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Sticker shock at Shimizu

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Sticker shock at Shimizu

Eric Eto | May 20, 2005 04:20 PM

I went to Shimizu recently with two Japanese folks after we couldn't get into Yakitori Totto. After reading several positive posts about Shimizu I figured it's worth a try, so we sat at the bar and had an omakase meal. The itamae (I'm assuming that's Shimizu-san) was very cordial and professional. We first started with a sashimi platter that consisted of raw octopus with salt, o-toro, aji (horse mackerel), mirugai (geoduck), amaebi (sweet shrimp), and hotate (scallop) (possibly another item I'm forgetting). Most items very good. The octopus was very soft, without being overly chewy as octopus can be. There were some pieces of mirugai that had little lumps that were so hard, we had to spit it out. Loved the aji and the toro.

On to sushi, we got (in nor particular order) o-toro, magurozuke (soy seasoned tuna), uni, amaebi, kohada (gizzard shad), ika (squid), tai (I believe, it was some kind of white fish), we also got this nigiri of either baby eel or some eel innard (I couldn't understand the Japanese terms they were using) that had the hard-soft consistency of sea cucumber. I know I'm forgetting a couple items in the omakase, and at the end we requested an order of aji and tamago. We all had a bowl of suimono (soup); one nameko (mushroom), and two asari (clam). And we shared one dessert. All the while, one of our party, being a shochu aficionado, had a few glasses, and talking to Shimizu-san about the availability of certain brands of shochu. We were pretty well sated by the end of the meal. I thought we did pretty well, and not too much damage, until the bill came. $380 (for three of us). Bar tab at $50ish, desserts and soups at menu prices, but $270 for the sushi bar tab. I was estimating that our total for each of us would be around $80, but this was shocking. I think it showed on our faces. Especially from other posts here about the pricing, this was way out of whack from my expectations. But oh well. It was a very good meal, minus some misses.

I also noticed another couple that sat at the bar, one of whom was non-Japanese (possibly both). And I did notice that while they also ordered omakase, they were getting very different items than we got. For example, not a piece of salmon came near us, while they got a few, which I suppose is par for the course for discerning Japanese customers. I came to the conclusion that our being youngish hippish Japanese (more my companions than myself) probably worked against us at Shimizu. I know that was good o-toro, but was it that good? I'll know to be more careful when or if I hit Shimizu again. It also shed light on the relative bargain that Ichimura is. The $110 course dinner at Ichimura comes with more sushi and sashimi than we had at Shimizu, plus several other cooked dishes. I wish I knew I was going to take such a plunge at Shimizu, so I would have had the choice to spend less at Ichimura for more (and arguably better) food.

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