Short Orders: Reikyu Sushi

Reikyu Sushi
5321 E. Mockingbird Lane

Has there ever been a craze as pervasive as sushi?

America's passion for raw fish began to build sometime in the very early 80s, which means it's closing in on 40 years. That tops disco fever by 34 years. Our bitterness toward Japan for that faux pas at Peal Harbor? Not even close. It's longer by about 38 than our interest in Ethiopian restaurants. The relationship between that hockey slacker and the Palin daughter (is it Raven? Can't remember) fell 39 short. And it beats the nation's fascination with buffoons like Joe the Plumber by 39 and 11 months. As fads go, sushi is no longer a fad.

Nowadays you find it just about everywhere. Even Costco sells plastic containers of pre-rolled maki. Most of us know the difference between sashimi and nigiri...and even that "sushi" technically refers to seasoned rice, which can be combined with raw fish.

Despite all this, it's not always easy to find top-notch Japanese cooking...or defrosting, as the case may be.

Reikyu makes some common mistakes. Their nigiri, for instance, lacks the swipe of wasabi between fish and rice that awakens otherwise subtle flavors. At least this was so recently--but no matter: the meat itself is beautifully delicate and the rice sprinkled with vinegar, a step many so-called Japanese restaurants miss.

More importantly, although they bow to local influences at times, they remain sensitive to the fact that items should fit into one bite. Even presentations such as the spider roll or flying fish roe maki seem dainty compared to some of the overstuffed, Texas-size portions you find at other joints.

Yeah, their attempt at tempura can come off heavy at times. And service flounders on occasion. But their version of the popular sea bass miso is impressive, seasoned deftly and propped on a ratatouille-style spread of vegetables launching a bitter counterpunch to the sweet and malty glaze. Yes, it's hard to find more than a hint of seafood flavor in the potato crab cakes. Still, the spicy nature of the finished product is compelling.

There are people who will tell you Reikyu represents the best of Dallas when it comes to sushi and other Japanese fare.

An overstatement? Yeah, maybe. But not enough of one to complain.

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