went to saito's for dinner last nite - and it was great!
we sat at the sushi bar, (was suprised that only one other person sat at the sushi bar over the course of our entire meal) and immediately realized we were clueless when it came to sushi bar etiquette! the other times i've sat at a sushi bar, i have simply ordered some "combo" or just a whole bunch at one time. i wasnt sure if ordering small bits here and there was the norm, or if i should order all at once, or if there is absolutely no 'norm' (we ordered in 2 rounds). i also wasnt sure where to put my plate after the first round (keep it in front of me or place it up on the bar) and who to order a hot appetizer from (i waited until the waitress dropped by and ordered it from her.) i feel silly describing my dilemma with basic sushi etiquette - but i would welcome sushi bar ettiquete tips from a seasoned 'hound.
we began with a mini-tuna flight of maguro, hamachi, and shiro maguro (white tuna). i have never had white tuna and, man, was it delicious! the other 2 were extremely tasty, but the white tuna melted in my mouth.
i have decided that next time i want to share a full tuna 'flight' of those 3 and toro and albacore for one of my courses.
we then shared an unagi roll and a rainbow roll (dungeness crab, roe, cuc inside; avodaco, white fish, tuna, and salmon outside) - both were wonderful! in the rainbow - each slice of avocado was perfectly fresh and buttery. the taste and texture blended well with the outer fish layer that enclosed the crunchy-ish treats in the center. yum!
i also has a hot appetizer of baby squid and oyster mushrooms sauteed in lemon butter and sprinkled with sesame seeds and finely chopped chives. it was very good and artfully presented, but i would not order it again, because it wasnt a huge standout and there were so many other 'specials' i wanted to taste!
with 2 large sapporos and (a huge bowl of) ice cream, the total was $68 after tax and 20% tip. the woman next to us ordered a 'small' assortment, which included 8 nigiri, 1/2 tekka maki, miso soup, small salad, and small sauteed mushroom+green onion cup 'o stuff for only $14, which is a great deal.
saito was amazing behind the sushi bar. his work was very speedy and meticulous. the plates were presented well, and there were neat garnishes on many of the nigiri he crafted. he did not let any substandard sushi pass his eye. i saw him grab what looked to me like a lovely piece of salmon off a plate, toss it and slice a new one. sitting at the sushi bar rules (i realize i am the last to know ...).
thanks for the recommendation, hounds! not too packed, service not at all rushed, nice ambience, reasonable prices, location is one block away from pinball, and (most importantly) delicious sushi = happy happy belly!