a couple friday's ago, my friends called me up to see if i felt like sushi. better question is, when do i not feel like sushi?!?! J suggested shiku in ballard, which she and her husband enjoyed several weeks earlier. i'd never been, so of course i was into it!
of course it's a friday. and ballard. so by the time we walked in at 6:30, all the tables were full and the wait was approximately an hour longer than we were willing to stand around in the freezing cold. so we walked to sam's sushi just up the street across market.
in all my years living in ballard, i had never eaten at sam's...gasp! i figured that if i wanted sushi, i would go to the places i already loved (maneki, mashiko, etc) instead of this amazingly-convenient, 2-block-away restaurant next to my old shoe repair go-to.
as soon as J and i walked in, we saw the place was pretty packed, but there was only one couple in front of us. we weren't greeted and there was no visible wait list. after wondering if i would have to walk across the crowded restaurant to the "front" desk for 10 minutes with no acknowledgment from any of the staff, i got up and asked someone who i mistakenly identified as the host how long the wait would be. she said she wasn't sure. i let her know we had a party of 5, and she said about 10 minutes. during those ten minutes, i watcher her approach a solitary patron seated in a booth if he could move to a 2-top, and he obliged. weird, right?
anyhow, enough talk. not enough pictures.
we ordered the large sashimi appetizer plate, which took about 20 minutes to arrive. isn't the point of an appetizer to come before the entrees? if so, sam's missed the point. we were all ravenous by the time any food arrived! perhaps hunger and nothing to eat is the best appetizer of all.
m chose the lobster roll. i actually didn't have any because i'm not a huge fan of lobster, and since there were only 5 pieces, i figured everyone else would appreciate a taste more than me.
next came the rainbow, spicy scallop, and spider rolls. the rainbow roll is a perennial favorite if only because of the variety of fish draped over the top. it was solid. the salmon, maguro, and whitefish were nothing special. in fact, it wasn't flavor but texture that really distinguished them. hrm. the spicy scallop was nice. sushi is pretty much the only application where i enjoy scallop crudo. however, it was severely lacking the "spicy" portion as advertised on the menu. the spider roll was the best out of these three. sweet, fried softshell crab...i mean, c'mon. the only way to ruin this is to use old oil or burn the crab.
hmm, caterpillar roll. i don't think i had any. or did i? apparently this was an extremely memorable dish. success!
and last were the red dragon and california crunch rolls. the red dragon was supposed to be spicy (i assume...either that or a super-secret, underground ninja crime syndicate!), but 'twas not. the maguro and mild kewpie mayo stripe-age was nice, though. ah yes, the california crunch roll was basically a california roll (amateur, i know), but with tempura shrimp millefiore'd inside and them tempura-ed itself! again. frying. hard to eff up.
overall sam's was nothing special. it was solid. no offensive errors. no stellar standouts. sam's hit the spot when we needed it the most. ...and were on a schedule (K had to work at 9).