Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Azuma (downtown)

For lunch, SushiLover and I sauntered a block from the office to dine at the mildly trendy Azuma, a sushi and robata bar.

Our menu:
Rolls: Spicy Salmon, Spider, Unagi
Salads: Seaweed, Cucumber

I generally order the Red River miso soup here, a semi-fiery broth with shrimp, crab, fish, tofu and glass noodles. It’s big enough for two meals. But since I was with a recent convert to the delights of sushi -- who had not had sushi since Saturday and needed his fix -- we shared some rolls. It was a beautiful Houston day, perfect for dining al fresco.

SushiLover, by the way, is a food blogger’s ideal dining companion. He does not complain as you arrange and rearrange dishes to get decent shots. In fact, he helped set up a few.

Anyway, back to the fish. I’ve only had sushi at Azuma once – with SushiLover and another friend, though SushiLover did not even like sushi at the time -- and found it a bit lacking. The fish was too mushy then. Same thing happened again with my spicy salmon roll. The flavor? Fine, if not very spicy. That’s why I go the Red River route. (For lunchtime sushi, I usually head to
Tropioca for a to-go tray from Cafe Japon.)

What pleased me this time at Azuma was the unagi. While trying to decide which eel roll to order, I asked the waiter about the difference between the freshwater unagi and saltwater anago. Fatty v. lean, he answered. The choice for my butter- and pate-loving palate was obvious! The unagi was rich and a tad sweet from the sauce; I would’ve been very happy eating that eel with a bowl of rice.

The rest of our food was pleasant but not memorable. More enjoyable was watching SushiLover pile on the wasabi and eventually drain half a bottle of soy sauce. He said he likes the way the wasabi hits your nose, then disappears…Like a hit of kerosene!

I had to ask: Um, have you ever had a hit of kerosene?

No, he replied.

Till our next food adventure.

By the way, my fav. Houston spot for sushi, particularly for a nice, simple piece of salmon sashimi -- and a free scoop of green tea ice cream(!) -- is the understated
Osaka in Montrose.

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