WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
The Warehouse District’s long-time sushi bar is as much a place to hang out and meet friends and fellow workers after hours as it is a fine Japanese restaurant. The quiet sanctity of the standard sushi bar is not really in evidence here, although this is no indication of carelessness. They execute the entire range of sushi, sashimi, and rolls well. Meanwhile, the kitchen runs specials that don’t always adhere to the Japanese theme a hundred percent.
The scene is distinctly different from that of most sushi bars, both in looks and in the eating. The large sushi bar is more heavily staffed than most, and not all of them are Asian. They are free to create and allow the customers to express their sushi fantasies. And they have fine raw materials to work with. The kitchen is also expert, with a particularly interesting menu of cooked appetizers.
The first Japanese restaurant anywhere downtown, Rock ‘n’ Sake opened in the 1990s. It opened other locations around town over the years, as well as a pan-Asian restaurant called Hipstix. But it always comes down, as it does now, to the original location, which remains steady.
The warehouse look is preserved in a big space that winds around from the front door through a conventional dining area past a very long sushi bar to the kitchen. Contemporary popular music plays in lieu of Japanese sounds.
»Steamed green mussels with sake butter.
»Sizzling squid (the big kind).
Gyoza (fried dumplings) or spicy gyoza soup.
Salmon skin salad.
Niku udon (beef broth with noodles and ribeye steak).
»Sushi and sashimi of all kinds.
Una don (barbecue eel and rice).
FOR BEST RESULTS
Sit at the sushi bar and jive with the chefs. They’re genuinely interested in making something special for you. As is always true in sushi places, take it easy on the crab salad.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The premises are a little spartan; might be time for a gentle renovation. The tables near the sushi bar are in kitchen traffic and uncomfortable.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment +1
- Consistency +1
- Attitude +1
- Wine & Bar +1
- Hipness +2
- Local Color +1
- Sidewalk tables
- Open Sunday dinner
- Open all afternoon
- Quick, good meal
- Reservations accepted
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
The quiet sanctity of the standard sushi bar is not really in evidence here. The hipness level–both in the food and the scene–defines the restaurant. So does the Warehouse District location, which brings in a certain bohemian looseness.
There is no carelessness at the sushi bar, though. They make all the standards here well. They also run specials that don’t always adhere to the Japanese theme a hundred percent. Fun, interesting, and pretty good, too.