Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sushi Samurai, Neutral Bay.

One of the many restaurants which line Military Road is Sushi Samurai, with another branch in Pyrmont, the Neutral Bay branch is directly opposite Ju Ge Mu/Shimbashi which was reviewed by FFichiban earlier this month. When making my way to Sushi Samurai, I noticed a large vacated lot next to it, which use to be the location Gourmet Pizza Kitchen - where'd it go? the question arose in my mind, but was quickly forgotten when I entered Sushi Samurai.

My first impression about the dim lit decor contrasted with the lit-up bar counter was one of interest. No sooner it became apparent that the lighting differences as an attempt to veil the scarce seating space. I was under the impression as each table was separated into groups, that when we were seated at a table with a couple's table connected to ours, the waiter would make an attempt to separate the tables to provide a less-intimate connection with your neighbouring table. Unfortunately this wasn't done - so we opted to move to a different table (one of those things which I'm often embarrassed to ask) - which they happily obliged.

Once seated at a significant more comfortable table (not to mention well-lit as it was next to wall light), the busy Sunday night was obviously giving the employees a hard time to juggle between serving customers and dishes. It was obvious that we were not the only table that had to hail a waiter more than once just to get noticed that we were ready to order.

The fruits of a 30 min wait in between mains ('Don't play with your food'...I know)

Chef's Recommended Wagyu Beef Salad ($14.80): a disaster. Although I expected the wagyu to be not top notch, it failed completely. Probably the lowest grade of wagyu is used - close to the texture and taste of a supermarket cut of beef fillet. The salad clearly isn't 'fresh' - the tomato is a dismal un-ripe colour. The lettuce is probably prepackaged as well as the shaved carrots. The freshest ingredient is probably the two dry slices of lime. I'd go as far as to say that this is the worse dish I've expected since the blog started.

Melting - Cream Croquette ($5.80): A last minute addition to our meal as we have a feeling that it isn't going to be enough. The cream is bland and at best can be passes off as cheese - the same disappointing side of salad as seen in the wagyu beef salad makes an appearance as well. The vinegar dip is enjoyable and possibly saves this dish.

Soft Shell Crab: The as advertised 'popular' is heavily dressed with a substantially greater amount of batter than what I normally get. It's a double edged sword - whilst the batter alone has a nice balance of egg and is not too oily; there is more batter than crab. The salad and the vinegar once again make an appearance.

Dragon Roll Sushi: Eel with cheese. The cheese offers a interesting (and very likable) contrast of flavour. I don't quite remember this particular roll having cheese but it's a pleasant and creative infusion nonetheless.

Grilled Salmon Sushi: Hands down the best dish we've selected tonight. The toro adds to the juicy and mixture of smoky flavour to the sushi. I can't help but the squirm with delight as I eat my second piece. I highly recommend our readers to order this as if I come back again - I would definitely get this. Whilst Sushi Samurai barely makes the cut, it is understandable due to the geographical location and the type of market that its trying to attract.

Wagyu Steak with Bean Sprouts: The same poor quality meat is presented once again with a generous serving of bean sprouts. I opted for the ponzu sauce; and was given the vinegar that appeared in previously mentioned dishes. I've also seen this dish ordered by other tables as it's served on a sizzling hot plate - who doesn't drool and appreciate the entertainment of drifting smoke floating through a restaurant?

What to do with left-over wasabi. ("Stop playing with your food")

Spot the Engrish.

Sushi Samurai
Shop 3, 197 Military Road, Neutral Bay
(opposite Ju Ge Mu, next to Birkenstock)
Ph: 99534059
Lunch: 11am-3pm (last order)

Dinner: 5.30-10pm (last order)


FFichiban said...

Ahh the renovations make it look pretty nice but yeah I have never tried the food :S

NQN said...

We went here a couple of weeks ago and had some fantastic food. I just need to find the time to publish the story hehe

D said...

FFichiban - when you try the food, you must get the grilled salmon!

NQN - look forward to reading your story when it's published!

Ndugu said...

I won't eat there. Owner force staff to working under illegal condition, pay lower than the minimum wage. He ask my girlfriend, a waitress $200 if she take top off. Also ask chef pay money for sex. nice food but bad owner i think.

D said...

Hi ndugu - wow that's some crazy info...if the owner asked your girlfriend to do such an act..she should consider seeing a lawyer or complaining to the relevant prudential authority....