It’s important when comparing restaurants offering similar cuisines that you select a barometer dish. For example, my barometer dish for Chinese restaurants is Mongolian Chicken. My brother uses pepperoni as his barometer pizza. For sushi, I use the Vegas Roll and tuna nigiri. Cal and I tried both at Fusion Wasabi last week.
Sushi Cho June 12, 2008
Cal, Henry and I went to Sushi Cho in the hopes of gorging ourselves. Is there a better food on which to gorge oneself? Well, probably, but still, eating too much sushi is fast becoming one of my favorite culinary hobbies.
The service at Sushi Cho was almost as good as the sushi. There were a plethora of servers swarming around us as we sat at the bar. All of them were attentive and friendly. Even our sushi chef, who had a funny haircut, was nice. The laid back atmosphere of Sushi Cho was contrasted by our amazingly fast service.
We’d barely sat down before we were handed small bowls of miso and edamame. We took a little extra time pouring over their fairly extensive menu. Henry and Cal both opted for the Mayor Bob Walkup Roll (I shit you not) so named because Mayor Bob Walkup frequents Sushi Cho (again shitting you not) and prefers his philly roll with spicy tuna instead of salmon. It was a nice switcheroo, and whether you like him or not, you have to admit he has at least one good idea about sushi. They also both got tuna nigiri which, if the reports are to be believed, was fresh and rich. Cal also went way out on a limb and ordered the gila monster roll. It’s widely known that the gila monster is the world’s only poisonous lizard (according to my nephew the komodo dragon isn’t poisonous, it just has bacteria in its saliva). In concordance, the gila monster roll may be the only poisonous sushi roll. Don’t take “poisonous” the wrong way, I just mean that when I ate some of it, I thought it was going to sear a burning hole in my stomach. It’s a completely fried roll with cooked tuna, cream cheese and probably something else. So yeah, we all regretted eating it. I ordered the mackerel nigiri. It was creamy, not the least bit fishy and also one of the best things I’ve eaten in some time. I also got the avocado, cream cheese and shrimp roll which is doesn’t defy its name. I also got a 911 roll. Nowadays when I see the numbers “911” I think 9/11 instead of 9-1-1. It was a cucumber and mixed fish roll with chili flakes dotting the rice. I suppose the 9-1-1 was supposed to indicate some sort of “heat” but didn’t really deliver. At least it wasn’t as big a disaster as 9/11 (too soon).
I’m going to give Sushi Cho 8 Bob Walkups.
I’m not sushi.
Sushi Hama March 27, 2008
Sushi Hama has two locations, one on Tanque Verde and one at Oracle and Roger. Cal and I visited the Oracle location for their all you can eat sushi, which is available all day any day. The restaurant is seated next to a Big Lots and what appears to be the future home of a Lucky Wishbone making it a member of the worst strip mall in Tucson. Nothing says class like Big Lots.
Inside the place was clean and nondescript, the kind of décor that says, “I guess I’ll eat here.” The hostess told us to sit anywhere, so we sat at the bar. Natch. We ordered a couple of large Sapporos and perused the all you can eat menu. We debated the contrasts in the terms all you can eat and all you care to eat, the latter of which I had begun noticing lately. I posited that the phrase all you care to eat seemed haughtier as if you weren’t merely in a restaurant in order to eat enough food to render the price of entry a laughable sum. Whereas all you can eat sounds like a challenge to be undertaken only if you are sure of yourself.
The waitress brought some miso soup and edamame, it was the last we would see of her. The miso was tasty and strong. It tasted less like dirty socks than the miso at another sushi restaurant that I won’t mention (Sushi Cho). I ordered three rolls, a spicy tuna roll with crunch, a Vegas roll, and a gyoza roll. Cal had a rainbow roll, a Vegas roll, a pancho roll, a tuna nigiri and a shrimp boat which Cal had to talk our chef into making as it was not on the all you can eat menu. The spicy tuna roll with crunch was fabulous. The contrast of textures was everything I ever looked for in a bite of food. The Vegas roll was tasty if a bit sloppy, but the gyoza roll was a miss. It was too doughy and bland. Cal declared the rainbow roll the best roll he’d ever eaten. Tough talk, I know but Cal stood by it.
Half way through our meal a dumb looking couple sat down next to me at the bar. Cal elbowed me indicating he knew the girl and could tell me a story. If it was funny as the story he told about the girl we ran into at The Trident Bar and Grill who tried to touch her elbows behind her back for twenty minutes before giving up then I knew I was in for a treat. Was I ever, let’s just say the story featured anal sex, middle school voyeurs and a dingy playground. I won’t spill any of the juicy details, you’ll have to ask Cal.
Our sushi totaled out at around sixty dollars so we sufficiently outpaced the twenty dollar menu price for the all you can eat. With beers we came out about even plus I laid a ten spot on the dopey sushi chef who looked like cartoon character. Sort of an extra sad Huckleberry Hound flinging around a super sharp knife.
Overall I give Sushi Hama 7 little piles of wasabi.
This gal just loves sushi. Just plain loves it.
Here’s what the people on the internet say:
“If you like some rude banter from your waitress, go here.” Rachel I.
“It’s always a kick to hear an Asian remix of the “Happy Birthday” song.” JC
“The Eastside location which is a lot closer to me is inferior but good.” Leo B.
“Love that eel!” Margaret L.