Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sammy Sushi

For the first couple months in SD, I languished without the comfort of relatively close-by Sushi Komasa back when I was at 'Tech and the summer when I took the metro to Long Beach for work. (Sushi Komasa is in one of the main plazas in Little Tokyo, a couple blocks east of the Civic Center Red Line Stop and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Also, expect an upcoming post on Sushi Komasa.)

Googling for Sushi Komasa yields Kirk's website, which is lucky for me, since Kirk is based in San Diego. Hell, if his wife loves albacore as much as I do, then their sushi recommendation must be pretty good. They also love Ba-Ren, which dishes up some pretty good szechuan. (Expect that in an upcoming post, too.) [Edit: part 1 is up now]

Anyway, word has it, Sammy Sushi is on their regular rotation, so I decided to check it out. Overall, the feel of Sammy Sushi is more laid-back than Komasa, where there is what amounts to a musical chair-like rush for seats when they open. Sammy is slightly pricier, but on par for San Diego, where food is generally more expensive than in LA; in fact, I think Sammy might even be slightly cheaper than some other non-generic sushi bars. Regardless, I have always thought the nigiri at Sammy's is particularly fresh, especially whatever specials he happens to have. You can't go wrong with Albacore, Aji, or Toro when they're on special. Here is the Aji (Spanish mackerel, NOT to be confused with Saba, the standard mackerel) :

Aji has a creamier flavor, I think. Generally, I just don't like Saba, but Aji is totally different.

Because of his Korean ethnicity, Sammy also offers a Kalbi BBQ bento in addition to the standard teriyaki and katsu bentos. For $12.95, you get a lot of food. Here is the chicken katsu:

They ran out of pork, so my tonkatsu got turned into a torikatsu. It doesn't make that much difference to me, normally, but the chicken was overdone, not juicy, mostly tough inside, with a little too much crunchiness. I always enjoy the sesame-flavored salad dressing, the California rolls are standard, and the tempura was piping hot when this got served to me. This explains why there is half a tempura shrimp missing. :)

Oh yes, it also comes with miso soup.

I usually get the Tomato Roll (tuna on the outside, spicy scallop on the inside) since I am a fan of tuna, scallops, and spicy foods. I'm not sure who came up with this roll, as a friend of mine has mentioned that it is available in other sushi places, but it's not very common, but very very tasty. This time, however, I switched it up and went for #13 (shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber on the inside, spicy scallop and tempura flakes on the outside with a sweet sauce):

If you see this on the menu, you will agree with me that the picture in the menu does not do this roll justice. It is quite delicious, although a little sweet for my tastes. I also recommend the Caterpillar, although what exactly is in it escapes my mind at the moment.

Sammy is also famous for his "One Night Stand" roll, where he or Kira (his sous-chef) comes up with something new, with the promise to not remember how to make it the next day. :)

Of course, this means, Sammy will also do custom requests, so if you have a particular roll you like that is not on the menu, they will be glad to make it for you.

BTW, I also had an order of Toro, which was some of the best I've ever had, very very melt-in-your-mouth creamy. Alas, it was so good, I forgot to take a picture. :)

Sammy Sushi
7905 Engineer Road
San Diego, CA 92111

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