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Kumai Sushi - Taking The Plunge

Googs Jan 18, 2008 11:48 AM

It seems the search for great sushi continues Saturday night. Is it best to go omakase, a la carte, or just use the menu? How's the white wine and sake selection? Not even certain if they're licensed. Not that it really matters, but no one has mentioned decor yet. Is it comfy date spot resto or more lunch time linoleum? How do diners dress? Soooo many questions.

  1. HarryLloyd Jan 21, 2008 11:41 AM

    Googs: Report?


    Chow!
    HL.

    3 Replies
    1. re: HarryLloyd
      Googs Mar 4, 2008 11:11 AM

      Sorry it took so long to respond to your request for a report.

      Yes, we ended up going once in January. Hubby was feeling whimsical so into the car and off we went. It might have been the coldest night of the year so far. In light of what pinstripeprincess had to say, we worried that they may close before we could get there. Arrived. Lights were on. Success.

      Due the the extreme temps the room was only about 1/4 full. Hard to imagine this place anything but crowded given what they offer. On the upside, service was attentive since no one had to do their juggling act. We had two people serving without any of the confusion that may cause. Rather, their timing was impeccable.

      I wish I had the bill with me, but for now I'll have to go from memory. We settled on a shared appetizer that I can't recall, two omakase dinners, hubby had house white and I their finest bottle of sake. The sake was quite tasty and the perfect match for dinner.

      First up was the miso soup. No bland concoction this. It had the taste of homemade, which in terms of miso in the city seems to be going the way of the dodo.

      As for the sushi we received orders that were almost identical to what PSP had in September of 2007 and Food Tourist in November 2007. I can't add anything to the description of the sushi that they haven't already said so here's that link:
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/445310

      While I agree that there's plenty of quality here, I was hoping that four months after reading the menu posted by PSP they would have made some seasonal shifts. That part leaves me curious. To be very clear, I have the utmost respect for her opinion, but think this merits a few more trips by one of us Hounds to see what Kumai does next. Evolve or dwindle.

      I leave it to you, PSP. I consider Kumai to be an equal of Daio on Carlton Street. If you knew how good I feel about that place you would know what high praise that is for me. As Daio is roughly, oh, 33 km's closer to my home I'll keep going there. I thank you for the tip. It was definitely worth the adventure.

      1. re: Googs
        pinstripeprincess Mar 4, 2008 01:46 PM

        glad to hear your thoughts, i was concerned that you were utterly disappointed but it still seems that it didn't quite live up to the hype i gave it. i haven't been for a while now because it is so far out, but hearing that they've served near exactly the same thing for each omakase is actually quite worrisome.

        i fear that they will simply just dwindle because they don't seem to be challenged or willing to challenge. perhaps having an omakase as a deluxe platter rather than an interaction with the chef is telling.

        i will though have to drop by daio then and give them a try. they sound quite promising.

        1. re: Googs
          Food Tourist Mar 5, 2008 04:12 AM

          Thanks, Googs! I, too, think Kumai should just advertise their $36-$37 omakase as the "deluxe sushi platter" since I've never received anything unusual on top of the miso soup and salad.

      2. pinstripeprincess Jan 19, 2008 08:08 AM

        the decor has a traditional japanese influence but it is still rather casual even if the atmosphere has a sense of restraint. they did well to have a lot of soft materials though to make it quite sound absorbing.

        food tourist covered most of it but i will warn you of one thing, beware of their hours and the number of patrons. the place closes early on a whim and the service can be painfully slow when it's fairly full.

        1. Food Tourist Jan 18, 2008 12:33 PM

          Omakase basically gets you one platter of sushi, with soup and salad and nothing else. Think of it as a "deluxe sushi platter" instead of omakase. It's probably better value than a la carte, like most sushi places.
          It has tablecloths and comfy chairs and is a fairly partitioned-off room so that creates a cosier ambiance with lots of space between tables. Definitely not a lino lunch place but could certainly use some updating to decor.
          I'm sure you could wear jeans with no problem. It's not trendy, but personally I prefer to slightly overdress in most circumstances just in case.
          They definitely serve alcohol like shochu.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Food Tourist
            Googs Jan 19, 2008 07:05 AM

            Shochu. Never had that before. I might have to try that. Is it served in single portions or bottle only? Do they have a decent selection of white wines & sakes? Thanks a bunch, Food Tourist.

            1. re: Googs
              Food Tourist Jan 19, 2008 08:29 AM

              It would be like ordering vodka or gin for sipping, I guess. I had a low-ball glass of shochu on the rocks.
              I never order wine at Japanese places so can't say I noticed either way.
              They definitely have sake but can't remember how much selection.

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