Those who think of sushi as a delicate, even fey, type of food are in for a shock at Kaz Sushi Bistro. Let's just say Osaka-trained chef Kaz Okochi is very fond of wasabi (the peppery Japanese green mustard); and he sees no reason not to mix the flavors of the sea with some of the most pungent ones found on land. So a plate of sushi might include the most delicate of fresh scallops with a punch of chili pepper; a piece of piece of ruby red tuna with shaved black truffle; or salmon with a tangy mango puree. I have to say, it’s a nice change from the more staid approach usually applied to Japanese cuisine in the U.S. And it's not done to cover up any deficiencies in the fish, which is super-fresh and silky in textrue. The "must order" here is the "bird's nest", a plate that looks like what it's called, which has a core of melting uni (sea urchin) surrounded by tender slivers of squid and topped with crunchy chards of dried seaweed. Tip: To try a variety of sushi, order one of the chef's tasting plates; a la carte orders require diners to choose a minimum of two pieces of each type of nigiri sushi (a shame).
The only "vanilla" part of dining here is the décor, which is bland in the extreme—neutral colors, no art, sheer drapes at the window (been there, done that). Don’t let the lack of style in the decorating put you off though: there’s enough of it on the plate to make up for the inelegance of the room.
- Pauline Frommer