new Things I Ate in Cambodia: Kru: Fancy Sushi in Midtown Sacramento

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Kru: Fancy Sushi in Midtown Sacramento

2516 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 551-1559

Kru is Midtown Sacramento's nouveau sushi restaurant, specializing in preparations and ingredients beyond Mikuni's mayo-drenched norm. The hip and small place attracts an equal contingent of hip people(excluding me) : a quirky wine list and a small-plates centric menu complete Kru's aura of studied difference. So what about the food?

This is the baby calamari salad ($10), a texturally interesting combination of sliced cucumber, green apple,
micro-greens, and creamy miso dressing. The flash-fried little squids were a nicely chewy warm juxtaposition to the crunchy and slightly sweet cucumber and apple, and the miso-sauce was a good tie together. A successful (and attractive) dish.

This is a rather unusual seaweed salad, composed of different varieties of seaweed and served with a spicy wasabi dressing and a little bit of quail egg. If you're one of those people who are into the gelatinous and salty side of Japanese cuisine, you'll like this. (I do).

The always-popular hamachi kama ($11), a charbroiled yellowtail collar, typically served with a dish of ponzu sauce. This is one of the simplest dishes on Kru's playlist and one of my favorites: the fatty and super-flavorful meat, when combined with the grill's char and the snappy citrus sauce, is just delicious. This was a very nice rendition of this classic, and one of the best I've had in the area. Two snaps up. (Another advantage of hamachi kama is that some people will find it icky and refuse to eat it, leaving more for you!)

This is panko crusted salmon sashimi, served with a crab remoulade ($14). I have always been suspicious of fried salmon, as the combination of deep fat fryin' and salmon's inherent richness seemed to be totally overwhelming. Thankfully, this suceeded the trick seems to be keeping the fish inside uber-rare with just a slight panko-crunch on the outside. The creamy remoulade didn't possess the horse-radish kick I was expecting (being a remoulade snob and part-time New Orleanian, yeah, bitches, I like my remoulade good n' proper.)

This is Kru's signature Poke trio - hawaiian style marinated spicy tuna, hamachi, and octopus, with green tea, schichimi, and nori salts ($13). The dish is pretty as hell and plays well off the oft-abused three ways concept - Poke is one of Hawaii's most divinely inspired treats, and this was a good rendition of a classic, with super fresh fish and a good flavor profile. The schmancy salts sound compelling, but I honestly can't detect much flavor difference between the three varieties. Pretend you can tell the difference to impress the hell out of your date.

This is the Tesla roll, which has soft shell crab, avocado, albacore, salmon, garlic cream sauce, and chives ($12). I'm always a sucker for soft shell crab, so this was pretty good, although I am increasingly over Sacramento style rolls of "fried stuff with cream sauce on top. If you are into that (most are), this definitely knocks the socks off of Mikuni.

Kru does a very good job of getting high quality and super fresh fish. That can be a real problem in Sacramento's more half-assed sushi joints. My hat is off.

Service was not up to Kru's usual standards. Our server was rather scattered, and our attempts to order two different bottles of wine were unsuccessful. "Sorry, we're redoing our wine list," was the explanation. Folks, take the wine off the menu if it is not available, do not cruelly lure us in then dash our hopes. To put a completely over-dramatic spin on it.

Despite some small hiccups, Kru is my favorite sushi joint in Sacramento. The quiet and stylish dining room, the innovative menu items, and the super fresh fish combined to produce a superior experience to the other Ye Olde Sushi Huts that proliferate in Sactown. They'll have my business for a long time to come.


undercover caterer said...

Love hamachi kama. YUM.

Gretchen said...

Wonderful post! This is our favorite formal sushi restaurant; otherwise we enjoy Akebono on Freeport.