Where's the best place to kill time in the upper midwest? At the Mall of America of course! I was in Eagan for a wedding, but was 6 hours early since my daughter was an attendant for the bride. I dropped off my daughter at 10am and then headed for the MOA for some mall-walking exercise slash shopping. I got the exercise and the shopping done, but not without working up a terrible hunger. I had passed the food court at least three times and nothing caught my interest until I passed the north-west corner by Nordstrom's on the first floor (not the third floor north where the food court is).
I've been to other Japanese sushi restaurants before (well just a couple) so I kinda knew my way around. This restaurant was dark, with a lot of black and small like the others I have visited. I was alone so I gambled at the bar where you can eat and stare at the raw fish and octopus arms in fridge where the chef assembles your meal.
I found most of my favorites on the menu, and I was not only hungry but was also looking to be surprised. There were two ladies on either side of me at the bar. On my right, the plate of sushi looked amazing and I was within inches of asking her what she had ordered so I could get the same, but resisted. On my left, the woman had just ordered and rats I didn't hear what she had asked for. When her meal came it looked darn good too. My waitress was quite attentive, brought me water and kept it full. I have to admit tho that ordering over your shoulder to someone you can't look in the eye was slightly awkward, so I may go the table or booth route next time.
I finally settled on the "SOCK iT TO ME" (a dish where the chef goes wild and makes you whatever he wants), gave the waitress a hint that I liked spicy and crunchy and waited-- but not long. I was actually a bit startled when my meal was delivered by the chef himself passing my meal over the see-through fridge from the open kitchen inside the three sides of the bar. I was lost in a train of thought or busy scrolling through facebook or something and wasn't expecting a male Japanese voice asking me if I had ordered the "SOCK iT TO ME". I got over the shock quickly (don't get old, stupid things will shock you) and assembled my wasabi and soy sauce dipping paste. True-blue sushi connoisseurs will tell you this practice is anathema, but sadly I find sushi to be rather bland at times so the horseradishy saltiness makes a good thing even better for me.
The dish my chef thunk up for me was a shrimp tempura with cucumber topped with a savory thin reddish mayonnaise sprinkled with teeny orange roe. Each end of the roll had a full shrimp tail sticking out from it. The plate had no garnish. The rice held together nicely between my chopsticks and didn't flake off when dipped in my brown green flavor enhancer. My astute waitress saw my empty wasabi bowl and kindly brought me more-- I used another half of the more to get me through the 10 slices (including the big shrimpy ends). My sushi was as good or better than I had had before at other restaurants. I had never had sushi topped with a "dressing" before or topped with decorative fish eggs before. Both of these twists were a great addition. I also like "low sodium" soy sauce since plain soy sauce is a salt bomb. I was about to ask for "low sodium" but just dove in and used what was in the carafe at the table-- turns out the table soy sauce was not a salt bomb.
Like I said, I was hungry and the 10 slices of sushi were enough to fill me up, but the great flavor could have kept me ordering more. I think a similar meal from places I have been to before would have been a bit cheaper (I paid $18 for a $12 plate of sushi), but then this was the Mall of America-- you won't find bargains or values here.
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