The latest coupon has taken us to Sushi Samurai in Neutral Bay, a 1.5 hour drive away from home, for an all you can eat sushi deal ($65 for four, from Groupon). We were quite excited with this particular deal, as we’d had a memorable dinner at Sushi Samurai a year ago and had been meaning to go back.
The all-you-can-eat menu is a lot more organised than at our previous coupon experience at Wasabi Bistro, as it is an option that is normally available, but at a higher price, of course. When we arrive, the waiter explains the format of the buffet to us. Each person must start of with a starter, of a sushi platter, of which there are two choices, before being able to order the sushi and other dishes from the all-you-can-eat menu. We went with two of each of the platters (to share) to try a bit of everything.
We hadn’t read the menu properly at the time of ordering, so we were surprised when miso soup came, swiftly followed by adegashi tofu (it turns out that they’re included as part of the starter ‘platter’). The adegashi tofu was surprisingly delicious with its smooth texture, crispy exterior and incredibly tasty tentsuyu broth. And best of all, it was steaming hot on the insides! Even my mum, who isn’t usually fond of adegashi tofu, loved it.
Because we were in a relatively early timeslot (6:00pm- a result of the limited availability of groupon seatings per night), the sushi platters arrived quite quickly after. They were beautiful, and were well worth $17 in their own right, though we would have much rather chosen our own selection of sushi, as there were quite a few pieces of sushi that we weren’t too fond of. We ended up eating everything anyway, but noticed that many other groupon diners left behind quite a bit of uneaten sushi, which was a bit of a waste!
Option A consisted mostly of nigiri, with salmon, tuna, prawn, kingfish, squid (though the menu stated scallop instead) and egg omlette varieties on offer. We’re not usually really fond of (raw) scallop/squid sushi because of its texture, and unfortunately, this was no exception. The salmon, tuna and kingfish fare much better, though we though the rice was rather dry for our liking.
We are quick to pass the salmon roe gunkan to dad, as it’s one of his favourites. The rest of us however, cannot stand the taste of sea water bursting out of the little eggs with every bite! The sea urchin gunkan however, is left untouched until the end as we’re not really fond of the mushy texture of sea urchin either.
Option B offered more exciting choices of salmon aburi nigiri (grilled salmon sushi) as well as salmon/avocado and tuna rolls. Again, we found the rice rather dry, and perhaps it was this reason that the rolls weren’t rolled up as nicely as those we usually find in other Japanese restaurants.
Apart from the sushi, the all-you-can eat menu also offers a few other options. The menu states that each person an only order one dish at a time, which must be finished before ordering another, but we found that the waiters didn’t really mind if we ordered a little extra.
The fried oysters arrive first topped with a bit of warm egg salad. There was a lot more batter than oyster, and we didn’t think there was much of an oyster taste, but I still enjoyed it.We were a bit disappointed at the presentation of the non-sushi dishes in small white bowls which clearly distinguished the normal diners from the buffet ones, as the presentation of most of the normal mains was quite beautiful.
There’s quite a few choices for sushi, though they’re mostly the same ones that were on the platter. I’m not usually much of a fan of salmon aburi (grilled salmon) sushi, but order it anyway as it turns out that we’re not really interested in many of the sushi options available. I’m pleasantly surprised to find that this version is quite tasty, as it’s only lightly torched and it’s not overly smoky, whilst creating the interesting smooth texture you get with the transition between cooked and raw fish.
Salmon and Avocado Sushi