Friday, November 20, 2009

Restaurant Review: Naked Fish Sushi and Grill

There's a new sushi place in town! It's located in front of Harvey Washbangers, where Doc Green's used to be. We all knew Doc Green's wouldn't survive, because who wants to pay $10 for a side salad?

A Google search of "Naked Fish Sushi & Grill" yielded results that indicate the restaurant is part of a growing chain, with at least three restaurants, including ones in San Francisco, Las Vegas and College Station. You're not the only one thinking these are an odd combination, given College Station isn't exactly a dot on the national culinary map. However this could just be a result of not having a consistent web presence. And based on the Yelp results, the place has been open a little less than two weeks.

The decor is funky and new-looking. I particularly enjoy the digital picture frames at each table and fiber optic lights. The space is small so it's likely you'll get to know a bit about your neighbor. The hostess is wearing an approximation of a kimono and will greet you with a little Japanese. As an interesting note, the table staff and manager all spoke Japanese and were shocked when the Lovely Spouse did as well.

Beers were very well priced at $3.50 a bottle and there was a good selection, including Asahi, Kirin and Sapporo. The menu is surprisingly extensive, but rather light. The selections were what you would expect to find in most American sushi restaurants, as well as a few "house" rolls that were distinct to Naked Fish.

The spouse and I ordered two rolls, an order of sea urchin (which can't currently be found anywhere else in College Station), an appetizer and the sushi sampler. A word of warning: this was too much food for the two of us. The Burning Man roll was a futumaki size roll that included eel, but was not hot in any way. The volcano roll was a huge mass of stuff on top of california rolls. These were a bit odd, but keeping in "tradition" with the new American sushi style. At some
point I'm going to learn that I prefer the Japanese style sushi rolls, but I still keep ordering the
funky new American style rolls. Anyways, the rolls weren't bad and didn't taste bad by any step in my imagination. It's just it seems I prefer maki to a pile of sushi. Anyways, the sea urchin was good, albeit obviously 1000+ miles from the West coast. Normally sea urchin is buttery, salty and just a bit fishy. This was a tiny bit fishier than desirable, but not bad. The Lovely Spouse said his sushi sampler was fantastic, particularly the yellowtail. And the California Rolls were good, as expected.

The spouse's sushi sampler came with a salad and "clear soup" that very closely resembled miso soup, but without the miso and lots more scallions. The salad dressing was lovely, with loads of ginger. It's funny that I mention the salad, considering the previous occupant of the restaurant space. :-)

The one really big complaint I had about this place was a phenomenon that I hope is not becoming ubiquitous in sushi bars and Japanese restaurants: sake bombs. What's a sake bomb, you ask? It's a shot of sake dropped into a half glass of beer. Ideally this is done in groups where everyone races to the bottom of the glass of beer. What makes this irritating? The yelling that goes on beforehand. It's usually some form of "Sake bomb! One! Two! Three! Go!" I don't mind this after 10 pm on a weekend at a bar. I do mind it at 8 pm midweek while enjoying a quiet dinner with the Lovely Spouse. Call me an old fart, if you will, but I find it disruptive and immature, and best left to a bar environment. Some of us have reached the age where we no longer feel the need to announce to the world that we are drinking something alcoholic. It's really not that big a deal. And what's the point of even decorating a restaurant as such if you are trying to promote yourself as a frat house?

Alas, I digress.

Will I be going back to Naked Fish? Sure. Gotta try a place at least twice. :-) The service was good and friendly, the Asahi was reasonably priced, and the nigiri was good.

Would I recommend this place to others? Yup. You've been warned about the sake bombs.

Just a note before I finish this post: Many apologies for the long time between posts. Between traveling and getting sick I haven't been in the mood to discuss food all that much. I'm back now, although I'm going to warn you there will be further disruptions with the holidays coming up. :-)


  1. I hate to tell you the sake bomb is pretty common at Japanese Rest. We have discovered a new drink that is tasty and helps fight colds tomodachi's ( 1/3 plum wine and 2/3 hot sake.


  2. This was a great restaurant review. Glad to see there's another delicious sushi place around.