Sunday, February 7, 2010

Zensei Sushi (North Park area)

As we are all tightening our wallet strings, I try to limit the eating out excursions I have--however I find that this can be a lonely experience since dining out is a major form of socialization these days.  That is probably why most of my blogging has focused on homemade items vs. eating out experiences.  Thanks to groupon and my awesome friend, I was able to try out Zensei Sushi in North Park.  She raved about their food so I was only happy to tag along since it was payday and I hadnt gone to eat in a sit down place for a few weeks at least.  It was hard to find but the inside was kinda funky.  Like a diner feel but with a sushi bar and an imposing sushi chef to boot.  They seemed to have lots of specials for lunch and happy hour as well but the groupon couldnt be used for lunch specials or happy hours apparently--this was not on the fine print.  I used the menu to copy off the roll descriptions FYI--here is a link: Zensei Sushi official menu

We had a total of four rolls and one order of edamame.  Edamame was cooked perfectly with either rock or kosher salt on it--that makes a big difference! Not over or undercooked, came out piping to our table.

Roll#1: Crunchy Roll- shrimp tempura, crab, cucumber, crunchies and sweet sauce
It was our first roll brought to the table so we were eager to dig in.  I was quickly disappointed.  Sushi faux pas.  Ice cold sweet sauce! It just doesnt taste right when the shrimp and crunchies are warm and the sauce is so cold.  Maybe its just me.  Maybe its cuz we were the first customers of the day.  Maybe shmaybe. 

Roll#2: Mango Delight: crab, avocado, cucumber inside, baked with a special spicy sauce and topped with mango salsa
This was the one my friend had to have.  It wasnt bad, but I usually like my rolls simple without baked/ crunchy/ fireworks.  I dont think I really like their sushi rice so that kind of ruins things to begin with.  Perfect amount of spice though. 

Roll#3: Mt. Fuji- smoked salmon, avocado, crab wrapped with snapper and topped with bonito flakes and baked with spicy aoli. 
I didnt realize that the little haystacks were the bonito flakes.  I could eat these by the bowl.  The roll itself was alright.  Not worth the sticker price though.  Good spiciness though.  Again with the cold sweet sauce!

Roll 4: White Dream Roll- spicy mix of cucumber, gobo, onions, masago, tuna, yellowtail, and cerab inside with avocado, thin edible lemon zest and seared ahi or pearl white tuna outside
Of the bunch, this one let me down the most.  Part of it was my fault since I obviously didnt read the menu right.  The gobo ruins this roll almost as much as the onion does.  Otherwise this would have been the kind of roll I would have devoured.  White tuna is my fave sashimi at this point in my life so I desperately wanted this to be orgasmic. I think I ate one piece only. 

The service was good and we even talked to someone who looked like the manager or owner (had an air of authority but wasnt doing much).  He was very friendly.  It apparently has been reviewed highly so I dont know if they were just off today or what but I cant rate it more than a B- or C.  I also dont like when restaurants try to pull a fast one on you by putting limits on coupons or gift cards. 

What is your favorite sushi joint people?  I have one that so far no one has been able to match...affordable, big rolls, fresh fish, and good roll creations.  It always get crowded--that is the only drawback. 

xx kiddos

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