Monday, May 08, 2006

Naomi Sushi, Menlo Park

On Saturday night, Jon and I were leaving a gathering in Los Altos where lots of "heavy appetizers" were served. Since the evening was all about meeting new people (the incoming class for Jon's graduate school program), we realized that with all of the chatting, we had barely eaten anything. So we decided to drive around Los Altos a bit, in search of food.

It was 8:30pm -- remember, it's a SATURDAY -- and we found NOTHING open. Jon thought of a fish'n'chips place that he passes all the time during his bike rides, but it was shutting down as we drove by. It was about then that I decided I was craving sushi. We hit El Camino Real, destination Naomi Sushi.

I had read a lot of good things about the restaurant and was delighted that it was still open when we pulled into the parking lot. The space is broken up into two rooms, with a sushi bar in the front. The menu is primarily sushi, although there are a handful of Japanese dishes as well (including udon, which I love). But on this particular night, we were there to sample some sushi. And the tempura appetizer -- because fried foods are my weakness.

While I liked the mix of veggies in the tempura order (yams, zucchini, carrots, squash) and the batter itself was good, there was a little bit too much excess batter for my taste. But I just left the extra crispy bits on the plate, so no big deal.

Now on to the sushi... Jon was happy to see that the menu states that you can create your own sushi. He hates restaurants that don't let you request a specific combination. He went with the tuna and avocado, which was fresh and delicious. Then we split two rolls (eight pieces each): eel and crunchy shrimp; and spicy tuna topped with spicy yellowtail. Thumbs up for both, but I will say that the crunchy shrimp part of the first roll wasn't quite what I expected. I mistakenly thought it would have tempura shrimp inside the roll. It turned out to be tiny shrimps and cucumber (the crunchy) and crab meat. And the spicy roll was not THAT spicy. Thank goodness for wasabi.

The next time we visit -- and we both agreed there would be a next time -- I may have to order the Omakase (chef's choice) to experience a better range of sushi. I was happy with the service (my cup of green tea was constantly refilled, the staff was friendly), and the price is about what you would pay at any other sushi joint.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, they close at 9:30pm on a Saturday night. We barely made it in!

1328 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA
(650) 321-6902