Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sushi Zushi

If you've been reading these here pages, you know that I recently went to Beets Raw Foods Cafe in the relatively new 5th Street Commons building, between Mopac and Lamar. At the time, I was more concerned about figuring out parking that I didn't really notice the western-most tenant (as in, the business you past first, as you're headed eastbound on 5th) Sushi Zushi. So when a group of friends suggested meeting there for happy hour, I at least knew where the building was, and where to park! (There is a little bit of street parking right in front, but fortunately, there's ample parking, much of it indoors, behind the building. And if you park in the indoor garage, most of the retail businesses have an entrance from the garage and street sides.)

Never really having heard of Sushi Zushi,  I checked out their website before our happy hour. They appear to be a Texas-based chain, with 4 locations in San Antonio, 1 in Dallas, and 2 here; the other Austin locale is up north at the Domain. Their website says it best: "Sushi Zushi is all about variety. With an ever-growing menu of delightful sushi, as well as cooked items, there is something for everyone." And I must say: their menu is massive. Almost overwhelming, because there are so many choices. If you click on the menu link on their website, you'll open a seven-page PDF file. So if you don't like raw fish, there's noodles, grilled skewers, and little fried things, to name a few.

And, for happy hour, they have GREAT prices! They have a variety of food items that are nicely priced, and I believe all of their signature cocktails are $5. It's a big list of Asian-influenced cocktails, like a lycheetini and a basil yuzu drink (below). Unfortunately, neither their happy hour menu nor the cocktail menu are posted on line (boo!), so I can't remember the names of everything we had!
House seafood udon noodle bowl with salmon. Very nice dashi broth, hearty noodles.
Roll with tempura shrimp; the shrimp were nice and crisp with a light batter, and not greasy.
Bacon-wrapped asparagus on the left, and a roll that I am blanking on completely...We also had edamame and one of the yakimeshi stir-fried rice bowls.
For dessert, mochi ice cream (vanilla, chocolate, and mango) and tempura fried bananas with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. 
The layout is flowing, I'd say curvi-linear, with clean lines; also a private dining room for large groups. Our waitress attentive but not obtrusive. And I particularly liked the zori shoes (the wooden clogs that were the precursor to flip flops) hung on the bathroom doors indicating W or M -- just a fun touch! I do wish their expansive menu would have a bit more definition or description of what certain category of dishes are, and even more specifics within the line items too, like what is Tampa Bay sauce? 

Overall, the quality of our food was quite good, especially for the volume they are producing. It's certainly no Uchi/ko, or even Yanagi, but it was tasty, and a fun/affordable place for a gathering. 

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