Ino Sushi, Japantown

by foodhoe on November 7, 2006

This is a really good sushi bar tucked away in a back corner of Jtown, where I like to occasionally go to pamper myself at the Kabuki Hot Springs. It appears to be a husband-wife team running the show and it can get very crowded quickly as I only saw about 5 little tables and the sushi bar. The entrance is very plain and easy to miss, but there is always a line and for good reason.

The hostess/waitress was a bit frazzled our last visit and took 5 minutes or so to remember that we were waiting for an additional chair for our table of 4, so Ann remained standing while we deliberated if we should grab one from the sushi bar and risk the wrath, or… She also forgot this and that during the course of our meal, but was always quick to apologize and bring the overlooked item, so we forgave her – especially since she seemed to be running around so much.

We tried four of the sunomono, marinated cucumbers with various ingredients. The Tako (octopus) was perfectly cooked, firm but not rubbery, deliciously chewy. These were rather small dishes, quite a different concept from that of dinner salad… We all ordered miso soup with enoki, which was generously flavored with the miso paste, so it was a full bodied rich soup with wakame and tofu and a handful of enoki on top that cooked down in the steaming soup adding a very nice mushroomy fragrance and flavor. Very very good, way better than most.

Our group ordered mostly nigiri sushi with just a couple of small rolls. The house maintains very high standards for the fish it serves and the quality is top notch. They also mostly offer traditional dishes, not the modern battered, fried, topped with blobs of mayonnaise and broiled sushi rolls…

I had read that the salmon roe was house prepared with a soy marinade and yes it is much better than most, each orb bursts with the tangy briny flavor of the sea and was delicately accented by the sweet soy marinade. I marveled at the creamy texture of the ika (which I ordered with shiso leaf – my absolute favorite), because the cut was so perfect that I was able to bite into it with no little stringy bits, just a gorgeous sublime crunchy chewy burst of flavor, no floss needed. The chef is quite generous with the wasabi so I found myself blinking back joyous wasabi induced tears accompanied by the fiery nasal blast that one can only hope for when eating sushi. Each bite was a joy.

Of course I am coming back for more! Expect to pay $40-50 a person, but it is well worth it.

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