Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Fish Tale

I've been trying to find decent sushi in Astoria and so I did a bit of Internet research, hitting up the usual board suspects. As it turns out, only Chowhound had any useful threads on sushi and Astoria and the general consensus was that Watawa Sushi was the most decent it got for this part of Queens.

I found the Watawa menu online. I should state upfront that I'm not big into sushi rolls; I like my fish cold, fresh, firm, and raw. For me, sashimi is the name of the game. If a restaurant serves proper sashimi, they have my business indefinitely.

So sashimi it was, though I supplemented my order with a clear soup (broth with enoki mushrooms and sliced snow peas) and wasabi shumai (open dumplings stuffed with water chestnut, pork, wasabi, and tobiko). As far as the actual fish was concerned, I ordered a la carte: tuna, white tuna, striped bass, yellowtail, scallops, and amaebi (sweet shrimp). Sweet shrimp are different from the traditional shrimp served in sushi restaurants. First of all, they're served raw, while regular shrimp are caught, frozen, poached, and chilled. Second of all, they're, well, sweet.

It would have been hard to mess up the clear soup, and the plentiful enoki mushrooms made it worth my while. The wasabi shumai were perfect and sinus-clearing, just the way I like them. My fish order, however, got mangled in the delivery process.

In lieu of scallops, I received raw sliced octopus. I love octopus when it has been braised and grilled, when it has had the opportunity to shed its chewiness. But raw octopus? Not exactly my bag. Regrettably, I sent those two pieces to the garbage gods.

The striped bass was, by far, the sashimi winner. It was very fresh and actually tasted like bass. Bad sashimi often tastes like nothing at all. The yellowtail was tasty but not as firm as I generally like it. Ditto for the tuna. The white tuna was lush and reminiscent of toro. As for the amaebi, what arrived was actually a single poached shrimp. Maybe they cook their shrimp at Watawa, or maybe I got the wrong order. Regardless, it wasn't what I'd been hoping for.

I guess the most redeeming part was that dinner only came to $25, and that included tax and a tip for my friendly deliveryman. For sashimi, that's a steal. And it beats the pants off its nearest rival, Go Wasabi. I'll probably be ordering again.

Watawa Sushi
33-10 Ditmars Boulevard
Astoria, NY 11105

No comments: