being a big sushi freak i used to try out every sushi restaurant that came recommended. my husband and i would get reservations at the sushi bar (always) and try our best to get seated in front of the head sushi chef or owner (sometimes). it's always fun to see how the sushi chef changes his attitude once you start really enjoying his sushi. they warm up right away once they see the expression of sheer delight on your face as you pop a piece of uni into your mouth. many sushi chefs tend to be a little standoffish but once they open up they are very pleasant (not to mention giving you better cuts of fish). my best experiences at a sushi restaurant have always included amazing sushi and good interaction with the sushi chef.
after hopping from sushi bar to sushi bar every week for a few years we finally came to our senses (or rather, we realized that we'd spent all of our savings). We agreed that we needed to find a less expensive but still really good sushi restaurant fast before i started borrowing against my 401k (stopping cold turkey was out of the question).
my search for "not crazy expensive" but great tasting sushi has lead me to shimizu. the omakase at the sushi bar at shimizu is one of those meals that i always look forward to and I always end up enjoying it more than i had anticipated. it is not masa but it is extremely delicious. more than once have i placed a piece of sushi in my mouth and involuntarily started grinning while trying to stop showing everyone the contents of my mouth. some of my most memorable pieces include gold red snapper, aji, saba, sawara, amaebi...
the best part for me is the temperature of the fish. the rice isn't warm but the fish is just cool enough that the contrast between the temparature of the fish and the rice makes it wonderfully pleasant to eat.
the custard dessert is also amazing. i've had custards in asia and they tend to be too light and bland for the american palate. the custard at shimizu is soooooo ultra creamy it is out. of. this. world. my husband doesn't even like desserts but he orders it all the time (i usually don't order saying i'm full but inevitably end up eating half of his). it's good for people who don't like their desserts too sweet but love the creamy taste. i think if you like il laboratio del gelato or papa beard you would really like this dessert. if you're a cold stone creamery fan (ultra sweet) forget it.
my most recent favorite is an amuse - thin round slices of tuna sausage with a pinch of wasabi. it was excellent. i know this is probably just something that they came up with to use the last bits of tuna leftovers (just like french restaurants make pate) but it was good enough to be an amuse at a top french restaurant. it tasted sort of like pork and had really good texture. yum.
overall, shimizu is definitely not cheap and the quality is definitely not as good if you're sitting at a table (versus the bar) but i LOVE it. i'm happy enough that i have stopped hopping around from restaurant to restaurant for the time being. maybe i will start up again sometime but for now i'm settling in for the long haul at shimizu...yummm.