Sonoda's Sushi in Denver
We had planned on sushi in Boulder but found ourselves in Denver at 8:30 pm and starving. The Palm for lobster or sushi? Since we couldn't take any leftovers home we decided on sushi and asked the concierge at our hotel for a good sushi bar within walking distance (the Marriott on California). He suggested Sonoda's on Market street, just a short walk to the mall and a pleasant tram ride to Market.
We have pretty high standards where sushi is concerned and Sonoda's scored quite well. Upon entering I scanned the fish cases and questioned one of the chefs about what they had available. They didn't have some of the exotics, such as engawa or natto or yamakake, but they did OK on the standards. We had ama ebi, hamachi, tai, shake, saba, ikura, uni and oh toro. All very fresh, except that the shrimp were frozen. The rice was good but the ratio of rice to fish was too high, almost as if they wanted us to fill up on rice. No awabi or aji that night.
The routine here is that you fill out a menu/order form and order all at once. This distroys the pacing so we ordered individually and it worked with no problem. We noticed that others got dumped on all at once, though, and I'm sure that the quality of their food suffered as it sat there. An interesting touch on the menu is that dishes are marked as to whether they are cooked, marinated, seared or with veggies. They star dishes with masago (smelt eggs).
They have a wide selection of cooked dishes - the yellowtail collar was huge and looked delicious.
With 2 large hot sakes (we avoided the premium sake selections as WAY over priced) the total was $56 before tip. This would be an average sushi bar in LA: good quality fish, nothing really exotic, no over the top fusion rolls, excellent service (very attentive without being intrusive) and a fun atmosphere. Absent a better recommendation we'd go back if we're back at the Marriott.
You helped my pain from The Fort debacle. We enjoyed Sonoda's, though usually at his Aurora restaurant. In those days, their sushi was quite good - for Denver! For me, the delicacy was their calamari tempura appetizer. I'd usually go with 2-3 orders of it, and then share it and my wife's sushi for dinner. With the exception of the very last trip there (in Denver 08/05), Kenny's calamari was #1 on my list, regardless of which continent the others were on.
I do agree that other locals, SF, LA, much of Hawai`i, have better sushi. Even Scottsdale, AZ (Sea Saw and chef Nobu Fukuda) has better. However, there is always THAT calamari!
Thanks for brightening my day,