Monday, November 09, 2009

I Think I Have a Sushi Problem – November 6 and 7, 2009

I had JUST finished writing that Jimmy and I would save Sima Sushi for special occasions in my last post, and now, we’ve eaten there twice this past weekend. For no apparent reason. Friday’s dinner celebrated the weekend (it's Friday!), and Saturday’s lunch (not pictured)… well, there’s no excuse for Saturday. We were out shopping, realized we were hungry, and stopped at the closest open restaurant… which happened to be Sima Sushi.

Yeah, we may have a sushi addiction on our hands.

We decided to visit Sima Sushi again after Jimmy watched me edit the previous pictures and type up a post. “Stop blogging about Sima Sushi. The pictures are making me crave sushi,” he complained. Twenty minutes later, we were getting ready to go out for more Sima Sushi.

We were pleasantly surprised that the place was packed when we arrived. Mostly small groups of friends, a few couples on dates, and the loud buzz meant that everyone was having a good time. In fact, when I looked around, there was a nice mix of demographics. They were undergrads mostly but also older graduate students, tourists, and Kingston couples and families. Although most of the crowd was white, there was sprinkling of Asians, too. It looked like the type of crowd that Ta-Ke Sushi used to attract.

Once we were seated, we both agreed that we weren’t going to mess around. Jimmy wanted sashimi, and I was craving their rolls. We both had a small bowl of salad and miso soup included with our meals (no pictures).

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Jimmy ordered the regular sashimi dinner (as opposed to the deluxe), and he really enjoyed it. It came with a platter of the usual suspects: salmon, tuna, and red snapper. It also had butterfish (that wonderfully porky stuff I couldn’t identify last week), tuna tataki (seared tuna), and a squid roll. This was served with a small bowl of rice that had a single soybean on top. Jimmy didn’t like the rice because it was scraped from the bottom of the pot, ruining his expectation for fluffy, sticky, sushi rice.

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Jimmy loved the fact that he received two servings of salmon, his favourite, but he was even more impressed with the tuna tataki. It was slightly seared and lightly marinated, which both intensified and mellowed out the flavours. The thin layer of cooked tuna contrasted really nicely with the suppleness of the raw part. This became Jimmy’s new favourite.

I tried the squid roll, but I didn’t like the way that the ingredients fell apart in my mouth when I chewed. It was a little unsettling, and I felt like a little bit of rice would have gone a long way to harmonizing the different textures (chewy squid, tiny popping pearls of roe, and creamy avocado).

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Having a serious craving for their makimono, I ordered a trio of rolls: tekka, spicy salmon, and the Rockstar.

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The tekka (tuna) roll was quite delicious in its simplicity. I attribute this to the freshness of the fish itself. There are only three elements to a tekka maki: the nori, the sushi rice, and the tuna. The tuna was very fresh and it really showed. Other tekka rolls are often boring and uninteresting, but Sima Sushi’s version was delicious. The texture and flavour of not-so-fresh fish can’t be disguised in this simple roll, and this roll was actually outstanding.

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Moving up on the maki complexity chart, I had the spicy salmon roll. I can’t normally tell the difference between a spicy salmon and a spicy tuna, but I definitely can at Sima Sushi. The flavour is both similar (the ingredients) and completely different (the fish) at the same time. I ordered the salmon because I already ordered a tekka maki.

It was delicious! The salmon actually tasted like salmon, and the cucumbers balanced well with the tempura crisps, the spicy mayo, and the fish. While eating this, I came to the realization that this was my favourite version of the spicy salmon/tuna maki because it wasn’t rolled inside out (rice on the outside). The rice acts like a buffer between the flavourful filling and the texturally different nori. I’ll have to keep this in mind when I eat at other places now.

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At the very top of the maki food chain, the Rockstar roll was a garish monstrosity compared to the tekka and spicy salmon rolls. The Rockstar had all of my favourite maki ingredients: shrimp tempura, avocado, roe, spicy salmon, and cucumbers. This was sinfully delicious and very rich. It is the ultimate decadent roll. Unfortunately, I ended up eating too much of this, and the plain grease and heft of it filled me up within fifteen minutes.

Note to self: one big roll and a small roll is enough for dinner. Three rolls was overkill.

We finished with hot green tea (free) and took our time digesting. It was amazing to see how quickly the tables turned over, as well as the sheer amount of tables they turned while we were there. It was at capacity from 6:30 to 7:30, but since the tables were turned so quickly, no one waited more than five minutes for their table.

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The final bill came to $43.84 before tip, a cheap price for dinner in comparison with a steak dinner (just as filling, though with less variety) which easily costs twice that amount, even without drinks. We blissfully meandered our way back home, promising that we’d visit again soon. We didn’t realize just HOW soon we would be seeing them.

(There aren’t any pictures after this point, so feel free to skip it if you’re here for the food porn.)

The very next morning, Jimmy and I went shopping for brunch materials. On our way back home, Jimmy proclaimed that he was starving, so we agreed that we would eat at the next open restaurant. Somehow, that turned out to be Sima Sushi.

It’s bad when the sushi chefs and waitress recognize you from the night before and greet you with, “You’re back? You’re having sushi for breakfast?” It was shameful, but we really couldn’t get enough.

Jimmy ordered the regular sashimi lunch, and I had the sushi lunch A. I don’t remember exactly what it came with, but they were the usual selection: salmon, tuna, red snapper, California roll. I still can’t get over how delicious their California rolls are. For all you California roll haters, have some at Sima Sushi, and you’ll be blown away!

We still had room for more after finishing our lunches, so we ordered a spicy salmon (or was it tuna) roll to share. It was gooooooooood.

The bill came to $30 (including tax and tip), and while it’s expensive for a lunch option, it’s perfect for a special occasion.

While we were eating lunch (we were the first customers), people trickled in steadily. In fact, there were four other tables by the time we finished about a half hour later. It’s obvious that the word is getting out about Sima Sushi.

It makes me happy to see this new place thrive, and I just hope that the quality doesn’t decline. Either way, Jimmy and I plan on visiting often enough to be able to see the difference. I’m not sure this sushi addiction will be going away any time soon!

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  1. As if you ate sushi that often. That's bad man... Next time, take me with you!! I say you should do an interview with the chef and/or owner. It'll be the first interview on the site - ever. Think about it... =P

  2. It's been a while since we had sushi (up until these past two weeks), so we were just treating ourselves.

    An interview is definitely possible. I'll think about it.


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