Long and Winding Roe

Competence but not excitement at Hanasho

Décor isn't uninteresting. It's contemporary, planked with blond woods and finished in sharp angles. But this chill is cleverly warmed with curvy suspended ceiling modules drenched in butterscotch. Walls are similarly bathed. Embedded in the center of the ceiling is a decorative contrivance: a recessed square flushed with light that shifts color every couple of seconds--a rainbow sherbet skylight.

Menu flavors are nearly as broad. Chilled spinach sneaks in. The wilted leaves are chilled with bonito (dried, aged and shredded fish from the tuna family) pixie dust sprinkled over them. The combination is exhilarating.

But the soft shell crab left oil sheen on the fingertips: the bane of deep frying. "Who cares if it's greasy," says the kid at our table, ripping a hunk from the legless body. "It just needs to taste good." And it does. The coating isn't chalky or gritty. The body and flesh aren't spongy or soggy. The flavors are simple and clean, with the breath of sweetness up front that one generally expects from shellfish.

Hanasho does sushi right. Not great, but right.
Tom Jenkins
Hanasho does sushi right. Not great, but right.

Location Info

Map

Hanasho Japanese Restaurant

2938 N. Belt Line Road
Irving, TX 75062-5247

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Irving & Las Colinas

Details

Sushi $3.50-$7

Octopus salad $4.50

Beef tataki $6.50

Squid legs $4.95

Grilled mackerel $6

Grilled smelts $3

Spinach $3.50

Soft shell crab $7.95

Yellowtail collar $8.50

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One of the oddest delicacies found in Japanese restaurants is the cheek carved from a fish face. Salmon and yellowtail are the most common victims. Hamachi kama is the piece cut from behind a yellowtail head, with fins and blades of cartilage impounded in the meat. The area is ripe with oils and fats--and strong flavors. When fresh, the flavors are luxurious and fleeting, leaving a gentle imprint on the tongue before fading. When the head ring is on the south side of freshness, the flavors are tough and persevering, coating the tongue with tenacious viscosity. This collar seems aged. Meat is a little fatty, stringy, like tough strands culled from crab legs when they're old or have been frozen or both. Fins were crispy though.

Hanasho is straight ahead, serviceable sushi. Nothing stands out; nothing rivets the heart in fear; nothing elicits reactionary winces, which shows you how far we've come in the last few years. Or is it decades? 2938 N. Belt Line Road, Irving, 972-258-0250. Open for lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday. Open for dinner 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday & Saturday. $$$

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