new Things I Ate in Cambodia

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Arigato Sushi.

Arigato Sushi is a new restaurant so I can't find much more information on it other than its location.

Arigato is a nice classy place in a small shopping mall, that sadly, doesn't seem to get a ton of business. The interior's very nicely done. There's a lot of dark wood accents, a few funky lights, and a modern and romantic atmosphere that I'm fond of. It's not the white walls and plastic food restaurant you'd be afraid to take a date to. There's a large TV screen in the sushi bar, but the sound is (mercifully ) turned off. If you're into sports, I don't have to tell you where you'll want to sit.

But of course all that is window dressing. As for the food.

There's a gigantic wealth of rolls, as befits a California sushi restaurant, and they're in that big and sauce covered genre I like. Every multiple item roll here requires two or more bites, as seems to be the deal with California sushi joints. It's a trend I like. Your mileage may vary - it definitely doesn't make for attractive eating and gnawing is often required. But hey, that's part of the appeal.

In this most recent trip, I had the Super Crunch spicy tuna roll and the Volcanic Scallop roll, with a Spider roll for chasers.

The Super Crunch was unusual, but I found it damn tasty. It's a very large roll with avocado and intense spicy tuna in the center, with fried tempura batter flakes on top and unagi sauce drizzled over the whole shebang. (I just know that sounds dirty dirty dirty.) The batter flakes are incredibly profuse and although I personally enjoyed them, they might not be as appreciated if you object to scraping stuff off your food. I ended up battling my dad with the chopsticks for superiority as to who would get to lick up the fried stuff. But we're also wanton about our heart health.

The Volcanic scallop roll was excellent. It's a crab-based roll with avacado, raw scallop and a hefty dollop of mayo and spicy sauce on top. It's baked in a small oven just long enough to get the mayonnaise bubbly, than served up in the usual fashion. Personally, I think it's a great combination. I love mayonnaise and there was enough of it to give me that nirvana I seek without making me think "I am eating mayo squirted from a tube onto my plate." If you get this roll , eat it first - somewhat chilly baked mayonaiise is not a pleasant experience. This is not for you if mayo bothers you in any way, shape or form.

The Spider was one of the better I've had lately for sheer force of freshness. The crab we got on our visit was just out of the deep-frier and it burst in my mouth when I bit into it, with that briny rush a good soft shell is supposed to give. It's the standard issue Spider in other respects - crab, avacado, cucumber - but the really good soft shell made it worthwhile. There's big pieces left on the end of the rolls with crab legs sticking out of them, which are excellent for hands-free eating. The batter on the crab wasn't as crunchy as I usually like but the wonderful texture and taste made up for it all.

The restaurant also does beautifully presented sashimi (fresh too) and a variety of other items. I've been there a few times but without the intention of writing about it, so I don't exactly retain what I ate on those visits. They've got what looks like a nice version of "crunchy udon." I'm obviously going to have to check it out. Make sure it isn't poisonous.

The service is very nice and very prompt, although the near-empty state of the restaurant most times I've been there has to play a part. Be prepared for big smiles and incredibly swift food preparation times.

Boiled down, Arigato Sushi is a solid and tasty sushi restaurant that'd make a good date place in a pinch. The design of the place is of particular note..they got the right person to do it. It's definitely worth a visit if you're in the area and looking for something good. And as an extra bonus, there's a nice Utrecht art supplies store next door, if those are the toys you like best.

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