Saturday, May 03, 2008

Uzen - The Sushi Heaven on the East Bay!

There are many things I enjoy, and having a good meal is definitely one of them; and having good sushi is very high up on the list. Ever since I've moved to the Bay Area, I've been trying to find some place that has good quality sushi, and at the very least close to my favorite sushi place in LA (please refer my "Some Food for Thought If You Are Going To Los Angeles" in June 2006). It has been a somewhat difficult journey because I had no reference for good restaurants here, let along good Asian restaurants. So I had to consult the Yelp. BIG MISTAKE! Why, you ask? Because people rating restaurant on Yelp have no taste buds (and I had to find that out the hard way!), Anyways, back to my point, I was finally able to find a really good sushi place in Rockridge!

The first time I tried the place, it was after i was battered and bruised from following Yelp's recommendation (thanks for NOTHING, Yelpers!) and I was in no mood of eating another plate of shitty sushi. However, I was pleasantly surprised once the food arrived. The fish quality is definitely great (and fresh), and the small dishes that they have on the menu definitely hits the spot. I got my usual order of yellowtail, scallop, and toro (their special). And they are all excellent! The yellowtail texture was perfect. If you never had yellowtail, definitely try it. It's a little bit like tuna but with a bit more fat in there, so the texture is smoother. The scallop is very fresh, and has that natural sweetness to it. The toro special that they have is the medium grade toro, which is the one I like because it's doesn't have too much fat and the meat just melts in your mouth. We also ordered a couple of other dishes other than the regular sushi items. One dish is the oyster on the 1/2 shell. I rarely find oyster on 1/2 shell that is fresh enough that doesn't have the "oysterness" or that stinkyness that comes naturally with oyster. However, the oyster in Uzen is top notch because I cannot taste any oysterness at all! The fried soft shell crab is pretty good too. The breading was a little bit too much, but the quality of the crab was great and very meaty. They also have a grilled ground chicken wrapped in shiso leaf. That was excellent and also will put you in the mood for a glass of beer (even tho I do not drink)! The ground chicken is seasoned and the mintyness of the shiso leaf gave it a very fresh twist to the otherwise widely popular grilling item.

Overall the place was great, and definitely cured my overwhelming sushi craving. I definitely recommend this place if you ever need a place for great sushi. Uzen gets a 4 out 5 on my yummy scale, only second to my favorite Japanese sushi restaurant Kiyosuzu in LA.

Uzen is located on 5415 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618, and recommend getting there by BART as parking is painful to find.

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