Enticed by Sushi Sake

Takashi Soda's sushi restaurant isn't perfect, but it's seduced a lot of fans.

Each bite was different. And each held a secret that could be easily liberated with a slow and deliberate consumption. Meals like these paint smiles on faces, and the women sitting to my left took notice. Despite the tuna rolls in front of them, they caught the eyes of their sushi chef. "Can we try the bonito?"

When I finally waved off the chef I'd been charged $63 for what was a simple but perfectly executed meal. It was the least I've been charged for omakase in Dallas, so I tried to repeat it with a friend a few weeks later.

Round Two, sadly, was a bust. The ticket machine demanded rolls at a machine-gun pace and my chef was overwhelmed. The rice of each nigiri was loosely packed and fell apart as I tried to invert it and dip it into a small puddle of soy sauce. His creativity floundered, turning to rose-shaped salmon presentations on one plate, and an unstylish presentation of even more salmon wrapped in a cucumber sleeve in the next. It was like a bad date you can't escape from, except I certainly could have. I should have pulled the plug and ordered some tempura.

To get the best bang for your buck, get a seat at the bar and make friends with your chef.
Catherine Downes
To get the best bang for your buck, get a seat at the bar and make friends with your chef.
Catherine Downes

Details

Sushi Sake

2150 North Collins Blvd., 972-470-0722, sushi-sake.com. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., 5:30-10:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 5:30-10:30 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday. $$$

Beef tataki $7.50

Shrimp tempura $5

Niku tofu $7

Sweet shrimp $10

Mochi $4.50

If you don't want to eat like a dolphin, the menu offers more than fish. There are vegetables battered a little aggressively, and there are tiny baby crabs, deep-fried whole. Pick the critters up with your chopsticks and crunch with your teeth like Japanese potato chips.

There's a simple miso soup that's like most renditions, and another that's simultaneously rich and light. The niku tofu has big and beefy flavors with huge cubes of tofu, and a small bundle of enoki mushrooms with stalks so fine they could be corn silk. None of these dishes came close to providing the emotional response of my first omakase, but they're safe bets I wish I'd relied on when my subsequent meal went sour.

Not that I wouldn't give the sushi chefs another chance. There's romance in omakase, and if you can't establish some intimacy with your chef, your meal will never transcend a pedestrian experience. Dining at Sushi Sake is like hoping for a spark you may never feel, but the potential is always there. And with fish this fresh at prices like these, it's more than worth the gamble.

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4 comments
usualsuspekt_99
usualsuspekt_99

In one breath the author styles himself a connoisseur of sushi and arrogantly mentions that petulant Anthony Bordain and at the same time inadvertently admits that he dips the rice of the nigiri sushi into the soy.  Tsk, tsk.  One is not supposed to dip the rice, only the fish.

lfh-resident
lfh-resident

Now you need to head down the street to Masami, equally as good. I bet Chef Ryo would make a killer omakase.

scott.reitz
scott.reitz moderator

@usualsuspekt_99 You misread. The piece is inverted in that sentence. The fish is now on the bottom and the rice is on the top. There's no way I'm letting soy sauce wick up into my rice. It's just not civilized.

 
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