We stopped in at Ebisu for a late dinner last night after meeting some friends at a pub. I want to caveat this post by saying that I wasn't really craving sushi last night, but Hotei was closed by the time we rolled around, and wandering any more was not an option, so Ebisu it was.
I got the "special" sushi platter ($12.50), Jason (who actually doesn't eat sushi!) got the tempura vegetable roll wrapped in soy paper. I also got an order of Aji(spanish mackerel) nigiri, and some oysters on the half shell.
First, my miso soup was quite unusual. It had a "chickeny" flavor, which is the only way I can describe it, and had thin rounds of fried tofu puffs in addition to small pieces of soft tofu. I've never seen tofu puffs in miso soup before. Is this an authentic style?
The Aji was AMAZING. Buttery, assertive pillows of fish with a green onion tobiko garnish, and a perfect (small) amount of rice. *A*
The sushi platter consisted of single pieces of tuna, octopus, clam, unagi, mackerel, tobiko, hamachi and I think fatty tuna.
The highlights: tobiko - lovely texture, very sprightly eggs and generous portions. Mackerel was more assertive than the Spanish nigiri, but it definitely spoke to me with its oily, rich flavor. Unagi was perfectly cooked, with an almost chestnutty quality. Lovely. *A-*
Octopus was well textured, firm with a bit of give, but didn't announce it's presence the way really good octopus ceviche sometimes does. *B*
The others: Tuna, hamachi, fatty tuna, clam. Obviously fresh, lovely color, but very shy in flavor. I love jeweled pieces of tuna just neat, so it wasn't that I missed seasoning. It just seemed that these pieces of fish were chosen for their looks over their flavor. I especially expected the fatty tuna to be more flavor-packed than it was. *B-*
Oysters were OK. I'm spoiled by Zuni, and have had better oysters served Japanese style at Kirala. I didn't ask what kind they were though. They were rather narrow and deep-seated, with a strong aroma, and darkish. *B*
Jason's tempura roll was all gone before I had a chance to look too closely or taste, but I did catch a flash of pinkish rice paper and a very pretty presentation.
We sat at the bar, and the chef was great. Didn't seem to fazed by the fact that Jason didn't eat sushi... I was concerned that would offend him!
All in all, a decent experience, but I'm not dying to go back.