Tomo Dachi might be one of our favorite restaurants in town, and not just because we're suckers for a good sushi joint. The fish is all impeccably fresh, you can order their real wasabi for just a little upcharge, they usually have a couple of things we've not seen before in our local susheterias, and the folks behind the sushi bar are always friendly - if a little tipsy. But then hey, so are we!
If I had one complaint about the place, it would be that depending on how you order, you might end up with lots of dishes flavored with sriracha, yuzu, and cilantro. I love those ingredients, just not when half my raw fish tastes like them. But that didn't happen the last time we were there.
It was a busy Friday, and we had a late show of Inglorious Basterds to catch at the Alamo. We were seated right away at the bustling sushi bar, and just a few moments later were relaxing with our sake and our first bites of nigiri.
Their specials board is always worth a look, and two of these three items were on it. From left, we have "live" octopus (which I think means it's transported live, but I'm not certain), which had a nice springiness and was complemented by the slight heat of the sriracha and the minty strength of the shiso. The hamachi toro (yellowtail belly) in the middle just melted everywhere - and that's their fresh wasabi on top. It's more floral-tasting, without that ridiculous burning of fake horseradish wasabi paste. On the right is kohada, a silverskin fish with that oily slight fishiness of mackerel. I loved it, but our sushi chef did say it's not for everyone. Look at that knife work!
Next up, a beautiful dish of red snapper that disappeared with a quickness.
Again with the shiso, which was tasty, and a bit of green onion. So fresh, so nice.
Then, we had another dish off the specials board, the kumamoto oysters.
These were served with that seasoning trio Tomo loves: sriracha, cilantro, and (I think?) yuzu - there was definitely something citrusy happening. Too bad it's been a while since we enjoyed this meal. I love oysters, and kind of wanted something even simpler than their sriracha/cilantro combo. It's a good combination, don't get me wrong, but it was a bit overpowering with the otherwise subtle Japanese oysters.
The next dish was again a special, and my favorite of the night: live eel topped with a yuzu/salt condiment. Our awesome sushi chef (Steve, the owner, actually!) showed me the little container the condiment came in, but hey! it was all in Japanese, so it didn't mean much to me.
The eel was nicely fatty, as eel should be, and the salty citrus cut right through that and made the whole package fantastic. Oh man.
Next up, a more commonly found fish (and Logan's favorite) the escolar. Or super white tuna.
This came straightforwardly done, painted with the perfect amount of soy sauce and topped with a bit more of their fresh wasabi. It may have been the best version of escolar I've tried. It was so much better than those flat white squared-off blocks you see in some restaurants as to be a completely different fish.
Our last fish of the evening was a recommendation, the fatty salmon. And oh boy was it.
Not that that's a complaint, mind you. It was just so oily, in that fresh-fish way, that it was almost overpowering. The salmon fat remained in my mouth for several moments after I swallowed my bite, reminding me that fish isn't always necessarily the leanest protein you can eat. But it's omega 3s, right? And a small portion. I'm not going to sweat it.
We often like to order tamago as an end to our meal. The Japanese egg omelet over rice usually has a bit of sweetness to it, so we pretend it's dessert. Plus, it's not one of those freezer-burn mochi that seem to be the order of the day at lots of sushi restaurants around here. So, we ordered our tamago, and Steve asked us if we wanted to try a slightly different preparation. Why not?
The egg came out split and stuffed with rice, shiso leaf, and a smear of ume (pickled plum). The interplay of sweet, starch, sour, and strength from the shiso was fun and tasty, but not at all desserty. I liked it, though. Not only were the flavors all complementary, the texture changed agreeably as you bit through the soft egg to the sweetly vinegared rice in the center.
Even though this was our first visit to Tomo in many months (it's been a slow year for work around here), everything was still top notch. I'm never really tempted by their rolls or entrees because their nigiri is so good, but I see people happily eating them all around me, so... maybe someday. For now, though, I'll stick to their superfresh, simply dressed fish, and keep checking their chalkboard specials.
Tomo Dachi (no website!) 4101 W. Parmer. 512.821.9472.