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Jul 23, 2009 04:26 PM

Sushi Off-The-Menu

Howdy all!

I was wondering if anyone knew of any sushi place in particular that offered unusual, "not American friendly", off-the-menu items. I know that restaurants get ingredients that they don't put on the menu or the get special ingredients that "insiders" have to know about. I also know that there's SO much great tasting food that we here in America consider "misc. parts" that restaurants won't put on their menus, for example fried shrimp heads or fried fin or organs!

Does anyone know of any place where they welcome or understand customers asking for anything special NOT on the menu or on the board? (Does any of that make any sense? haha)


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  1. Not so sure about off the menu, you probably just need to go to better, busier and more outfitted sushi haunts. Try Nobu, seems to me to fit the criteria and they will be very kind with special requests.

    Try a few of these:

    Ask for Omakase. Be sure to wink. It is the chef's choice. The magic word is dozo.

    Monkfish liver (Ankimo) served in a marinade and considered the Japanese 'foie gras'

    Fluke fin ( Engawa) is the portion of flesh, near the tail end of the fish, has more a feathery texture

    Dancing Shrimp (Odori-ebi) is live shrimp. Not sure they serve this in Dallas, had this in Seattle only. It is the amaebi sweet shrimp.

    Uni is the gonad of the sea urchin. Guess that is the calf fry of the sea world.

    Geoduck (Mirugai) slightly sweet and crisp clams that are pretty damned big and incredible. Pronounced gooey duck, and unsual in these parts. My favorite served as ceviche.

    Kanpai, my friend.

    4 Replies
    1. re: DallasDude

      actually "dozo" is more something they should say to you. It's like "please enjoy this" or "please go ahead". kuidaore can probably tell us how to ask best.

      any of the better, less scene-y places will probably give you fried skeletons, heads, eyeballs, etc if you ask and especially if you are a regular. i go to masami often enough to get good stuff if ryu is behind the counter, the older guy is nice but doesn't like to stray too far. if you were to make a special request ahead of time at kenichi they'd probably go out of their way to make you happy although it wouldn't be cheap.

      1. re: luniz

        Being at the sushi bar is about the only time I ever get to break out with Japanese these days, and I think DallasDude meant, if you say something like "zenbu, OK!" and the sushi chef responds with "dozo", that'd be a good sign :]
        "omakase kudasai" is another good way to ask.

        I agree that it wouldn't matter how high end/scene-y a place is, you'll get some interesting dishes if you ask. Most of all, it really helps to be a regular. The overall experience will be better if the chef understands your palate so they'll know your expectations as well as how to properly accomodate you. I frequent Sushi of Plano the most, but there are many other good options as well.

        All in all, there aren't very many places that I'd be willing to do omakase as I walk up on the very first visit, much less suggest it to someone else.

        1. re: air

          I'd forgotten about "kudasai", hadn't thought of "zenbu". Thanks, I'll have to try them out.

        2. re: luniz

          I love the deep fried Spanish mackerel skeletons at Sushi Sake. Tail and all!

      2. I'd also give Sushi Sake a try. Soda-san serves a large Japanese clientele who always seem to be eating interesting food items not listed on the menu. As for myself, Soda-san has known me for almost 30 years and I never order off the menu. When I sit down at his sushi bar, he'll see me and as soon as he's able, he'll make me a "special" selection of sashimi and apprise me of what special little gems are available that night.

        1. DallasDude - I have infact had the monkfish liver from Nobu and it instantly became (and still to this day remains) probably the top 3 things I've ever eaten. I had it at the NY Nobu and I've been trying to make it to the Dallas location to see if it's the same! I'll try the rest of your suggestions, if I do! (especially the geoduck, as I've been wanting to FIND THAT for a VERY long time!)

          twinwillow - Soda is the owner at Sushi Sake, yes? I've heard great things about this place. What's your favorite?

          Have either of you been to Teppo on Lower Greenville? It and Awaji in Plano have been my favorite sushi places around here. Teppo serves Omakase, though I have yet to try it.

          6 Replies
          1. re: JethroSpanks

            Although Sushi Sake is my favorite, I also like Teppo very much. They specialize in very creative and original dishes on their "specials" menu.

            At Sushi Sake, I like uni, giant (geoduck) clam, ankimo (monkfish liver), Spanish mackerel and, fatty (magro) tuna. And, unlike other sushi bars in Dallas, because of Sushi Sake's Japanese clientele, Soda-san has these items every day. Most others don't.
            I have a friend who swears by, Yutaka on lower McKinney. But, when I was there once, they didn't have any of the "specialties" I mentioned. I haven't been to Nobu yet but, every one of my "foodie" friends rave about it.

            1. re: twinwillow

              Thanks twinwillow, I will try your place out. Sounds like it has great imagination. How are prices there compared to others? I love maguro, especially otoro.

              1. re: DallasDude

                I've found their prices extremely competitive or, even less than most other places. Soda-san charges me $39.50 for a 5 fish (3 slices each) sashimi platter consisting of MY choice of fish!

              2. re: twinwillow

                I too, swear by Sushi Sake. Never had anything but really good fish there. Although cooked, their Snapper Collar is outstanding.

                1. re: J.R.

                  After reading some of dallasdude's stuff, I can tell he is brilliant. Keep up the fun writing! I have Nobu reservations for restaurant week based on your recommendation, thanks! Here is the menu --

                  Field Green Salad w Matsuhisa Dressing
                  Miso Soup
                  One Choice of Rolls
                  ~California Roll, Shrimp Tempura Roll or Spicy Tuna Roll~

                  One Choice of Entrée
                  ~Assorted Tempura (Shrimp & Vegetable)
                  Alaskan Black Cod w Den Miso
                  Pan Seared Salmon w AntiCucho Sauce
                  Chicken w Teriyaki Sauce
                  Beef Tenderloin w Wasabi Pepper Sauce
                  Chef’s Choice Restaurant Week Special Dish

                  Assorted Dessert Selections

                  All for $35 and proceeds go to the food bank. Wonderful deal for everyone!

                  1. re: chowchiclet

                    I couldn't agree more, he is brilliant, always an insightful read. : )

            2. Thanks everyone for the feedback. Sushi Sake is DEFINITELY on top of my list for my next dining out experience. I just hope I can get my my cousin or friend out with me and take care of this craving!