Posted by: Sean Carter | February 17, 2013

#114: Arigato Sushi

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Yesterday I met my dad for lunch at Arigato Sushi, located between AT&T and Chipotle, across from the Galleria.  They have a couple other locations, one in Sacramento and one in Santa Clara.  We arrived just before 1:30PM to a 1/3 full restaurant.  As soon as I walked in the door I was greeted by a host at the counter to my left and we were seated immediately.  Their dining room is rectangular with mostly tables, some booth seating along the side walls, and a nice looking sushi bar at the back.  The place is dark, at least when you first walk in for a while before your eyes adjust from the daylight.  The walls and ceiling are painted black.  Under the sushi bar (which has adjustable height stools, something I’ve never seen elsewhere) has moody colored lighting that rolls through the spectrum.  The tables and chairs are simple and also black and the menus were nicely bound.  My impression at this point was that they were shooting for nice, but without the flash that Mikuni or Blue Nami use in their restaurants.

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I had skimmed over the long rolls list on their menu before headed over and had already picked something out.  Like almost all sushi places they do the whole “50% all rolls” gimmick.  I hate that.  Just show the price as it is, not doubled with a sign out front to lure people in.  We hadn’t been seated for long when our waitress came by to take out drink order.  I just went with a water, which arrived with two thin slices of lemon.  Just a few minutes later she returned to take our orders.  A friend had recently introduced me to the BBQ Albacore appetizer, so I got that.  In addition I ordered the Cherry Blossom roll ([Salmon, Avocado] Tuna, Special & Unagi Sauce, Tobiko) and some sake nigiri.  My dad ordered the Macho roll ([D.F. Asparagus, Cream Cheese, Crabmeat] Avocado, Salmon, Tuna, Special & Unagi & Spicy Sauce, Tobiko).

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Less than five minutes later the BBQ Albacore arrived.  Big pieces of char-grilled albacore tuna sat in the middle of a big triangular plate, covered in a yellow special sauce.  This was absolutely fantastic, just as good as the one I tried at Blue Nami, if not better.  Each huge chunk was warm and practically melted in your mouth.  It’s one of the more expensive appetizers, but I can see myself getting this regularly.

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We had just a couple bites left when the rolls and nigiri were delivered.  Each roll looked busy with all the ingredients rolled and layered on top of each other.  As I ate the Cherry Blossom roll, I found each bite to be just as interesting, picking up a big taste of salmon, then avocado, then tuna and the unagi sauce all distinctly and yet also at the same time in a way.  It was a really good roll that I would absolutely order again, though with as big a list as they have I’m sure I’ll try some other things first.  My sake nigiri looked to be on the fatty side (a good thing), and wasn’t the most beautiful cut I’ve ever seen, but wow was it good, buttery and delicious.  Definitely some of the better salmon I’ve had.  My dad said his Macho roll was very good as well.

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Service-wise I would say that it wasn’t amazing but there wasn’t really anything bad either, it was so-so to good.  They did the job and I have no complaints.  I didn’t really know what my expectations should have been going in but I left impressed and I’m kind of thinking that they give Blue Nami (my longtime favorite sushi restaurant) a run for it’s money.  For the rating I think I would give it a perfect 5 of 5 with slightly better service, friendlier staff, etc.  Blue Nami definitely has them beat in that respect.

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