We had dinner Saturday night at Sushi Koji and sat at the bar. Having read Michael B.'s comments about a dichotomy between what is served to Japanese and others in the know vs. the rest of us, we were unsure how to begin. The menu is singularly unhelpful (if we had been given one).
We asked our waiter if we could have omakase. He made my husband repeat it. I'm having an "oh no" moment. But then, he spoke to Koji in Japanese, I'm straining to hear "omakase" , and sure enough, Koji asks if we want sashimi or sushi. Sashimi for me, nigiri for my husband. Koji asks if hubby wants cook rish or raw? - raw. How hungry am I?- medium hungry.
Koji began by taking a gorgeous little mackerel and filleting it, it was cool to watch him, and it was very time-consuming. I also had salmon, toro, yellow tail, something I don't know what it was but I love it, and what I think was snapper. Husband's nigiri included much of the same, plus clam, white tuna(?). We had an inside out roll -the rice on the outside having been fried, and a crab roll w/ some kind of gorgeous fish (possibly more toro).
After we finished, the waiter asked if I would like to have my Mackerel bones fried to eat "like a snack". Sure. Bones come, and as I try to lift the body onto my plate w/ chopsticks, waiter tells me to eat w/ my hands and put on some lemon juice. Husband and I consume. Delicious. At this point, the hostess has been stopping by periodically to check if we were eating everything and seeming surprised. Waiter brings green tea and sorbet.
Everything was spectacular. Service was warm and perfect. Our dinner was $56(no alcohol), the bargain of the year. If we had been hungry we might have ordered more food, but we had been snacking during the afternoon, and so it was the perfect amount.
Koji asked where we were from, and on hearing Greenville said he didn't remember seeing us. It's true, I feel silly for not being more of a regular.(although when I told him I come more at lunch, he said Oh, he was playing golf during lunch) Husband pronounced it the best fish he's had anywhere except Soto in Atlanta, and better than Blue Ribbon Sushi and Nobu(sushi portion of meal) in NY. I agree.
Two questions for Michael B. please:
We watched the regulars as they left, but could not spot anyone tipping Koji. We left a big tip, but all on the one line on the cc slip. Is that OK? Any suggestions on how I can get a glass of really good sake on my next trip?
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