Everyone needs a nearby sushi joint. It should be casual and welcoming, but most importantly, it should serve fresh, high-quality product. Consistency is key and neighborhood sushi should be a meal you trust. There shouldn’t be any doubt or concern regarding the fish-related goods delivered to your table/bar.
For me, this place has been Nakato. Located on Cheshire Bridge Road, which is relatively convenient to my Kirkwood household. I’ve been visiting Nakato pretty regularly over the past few months for a few reasons.
1. I can’t afford MF on a regular basis. (but I recommend hitting up the lunch special during the week)
2. Sushi House Hayakawa is FAR (and I had a not amazing meal there – going back on Wednesday to give the same dish another shot).
3. Nakato participates in Restaurant.com so I get lots o’ coupons.
4. You can’t always eat like this or this.
Anyway, on my last visit to Nakato there were some wins and a few losses. The major win was an August special dish that continued into September. It’s called ‘Blue Shrimp Tartar”. Take a look.
Starting at the bottom with a layer of chopped avocado, followed by chopped blue shrimp, topped with seaweed shards, ikura (salmon roe), and egg yolk sauce. The tartar is also accompanied by a lightly fried shrimp head and a non-fried shrimp tail.
The individual elements all tasted very good, but due to the plating, it was difficult to get a bite with all of the elements combined.
I also had some rice-less hand rolls. From left to right:
Ika with Ikura (squid with salmon roe), salmon with avocado, spicy scallop
These were good, but the construction was a bit shoddy. I prefer the sushi chef that works on the left side, so if you’re eating at the sushi bar, sit by him. (These were made by the dude on the right).
While everything I ate was better than decent, my dining companions did not have as much luck. Let’s start with the better and move onto the worst.
My friend Meredith’s plate:
Starting at the bottom with chopped scallop mixed with spicy mayo and masago (small fish eggs) over sushi rice and wrapped with seaweed. She said it was good.
The salmon and yellowtail nigiri were decent, but you can tell from looking at the tuna it was not the greatest cut of meat. It was stringy and broke apart in unappetizing pieces when trying to consume. In fact, the tuna was our main complaint for the meal, as you can see in the Rainbow Rolls below:
A Rainbow Roll is supposed to be a beautiful thing (hence the name), but the veins kinda ruin the aesthetic of the whole shebang. This was a half-fail roll.
2 spicy tuna rolls were also ordered, and this is where the tuna issue became an inedible issue. We all know that ‘spicy’ rolls are most likely made from the scraps of meat, so being that the tuna was already at an all-time low, the spicy tuna rolls were not enjoyable. There may or may not have been a bone discovered in one, and they were not all consumed (which is against my religion when eating sushi).
Honestly, after the tuna debacle of September 2009 I will still give Nakato the benefit of the doubt and return. (Plus, I still have some more coupons to use). I may take a break from eating the tuna and check out the fish before ordering, but it’s done me right more times than not. Maybe it was an off night? Maybe they were mad at me for always coming in with a coupon? Maybe they didn’t appreciate my lame attempt to try to order in Japanese? Either way, I will not be writing off my neighborhood sushi joint quite yet.