Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Two Great Pieces of Sushi News

I went to college down in Tucson. While there, friends introduced me to a terrific Japanese restaurant called Sushi Ten. The food was top-notch, and the prices were an outstanding value. Indeed, Sushi Ten was one of the things I really missed about Tucson; there's plenty of Japanese restaurants around town, but none that came quite close to the charm of Sushi Ten. Then, a few months ago I found out the owners of Sushi Ten were planning to sell the restaurant and move up here. A month or two ago, they landed here and opened their new restaurant, Sushi Ken, over on Chandler Boulevard a little east of 40th Street, in the same shopping centre as CK's Tavern. I am very pleased to report that the menu is every bit as expansive as the one at Sushi Ten, and the food is every bit as terrific as it was down in Tucson. My friend and I got a 12-piece sashimi sampler plate, pork katsu donburi (a rice bowl topped with fried pork cutlet, sauteed onion, and egg), and sukiyaki chicken. All of it was top-notch, and the bill came to less than 30 dollars.

Now, on to even better news. A few years ago, there was an unbelievable sushi restaurant in Chandler not far from where Sushi Ken is now, called Shinbay. Shinbay was by far the best sushi restaurant I had been to, and indeed one of the best restaurants I have dined at in my life. I can still vividly remember the flavors of the meal including oysters in black bean sauce, and mussels in a very complex broth. Then, just over a year ago, Shinbay closed up shop. There was a note on the webpage saying to email them to find out where chef Shinji Kurita was now. I tried that route, to no avail, and eventually forgot all but the Shin of his name. Then, some discussion on Chowhound revealed the rest of his name to me. I then realized that the marquee for one of my favorite Chinese restaurants, Autumn Court over on 38th Street and Indian School, has been advertising for weeks that none other than Shinji Kurita is doing sushi there! Fellow sushi lovers, you owe it to yourself to get over to Autumn Court and try Kurita-san's sushi. If it's even half as good as what he made at Shinbay it will still be some of the very best sushi in town. Go. Now. Trust me on this.