Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Trip to Kuchi Sushi

“What’s in a name that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell just as sweet” –Juliet from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. A name like “Kuchi Sushi” from an average American with no Japanese language/linguistic background it’s enough to make an eyebrow raise. Don’t feel alone. Even a Latino gentleman seated behind us had some joking wordplay that he exchanged with his table mates “Kuchi Sushi…what did you come here for hmm…?” “Well at least you know what you came here for…” *smhis you can’t take some people anywhere! He used a long “u” by the way, so phonetically speaking there was the rub/ punch-line.

Anyways, on to the review. We arrived well after 8 pm on a Saturday night on Valentine’s. There was a 35-45 minute wait. The worst was to be expected and honestly that was nowhere near as bad as what we expected. The whole sushi side of the restaurant is open, often the door was opening and closing or propped open easily making a chilly night in the 50s-40s uncomfortable. By the way, bring patience on a busy night as they still seat by pen and pad. Mix ups may occur as to sushi vs hibachi side. Don’t think of asking to be moved once seated, it will be an issue. They could benefit from creating a vestibule or sectioning off the waiting area. There is ample seating on the hibachi side. I counted about 10 hibachi tables. Honestly, I think that they should take out at least 2 possibly 3 of those to accommodate their sushi side. Or give guests the option to sit at the rear tables that does not have a hibachi grill attached. I would say that the sushi side of the restaurant has at least 4 tables possibly 5. There are two bars though. I usually am not so petty to get into seating however it was an issue during our visit.

Our waitress was attentive but new. However, she was soon traded off, we had made a couple of requests and she seemed unsure of herself. I guess they figured with things being so busy they couldn’t afford a mistake or oversight. The other seemed more seasoned. We started with the shrimp tempura. The tempura was very light, crunchy, fluffy and flaky. Very light on the salt, but you don’t miss it because of the natural flavor. The sweet potato and potato were a surprise. Though I preferred the lighter and less starchy vegetables like broccoli, squash and zucchini. There were only two extra large shrimp perfectly cooked, butterflied, and formed into perfect sticks.

It took us a while to decide because there are several rolls to choose from. And I mean several! Ultimately, we chose the Painted Lady Roll and the Sunshine Roll. It took a long time (well...seemingly so) as each roll was hand crafted. The sushi chefs look more like surgeons, they even wear plastic shield masks working quietly and meticulously with sharp knives and raw fish among other tools and ingredients. (I have been to quite a few sushi restaurants but seeing that was a first). Despite the wait you have to respect the craft, art, and how meticulous they are at what they do. With sushi presentation is a very important component as well. Likewise, the presentation, plating and taste are all A+/ 5*. Besides, as far as the wait is concerned that is what appetizers are for lol. So of course one of my tips is to know what you want  but be prepared to wait.
As for the rolls, both rolls were good. However the Painted Lady Roll was more cohesive and complimentary in overall taste, flavor, and texture. The Painted Lady Roll was made up of spicy lobster, mango, asparagus inside topped with spicy tuna, avocado with a spicy mango sauce. The spicy tuna is a standout and the spicy lobster is rich but subtle. The avocado is smooth and creamy, it counteracts the spice giving it balance so the spiciness does not overtake the whole roll. The mango has a subtle sweetness, it’s sweet but not overtly so. The asparagus helps give the roll a crisp fresh taste. The Sunshine Roll was made up of salmon tempura, avocado, topped with salmon (raw), tempura flakes and spicy sauce. It was good, fresh, looked great plated even had a decent flavor but was a bit of a clash for me. The components in the middle of the roll seemed to clash. It just was not as cohesive as the Painted Lady Roll. There was something missing and there was something that had to go and I think it was the salmon tempura. Papa Smurf didn’t care for it as much as the other roll, though we continued to share each. (In the title picture: The painted Lady Roll is in the front, the Sunshine Roll in the back).

As for location, the restaurant shares the same lot as Veteran’s movie theater, a bunch of other restaurants and a Cold Stone Creamery. So it’s a great venue for a typical dinner and a movie date night. Green Gator’s is right next door for those who still like to drink, party, cut a rug and lose a glass slipper, as for myself I am long retired from that lol.

Overall, everything was fresh. Although they were very busy and made a seating mistake, they were polite and attentive. They gave apologies a few times for the wait and asked if we wanted or needed anything to make the wait less bothersome though we weren’t that bothered by it. We will definitely go again. probably on a day that is not as busy as Valentine’s. I would order the painted Lady Roll again and again. It was definitely our favorite of the two. I have to say this was one of my best experiences. To my Maryland readers if you are ever in the area, definitely check out Kuchi Sushi and Hibachi. If you are looking for a good local spot check out Sushi King in Columbia, MD. Sushi King was also one of my BEST sushi experiences "pre-food- blogging" days and the ratings are still really good to this day!

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