Sake Bomb brings fresh flavor to the table.
Sake Bomb Bistro
258 Park Ave., Worcester
Sushi apprehension. I admit it. I resisted sushi for years. Not out of an aversion for raw fish; I always loved oysters and clams on the half shell. Sushi, on the other hand, loomed in my mind as an exclusive cult with rituals I was incapable of attaining. Then, quite simply, I tried it and realized how much I’d been missing.
We all know how insufferable late converts can be with their evangelical zeal for their life-changing discovery. So, I’ll spare you the breathless pitch and express it in simple terms: If you love flavors and textures stripped down to their most elegant form, you should be a natural lover of sushi. With a huge variety, moderate prices and fresh quality, the Sake Bomb Bistro makes going out for sushi as easy as any other dining option.
Most dining experiences commence with an appetizer. Instead, at Sake Bomb, we wandered the menu’s various sections and assembled an order that might test the range of the chef. Ken, our waiter, had patiently assisted in the ordering process, responding “No problem!”as we added each item. Cuisines represented in the menu are Pan-Asian, heavily weighted to Japan and China.
The first dish to reach our table was the Sake Bomb Sashimi, a chef’s selection of the day. It featured five types of fish sliced and presented in carefully constructed groupings. Crimson chunks of ahi tuna were richly satisfying, pure, deep-sea protein, and strips of white tuna were soft and creamy. Buttery tender slices of salmon were to be expected; mackerel, on the other hand, was an unexpected entry and surprisingly luxurious.
For me, the surprise entry in this chef’s choice was Surf Clam. A broad, thin slice was artfully folded into a catamaran of white pontoons, with a deep-red sail arcing over. Its mild flavor and chewy texture gave the dish additional range.
Emerald-green Seaweed Salad was springy and crunchy; a flavor and textural counterpoint to the fish. The chef divided it into a mini salad for each of us and paired the salads with an orb of Crabmeat Avocado Salad, a delectable mixture that he wrapped in a thin layer of salmon and topped with masago fish roe. Very playful and creamy-rich delicious.
To complement each of these flavor nuances, I chose a tall can of Sapporo Beer. This Japanese rice lager is mild, crisp and unobtrusive. I didn’t want anything to overwhelm the Hamachi, our order of yellowtail sashimi. Each slice was served over a strip of white rice and classically presented on gleaming snow-white chinaware.
Next, we turned our attention to Spicy Crabmeat Maki, rolls of sticky white rice that I plunged into soy sauce mixed with sinus-clearing wasabi. At many sushi bars, an order of this range would have felt cost-prohibitive. But Sake Bomb’s prices are some of the most reasonable I’ve encountered. They allow you to freely wander the menu without fear of blowing the rent money.
Veering from sushi, we moved on to a bowl of Stir Fry Seafood Udon Noodles. Udon are long, chubby noodles simmered till soft. They were easy to snag with chopsticks because they weren’t swimming in broth; Sake Bomb had them nestled with peapods, soft chunks of onion and plenty of seafood – juicy shrimp, shreds of crabmeat, scallops and squid.
Sake Bomb Bistro. I loved the name before I even walked in. But after meeting the friendly team and enjoying such a delicious meal, it became clear to me: It’s exploding with the potential to be my favorite sushi restaurant.
By Bernie Whitmore