My whole family and I have been going to Z's for several years now; it's become a semi-regular, Friday night ritual. It's not unusual for me to arrive with a friend only to bump into my parents, perched at the sushi bar and chatting happily with other regulars, or to see my sister and bro-in-law breezing through the door and calling out their "hellos" to the staff.
Bottom line: I love this place. The fish is always fresh, the specials are often inventive without being overly Americanized (read: mayo-laden) and the staff are a kooky and fun bunch. They'll toss back a few beers with you and insist you try out the chef's latest and greatest invention. There's no rush to get you out the door; often times we'll stay for hours just eating and drinking and being a little too loud with the other sushi bar patrons. Home is what it is, really. And what it's not is full of sake bomb-drinking fools, thankfully. Hit Tokyo Delves if that's what you're into.
Last Friday I met up with the folks and we had our usual gay (<--does no one use that word for its original meaning anymore?) time. We feasted on uni, kompachi, hamachi, toro, hamachi kama (fish collar), seared Kobe beef, tai, unagi and more, and drank with it a few glasses of ice-cold sake. As usual, I forgot to take pictures of a few things - my desire to eat whatever was in front of me somehow gave me temporary amnesia. Or maybe it was the sake?
It's hard to pick a favorite, but the salmon is always buttery, fatty and absolutely delicious. They top each slice of salmon with a thin sliver of seaweed, which really balances out the fattiness of the salmon. The hamachi kama is also incredible. Poking it with chopsticks, you can feel how tender and see how juicy the tender flesh is. It's hard to imagine but Americans usually throw this part of the fish away...!?!?! If you ask me, it's the best part.
The hamachi is also always rich and fabulous. Toshi and the other chefs at Z's have some pretty mad knife skills; the pieces are always just the right size. I've noticed a lot of the trendier sushi places serve gigantic slices of fish on their sushi, but the freshness is just not there. I want quality, not quantity.
So, here's a bit shout-out to the whole staff at Z's for great sushi, wonderful service and for making me feel at home there. It really is a gem of a place to me and my family, and I hope it will be there for years to come.