Walter Mencken 11:31 a.m., Feb. 1
One piece at a time at Sushi Tadokoro
Ordering Edo-style sushi in an Old Town mini-mart at $4/bite is a beautiful thing.
Few would think, “I’ll head down to Old Town and poke around in mini-malls between liquor stores and hair salons. Maybe I’ll find some great Edo-style sushi there.”
Nevertheless, that happens in this town sometimes. Barbarella’s discovered that the tapas and rolls at Sushi Tadokoro are 100% legit, but she didn’t get into the nigiri that much since there’s only so much of a menu someone can get into before it’s time to go home! I had heard that Tadokoro was great spot to go for Jiro Dreams of Sushi-style a la carte service, and boy was that ever the case.
It’s tremendous to be served one bite at a time, and drink green tea while silently contemplating just how beautiful a single piece of fish can be. The sushi chef prepares each piece with the right flavors. The rice underneath the sushi was exquisite; sweet, flavorful, and toothsome. I could have eaten an entire bowl of it by itself, but the nigiri really shone.
Lightly cured halibut had a delicate, sweet taste offset by just the tiniest addition of housemade soy sauce. Tender akami tuna ($2.50), from a Hawaiian bigeye, had the strongest wasabi bite of anything served. Mackerel and kohada (gizzard shad), both “shiny fishes” with high oil contents, were amazingly sweet. The mackerel benefitted from a transparent sheet of tofu skin and the delicate kohada looked beautiful, with its blue-spotted skin scored to reveal the deep flesh beneath.
Geoduck clam, worth every penny of $6 for a single piece, got a twist of lemon and some shaved salt. The briny, chewiness of the clam warranted extended chewing and the flavor lingered on my palate until the next piece of sushi was served.
Perhaps the best piece of the night, zuke tuna ($3), was a piece of akami that had been marinated in a soy sauce broth and then dotted with a tiny speck of yuzukosho, which is a fermented chili pepper and yuzu spice that popped like nothing I’ve ever had before on a piece of sushi.
I ended the meal with a $6 piece of toro, which the chef expertly warmed on a dish for me before serving it.
What more can I say? I spent $40 (including the tip) for about ten pieces of sushi. Each one was a jewel, a beautiful expression of Edo-style sushi, particularly at the price.
2244 San Diego Avenue