Sunday, October 13, 2013

Restaurant Review: Satomi Sushi

Satomi Sushi - lunch on September 29, 2013
Let's start off with a caveat that I don't eat sushi so the review for this restaurant, despite its name, doesn't include the sushi because I've never tried it.  I've gone here before with my family and my nieces have had it and say it's good but that's the closest opinion I can offer. They do have a number of sushi offerings though if you check out their menu and I know I've seen some fascinating, artfully created sushi plates come out so if you are a sushi fan, it might be worth looking into.  They do have a 4-star rating on yelp from 1080 reviews so they seem to have quite a following.
Satomi Sushi is in a somewhat weird location in a small strip mall with a few other Asian restaurants and random small storefronts.  The stores aren't really retail stores but places that offer services.  I can't remember which ones since I don't go there that often but it's like for tax services or massages or nails. It's not the type of strip mall you drive to just to walk around (which would take about 3 minutes if you're a slow walker).  When you come here, you're pretty much coming for a specific purpose, like Satomi Sushi.  Or tax consulting.
The interior
The inside is rather small so I wouldn't recommend this for a group larger than 8 unless you try to make arrangements with the restaurant ahead of time for a large party.  You're greeted as you walk in and the wait staff is pretty friendly.  We got there right when it opened so it was still fairly empty but it filled up quickly.  There wasn't a line out the door or anything but by the time we left, most of the tables were full.
Miso soup
The meal starts off with the standard bowl of miso soup that is commonly served in most Japanese restaurants.  My dad ordered the tempura with udon (bowl of noodle soup) and the tempura came out first, prettily arranged in a clever bamboo (?) server.  I think that'd be fun to serve lumpia in too.
My mom got the bento box and you can choose from several different combinations for the bento.  She got the chicken teriyaki and tempura which also came with salad, rice and sushi.
Bento Box with Chicken Teriyaki, Tempura and Sushi
My "safety order" at a Japanese restaurant is teriyaki, either beef or chicken.  I know, I know, true lovers of Japanese food are cringing. But whaddaya gonna do - I am what I am.  I got the beef teriyaki this time and I've ordered it before and it was good then but on this particular visit, they overcooked the beef and some of it was tough.  There were even a few pieces they included that were charred beyond tasty consumption.
Beef Teriyaki
I don't know if the kitchen was just off on this particular day but the service was slow.  Our server was very nice and I know it wasn't her fault but the food took a long time in coming, long enough for my order to burn at any rate. I always give some leeway on slow service if the restaurant is packed but we had arrived early enough to be the third table seated so I don't know what the reason was.  My dad's order of tempura with udon arrived separately and the tempura came out first but by the time the udon came out, we had almost finished eating so he took most of it to go.  I wouldn't let one bad dish or one instance of slow service turn me off from the place but this last visit was disappointing.
Orange chunks - the standard "dessert"
Oh and price point for Satomi Sushi is in the mid range.  Like almost all Japanese restaurants I've gone to, they're higher than the average Asian restaurant.  While you can find entrees and lunch specials for less than $10 at a typical Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese restaurant, Japanese restaurants invariably charge more, especially if they specialize in sushi.  My theory is they can't/don't want to charge low prices for sushi (you get what you pay for and would you really risk eating cheap sushi?) and therefore they keep the non-sushi items at the higher price points as well or else no one would ever order the sushi. That's my theory anyway.

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