Tag Archives: sashimi

Review: Sushi Palace

 

Seeing as this blog is the “Budget Epicurean” and part of that name entails being curious about new foods, I felt that it was time for a new food place review. If you will recall from my Austin, Texas review series, I rate places based on taste, atmosphere, and overall value. All honest opinions are those of the Budget Epicurean, and no goods, services, or payments were offered for this review.

  • Taste: 1 (wet toast) – 10 (your taste buds have died and gone to heaven)
  • Atmosphere: 1 (gas station bathroom) – 10 (best you’ve ever experienced)
  • Value: 1 (not worth it) – 10 (super duper deal)

There are several places I’ve been in the past few months and simply haven’t written up yet. This one is a definite stand-out, and somewhere I hope to go again soon. Perhaps this article will get me convinced to make reservations! And maybe I’ll see you there.

It’s no secret that I love me some good sushi. All-you-can-eat sushi buffets are one of my favorite places in the world. Sushi snobs may turn up their noses, doubters may worry about the fishy smell or taste, and environmentalists may debate the Earth-friendliness of over-fishing. But there is nothing better than stuffing yourself to discomfort with tray upon tray of rolls and nigiri.

Upon moving away from Denver CO and my precious Sushi Katsu, at which I’ve probably spent several hundreds of dollars over four years (best damn all you can eat deal in the area, fo sho), I needed to find a similar addiction in my newly adopted New England. It is not uncommon for my fiance and I to begin with at minimum 50 individual pieces. This is a tough order, as it also needs to be both delicious, and affordable.

Asking around yielded a place with locations in both North Haven & Hamden called Sushi Palace.

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Luckily for me, a friend was visiting from out of town who has a similar addiction to salty fish and rice, so we set off on our eat-till-it-hurts adventure.

We “began” our meal with three people, thus about 60 pieces between us. Several sashimi were ordered, along with a few rolls, the Rainbow roll, Dragon roll, Philadelphia roll & California roll among them.

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The individual sashimi slices were uniformly perfectly thick and even, with each fish’ unique flavor and texture shining through. My favorites in order: salmon, tuna, white tuna, yellowtail, red snapper. I’m normally not a huge fan of raw fish alone, I prefer some rice along with it, but this was all in all a great experience.

The only exceptions would be the  egg custard (tamago) and red clam (hokkigai). The egg custard was sort of tofu-textured with a hint of eggy and sweet, and the clam was a tough chewy texture, neither of which I totally enjoyed. However, you may have different taste and texture preferences, and find cold shoe leather enjoyable.

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Their menu is quite exhaustive, and the prices are reasonable. I wish to goodness I worked closer to either location, so I could waste one day a week’s pay on buying sushi for lunch daily.

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This is the dinner rush on a typical Thursday. Luckily we got to the place just around 5:30 and snagged one of 5-6 empty tables. Approximately 6pm, cue huge crowd and an out-the-door line. You have been warned.

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Round two of our main course consisted of “sushi”, of which the majority was salmon because that was our unanimous favorite. First big difference I noticed between Colorado and Connecticut: “sushi” in CO meant a roll, here it means “piece of raw fish with room temperature rice”. The CT definition of “sushi” is “nigiri” where I am used to.

No matter, we were ready to mow down a few more rolls and pieces. Of the three of us, we each had about enough room for about 10 more pieces. I can’t recall the name of one of the tempura-fried warm roll, but the hot mayo on top is super delicious! Several of their rolls have this as an option. If you are unsure, you could ask to taste it before ordering a roll drenched in the stuff.

We also got just a taste of the eel, or unagi. Eel is a delicious, flaky fish with a meaty, salty flavor, and is served with this amazing eel sauce that is slightly sweet and warm. This stuff is the bomb dot com yo! Give it a try, you might like it.

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And finally to round out the meal, we each finished off with a small bowl of ice cream. The flavors? Green tea and red bean. Oh yes. Too weird to not try. And it turned out that the bean ice cream has actual chunks of red beans in it, and the green tea is sweeter than I imagined it would be. I did not hate either taste experience, and might actually order a pint of the green tea on purpose.

In summary, an experience and spread well worth $30 for dinner. They have a huge regular menu, and a completely separate menu for the all you can eat option which is equally expansive. With options such as udon noodles, fried rice, beef teriyaki, and edamame, everyone is sure to find something they like. Overall rating:

  • Taste: 7
  • Atmosphere: 6
  • Value: 7.5

http://www.sushipalace.us/menu/menu.htm

Silly American attempts to make Salmon Nigiri

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I absolutely adore sushi. There are few types I dislike. Something about the soft buttery fish and rice with copious soy sauce just makes me swoon. I know I violate rules by using as much sauce as I do, but I’m over it. Low blood pressure and all that. I flipping love soy sauce okay?
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Oh, and not all sushi is raw fish. Common misconception. Actually the majority of sushi is not raw. You must have nigiri or sashimi to be sure it’s raw. And even then… probably some exceptions. The blog The M Resort has a handy guide for keeping sushi terminology straight. The main ones are sushi, maki, nigiri, and sashimi. I won’t even try to overwhelm you or myself with all the different nuances of flavor, texture, color, and types of fish, or vinegars, additives, and temperature’s effects on rice.
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Sushi = any Japanese style fish roll, may or may not be raw, include vegetables, or be rolled in seaweed (nori).
Maki = rolled sushi using a bamboo mat. Typically rolled in seaweed, but can also use thinly sliced cucumbers.
Nigiri = raw slices of fish served over a hand-rolled slab of rice, no nori. Some sushi chefs add wasabi between the fish and rice.
Sashimi = raw slices of fish served without rice, as naked as it gets. Try it with wasabi and soy sauce mixed together.
So one day I’m grocery shopping, and see a gorgeous salmon fillet on sale that needs used today. As often happens when at the grocery store, just seeing one item sparks an idea, and today’s idea was “why not try to make my own sushi at home?” Don’t mind if I do. I did recently purchase a rice cooker (which I also flipping love) so hopefully that would make the process even easier.
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I did nothing special to the fish itself, as I wanted its natural flavor. I did try to doctor up the rice, and made my own dipping sauce. I also had some dumplings in the freezer, which I thawed and fried to make a lovely lunch.
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Ingredients:
1 8 oz salmon fillet
1 cup white rice
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
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Garlic-Ginger Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tsp diced garlic
1 tsp sriracha
1 in piece ginger, peeled and sliced
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cornstarch
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Step 1: Put the rice and water in the rice cooker and cook. Alternatively, cook the rice in the microwave or stove-top according to package directions.
Step 2: White rice is cooking, mix all dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl, and heat 3 minutes in microwave. Whisk well and set aside.
Step 3: Slice the fish fillet as thinly as possible on the diagonal. Once rice is cooked, let cool to room temperature. Add vinegar, sugar, and salt and mix well.
Step 4: Take a tbsp of rice, and form into an oblong oval shape with your fingers. Press a thin slice of fish onto the rice and place on plate. Repeat with all fish slices.
Step 5: Fry dumplings according to package if you have them. Place dipping sauce on a plate with the nigiri.
Step 6: Enjoy! While not as good as a sushi restaurant, it was dang good for my first attempt. You better believe anytime fresh fish is on sale I will be trying this again.
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You could use really any type of filleted fish, and if you want to get real crazy, buy some nori (seaweed) sheets and make rolls. Add in avocado, carrots, cucumber, cream cheese… the possibilities are endless. Sushi is a great vegetarian and vegan option, you can even make dessert sushi! Give it a try.
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What’s your favorite type of sushi?