I decided it was time to forgive Shimizu for taking over Szechuan Garden--a beloved Chinese-Korean restaurant that resided on Piedmont Ave for a decade or maybe more. Shimizu did not really do anything bad or wrong. It's just guilt by association.
So, last Friday my guy and I decided to pay Shimizu a visit at 9 PM to check out the new kid on the block.
It was a beautiful evening on Piedmont Ave. It was not too cold and every restaurant on the entire block of Piedmont Ave was packed with merry diners. Parking was difficult and we had to circle the neighborhood few times We saw that there was a line at Shimizu. One more try and we snagged a parking space at Shimizu's free parking lot! We were seated as soon as we walked in. The diners were finishing up their dinner.
I was almost expecting the neurotic classical kitschy decor of Szechuan Garden to greet us but we were welcomed by a cozy contemporary sushi joint.
The highlight of the evening was the "FLAMING DRAGON." This sushi came wrapped in a foil and arrived on table still "on fire." No, don't call Oakland Fire Dept yet. The flames are meant to "cook" the sushi. When the fire goes out, you open the foil and voila! There comes your hot steaming sushi roll of deep fried shrimp, crab and spicy tuna with salmon, yellowtail, tuna and tobiko.
Shimizu is not for the sushi purist. However, Shimizu has an extensive menu of very creative sushi including a lot of deep-fried stuff. This is a place to bring your adventurous spirit and try the sushi rolls with creative names.
Everything we had was noticeably fresh. The sushi rice was cooked properly--not too sticky or too hard that they fall apart. The portions were adequate with generous portions of fish on top of the sushi rice.
The GYOZAS were crispy, light and not greasy.
The 4 OYSTERS ON HALF-SHELL were freshly shucked and came chilled in ice with ponzu sauce.
The FATTY TUNA nigiri was delicious at a market price of $12.95.
We also had TAKO nigiri, CHARISMA (deep fried shrimp, crab and spicy tuna with tuna and avocado) as well as ICHIBAN (Eel, cucumber with spicy tuna.)
Very friendly and efficient staff. Nice ambiance. Good sushi. I think we found our new favorite sushi place in our hood.
Our tab came out to be $77 including a soda, small hot sake and tax before tip. Yes, we were very hungry that night!
FOODIE GIRL'S RATING: 4 STARS for creative sushi rolls, very nice staff and contemporary ambiance.