Monday, June 10, 2013

Hokkaido Sushi

   Who here does not like sushi? Speak up now.  Well, just know that if you don't like sushi, we can't be friends.  That and stop reading now because if you have not guessed already, this post is about a sushi place.  Now that THOSE people have left, the rest of us can get down to business.  Today I am writing about Hokkaido Sushi located on Bellaire Blvd. in Houston's Chinatown.


   Hokkaido has two things going for it.  One, it is really close to where I live, so it is convenient. OK, that is great for me, but what about you guys?  Well, the other and more important thing it has going for it is that Hokkaido provides good sushi for a very affordable price.  I don't want to use the word cheap because that just too many bad connotations, especially referencing sushi.  Like I said, Hokkaido has good sushi.  I can't in good conscience call it great, but it is tasty.  It will more than do the job if you have a hankering for sushi but don't want to break the bank at one the pricier places in town.

   So once you enter the establishment you grab a menu and seat yourself.  Technically there are two menus.  One is laminated sheet with all the appetizers and other Japanese treats as well as sushi combos and specials.

The other is a sheet of paper where you order sashimi or sushi ala carte.  After you make your decisions you walk up to the a counter where you place your order and pay.

   While you wait you can help yourself to a bowl of complimentary miso soup.  The soup itself is quite good.  It was nice and hot and was accompanied by fresh sliced green onions.  The miso served as a great palette cleanser in preparation for our meal.

   My wife ordered a tempura roll as well as a light Philadelphia roll.  I ordered a spicy tuna roll along with sushi combo A which included salmon, tuna, red snapper, egg, smelt roe, surf clam, shrimp and a California roll.  We both had an order of the seaweed salad and shared an order of ika shogayaki (ginger squid Japanese style).

   We both started with the seaweed salad.  It was just the right amount of salad (maybe a cup to a cup and half) to serve as an appetizer.  It was crisp and sweet and dressed with sesame seeds and sesame seed oil which complimented the sweetness of the seaweed quite nicely with its toasty flavor.  It was done just right so as to not be greasy or oily. 
The sushi itself was very appetizing.  The fish was cut thickly.  It tasted fresh and flavorful.  The rice had the sweetness you would expect from sushi rice and it held together quite nicely.  Nothing spoils sushi like badly made rice that isn't sticky and fall apart.  My wife was quite found of the tempura roll saying how she enjoyed the crunch.  My personal favorite is the tuna.  Both the spicy tuna roll and the piece from the combo satisfied my tuna craving.  If I had one issue with any of it, it would be that I kind of expected the spicy tuna roll to have more of a kick.
Front left to right: Philly Roll, Tempura Roll. Back: Spicy Tuna Roll

Sushi Combo A
Last is the squid.  The squid had a great flavor.  Even though the sauce was primarily soy sauce, you could really taste the ginger.  It was obvious they did not skimp.  The squid itself had a good texture.  It was chewy, but not gummy.  It had the right amount of give.  Only negative about this dish was that a little of the cuttlebone was left in the tube of the squid.  Other than that it was quite an enjoyable dish.

   So for anyone who considers themselves a sushi lover, I would recommend Hokkaido Sushi as a good place to eat.  At the beginning of this post I said that this place was not great and I stand by that.  Hokkaido is a great everyday sushi place, but there are certainly better places to go to get sushi.  The thing is, at those places you are going to pay a premium.

 Hokkaido Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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