Review of Sansui West
Located in a small strip mall in the old Ted & Tieko’s space in Warson Woods, Sansui (West) is the sister restaurant to Sansui in the CWE. The space was renovated many years ago, and is much larger inside than it appears from out front. A comfortable Japanese – American feel, a little darker than some places but not as much as others. A nice size sushi bar is on the left, and although I forgot to count the tables I’ll say there are about 25. Parking and wheelchair access are very good. Prices are average for the region, although there are several well-priced dinner sushi platters.
The club (the Kosher Sushi Club) was there about a year or so ago to generally excellent reviews. Hama is at the helm, although last night he wasn’t behind the bar. Food-wise, the overall result was a very good but not outstanding meal for each of us. Sansaui West is much better than the original location, which itself is OK but unremarkable..
The rice had a great depth of flavor. (I later found out he uses a “brown” rice that is essentially polished more than brown but not as much as white. The appearance of the rice is white and with none of the chewiness that good brown rice has, but it retains some of the flavor.) There was too much sweetness in the seasoning for my tastes, but I like subtle seasoning. It does pair well with some fish, such as salmon. While I like the ocasional "inventive" roll I usually get nigiri and a simple roll - especially when reviewing. A couple of other club people got rolls and their overall impressions were the same.
The fish was average to excellent. My hamachi had that wonderful deep, lingering yet fresh aftertaste, and the salmon also had a nice depth of flavor. Hama house smokes some of the seafood, with different results each time I go, and different for each type of seafood. The first time was wonderful, later (last club meeting there) it was too strong, and last night was in-between. Miso soup was excellent, with a little shitake in it. We were given a small, great cucumber – smoked octopus salad to start, with masago adding crunchiness and color, and a well-balanced dressing. By itself the octopus would have been too strongly smoked, but it worked perfectly in the salad. (My chef’s brain wonders if just a touch of shiso chiffonade would work well or be too much. Hmmm…)
When at it’s full game Sansui West is one of the best sushi bars in the region, and even when not top tier is still very good. If you like smoked foods it’s what separates Sansui West from all of the other sushi bars in the region. Definately worth a try!