I’ll wager a few streets in Saigon are home to more Japanese restaurants than many streets in Japan. This culinary colonialism is no bad thing if, like me, you are a fan of sushi, sashimi and wallops of wasabi.
Le Thanh Ton, Thi Sach and the arse end of Hai Ba Trung find a particularly high number of Japanese joints, but the one I keep coming back to, along Le Thanh Ton, is the 3 storey Sushi bar at number 2. Not that it does the best sushi of the bunch, it probably doesn’t, not that it’s flash, it isn’t. What it does do well is reasonably priced raw fish in a no-nonsense bar setting. The ground floor is purely for barstool sushi nibblers, the 1st floor is all tatami mats and creaking knee joints and the 2nd floor is of the comfortable hollowed out floor variety. That’s where the frog, toad and me – the pieman – got stuck in today.
Lunchtime sees a whole bunch of set menus from 65,000 – 75,000VD and in the evenings you can pick and choose from 45 varieties of sushi including a couple of my faves – uni (if you’re lucky and no salaryman has snapped it up before you – it’s a kind of sea urchin. It’s a taste sensation) and akagai which is pretty much a large cockle.
I have been told you’re not supposed to dollop the killer horseradish sauce, wasabi, into the soy, but the ensuing nose weeper is too much of a buzz to miss out on. A set of maguro (tuna) sake (salmon) ebi (prawn) sushi, miso soup and pickles was accompanied by the Grilled fish set (Kurodai shio vaki) – a steal at 65,000VD for each set. It can be difficult to get really good fresh seafood in Saigon, but the tuna and salmon have rarely been a let down here.
Japanese grilled fish is great because it is… hmmm… grilled and nowt else, no fuss, no sauce, just fish slightly charred. Fabulous.
The service is friendly and efficient and the food is fresh and well presented. I’ll keep coming back for more from this place and sometime soon I intend to take a sniff at their second restaurant on the 7th floor of the Zen Plaza at 54-56 Nguyen Trai street which opened a few months back. View the business card.