Sushi Katsu
 Akron, Ohio      Date of Visit  07/21/12

We have been flying without the support of our regular comrades for quite a while now and got the opportunity to join some longtime friends who appreciate their thousands of taste buds and what they can do to augment the daily grind. To rectify this interminable separation we indulged the newly acquired desire for one of our members (call him the Big Cheese) for something other than cheese…raw fishies. So to the Merriman Valley in Akron we go to Sushi Katsu to test Chef Tony Kawaguchi who, according to the website, learned his trade in a four star corporation in Japan before being lured to the U.S.



Familiar Miso

The space is small and decorated in a do-it-yourself motif that features Japan, The Tribe, and other random aspects that could only be the reflection of a single dude's interests rather than a cohesive design. The single server was relatively attentive but could certainly have done a better job of explaining a traditional Japanese service and it’s timing. Sure, to the initiated, it all makes sense but they even have a section of their menu labeled Sushi for beginners but the style of prep and service is so different and they didn’t attempt to share or explain which would ameliorate what most Westerners would view as sloth and contempt.

The space also represents some challenges. We sat at a small table up against the back wall which necessitated consistent contact with the single server and the patron next to me. I don’t mind some intimacy but I would like to get to know you first. We did a lot of touching.

Cali And Spicy Tuna, Most Rolls Lacked Visual And Taste Distinction With Exceptions

Spiderman Roll Here Was Only Cream Cheese Roll I Have Not Instantly Detested

The Small Sampler Looked Beautiful

And Certainly Seemed To Go Down Well

Maintaining our reps as more Epicurean than Epictitian we ordered more than four should likely commit to, this included a California roll, a spicy tuna roll, two small sushi samplers, a spider roll, a “crazy roll”. a summer roll, a crispy shrimp roll and a hot tuna collar. The cali/spicy tuna arrived first and as we had been saving ourselves for dinner, and the standard miso soup did little to quell the pangs of desire, we were quickly dunking the cylinders into soy, ginger and wasabi. The Spiderman roll  was quick to follow and the combo of the three set the stage for everything to follow, except of the course the collar.

Sushi Katsu, on this night at least, didn’t deliver the quality I would have expected from a guy with the training reported. There were some really good things…the fish is fresh! Sweet, clean, no “fishiness” the quality of the sashimi in and atop the sushi is of good quality. Also in their favor, the rice varies by roll. In some cases the sushi rice is similar to what I am used to; on other rolls the rice is dryer and crunchier and takes on more of a nutty/toasted barley sort of flavor that did well with the interior of the rolls. Additionally, I am a staunch opponent to cream cheese in a sushi roll. Philly + sushi = evil. Philly + bagel = sensible. The Spiderman roll contained cream cheese and it is the least offensive version I have ever partaken in. Typically the richness and normally “subtle” flavor of the young cheese beats the rest of the roll senseless. At Sushi Katsu there was more of a balance than I am accustomed to, thankfully.


Continuing Mix Of Success And Disappointment

The Crunchy Shrimp Was Disappointing

The Crazy Roll Fared No Better

But Summertime Was Awesome

The surprise was the tuna collar, I knew what it was I just didn’t know how it would be prepared. Two big pieces just off the cheek arrived in a tin foil bowl with four little carrots. I don’t know exactly how the fish was prepared (I was facing the other way and couldn’t turn without physically violating the dude at the table next to us) but it was cooked through instead of the more common searing with plenty of evidence of the Maillard reaction resulting in a unique and tasty treat. More texture than sashimi or the stuff that comes in cans, layered flavors and fresh richness with a couple of sauces summed up our adventure nicely. Not the best or most comfortable local sushi option, sushi katsu does have some memorable options but Sakura or Kasai would definitely be more frequently patronized.

The Tuna Collar and Sauces

The Collar Up Close



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