sunday. After giving 6 hours of presentations and taking a long nap, I was ready for some sushi. While I have been here many times, this is the first trip that I have spent any time in the Back Bay. This area by Copley Square and the convention center is close to the Charles river and full of both chain and independent restaurants. Last night I had Clam Chowder and a wonderful Lobster fra Diavolo on the patio of a Boylston St fish house, but tonight I was off in search of sushi.

I searched and found Douzo Modern Japanese restaurant. Based on Internet ratings it was one of the highest rated sushi places in the Back Bay and it has just one block from my hotel. Douzo is a very modern (it's in their name) sushi restaurant in an upscale neighborhood. The decor is clean and modern. I was afraid it might be one of those trendy places with techno music and an attitude, fortunately it was not

The menu was pretty intriguing lots of choices but tonight I kept it simple. Seaweed salad and sashimi dinner. The seaweed was served over sliced cucumber — my favorite. The sashimi was excellent, one of the nicest presentations I have seen. The fish was top quality. The white tuna had some kind of roe on top of it. I normally don't like roe but this was perfect. Whte tuna should melt on your tongue and this did, white tuna is one of my favorites. The tuna, snapper and yellowtail were equally good.

This is the first time that I have had Tamago included in any sushi or sashimi combo. Tamago is a sweet japanese omelet made of thin folded layers of egg. My Japanese friends tell me that thy eat tamago almost like a dessert. The Tamago was the perfect ending to the meal. Everything about Douzo was perfect.

Douzo Modern Japanese Restaurant is one of my new favorites..

Douzo Modern Japanese Restaurant 5 rice bowls * * * * *

Tampa, FL — Soho Sushi South

Categories: Florida
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Published on: May 4, 2012
Soho Sushi South
3218 West Kennedy Blvd
Tampa, FL
813.873.7646
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I spent a long week in Tamp, Florida. I was working at a client site and had other projects that kept me busy well into the evening. I had asked my colleagues for some rccomendations and Thursday night I decided to try one. I got to Soho Sushi at about 8pm and was surprised to see the parking lot full. I had to park about half a block away on the street. When I got in the door there was a wait but since I was alone, I was able to be seated at a small table in the bar.

Soho was packed that night. The croud was relatively young, in fact I might have been the oldest guy in the place. As I read the menu, I saw an appetizer that I just had to try. It was called Dynamite Scallops, it consisted of scallops and mushroom served hot in a sauce with Japanese mayonaise and flying fish roe. I normally don't like roe, but this dish was absolutely perfect. The scallops wer not overdone and the mushrooms and sauce were a great compliment. Absolutely wonderful.

For my entree I ordered the sashimi dinner. It came with Miso soup, a ginger salad and the chef's choice sashimi.I can generally tell the quality of a sushi place by the quality of the mackeral. In the case of Soho, the mackeral passed with flying colors. Fresh and tasty with out too much marinade. All of the fish was excellent quality. Now that I am back on the road I expect to be writing these reviews on a regular basis.

Soho Sushi was exactly what I needed after a long week.

Soho Sushi 5 rice bowls * * * * *

Shreeveport, LA — Sake Sushi

Categories: Louisiana
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Published on: June 25, 2011
Sake Sushi Sushi
7511 Youree Dr
Shreeveport, LA
518.795.8084
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I am a pilgrim (a SushiPilgrim) on a quest. A quest to review a sushi restaurant in all 50 states. Sometimes  pilgrims on a quest do strange things. This week I drove about 7 hours (3.5 each way) to have sushi in Louisiana. I was in the Metroplex (Dallas) and I had some free time so I drove to Shreeveport, Louisiana to Sake Sushi. Louisiana is the 43rd state in which I have reviewed a sushi restaurant.

Sake Sushi is a very modern restaurant with a large number of tables and an L-shaped sushi bar. I especially like sushi restaurants with a large number of specials and Sake did not dissapoint. I had an appetizer of thinly sliced duck wrapped around a mango slice. The appetizer was good as was the seafood and mushroom soup.

I ordered a Philadelphia roll and a Yellowtail scallion roll from the specials menu. Both rolls were good, not special, but the fish was tasty and fresh. For dessert I had a fried bannana. The bannana was a nice way to top of a good meal.

Sake Sushi is worth a visit if you are in Shreeveport.

Sake Sushi 3 rice bowls * * * - -

San Mateo, CA — Joy Sushi

Categories: California
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Published on: June 25, 2011
Joy Sushi
30 S B St
San Mateo, CA
650.340.8974
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I was in the Bay Area with some colleagues. Neither of them were sushi fanatics but since I had the rental car — we had sushi. After looking for some online reviews we settled on Joy Sushi in San Mateo. When we got to Joy we were seated at a spacious in their upstairs seating area.

The complimentary Miso and salad were a pleasant surprise. We ordered a variety of rolls to share. When our food arived I was concerned because the portions were huge! To my surprise, at the end of the night we had eaten every bite. The menu contained an innovative selection of rolls. The quality of the fish was good and the meal was an excellent value.

Joy Sushi is definitely one of my mid-peninsula favorites.

Joy Sushi 4 rice bowls * * * * -

Edison, NJ — Ichi Umi

Categories: New Jersey
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Published on: April 2, 2010
Ichi Umi
352 Menlo Park Dr
Edison, NJ
732.906.2370
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Sushi and Buffet are 2 words that rarely go together. However, this week in New Jersey, I took the recommendation of some colleagues and had dinner at Ichi Umi. Ichi Umi is a large Japanese buffet restaurant. The atmosphere is upscale and the decor is modern and clean.

When I arrived at Ichi Umi, it was late in the evening but the selection on the buffet was good. I started with some sushi and sashimi along with raw oysters. The fish I had ranged in quality from good to very good. I especially liked the yellow tail nigiri.The oysters were also good, a nice touch.

When I went back to the buffet, I tried a variety of cooked food. I think this is the first time that I have ever had jellyfish, it reminded me of eating sea cucumber — very tasty. They also had a variety of seaweeds and cooked fish and shrimp choices.

Ichi Umi suprised me — next time I am in the neighborhood, I will be back.

Ichi Umi 3 rice bowls * * * - -
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