Big Fish Sushi is quite easy to overlook.
Its cast amid a local sea teeming with first-rate sushi purveyors (namely, the excellent Little Lilly Sushi; see also Shinjuku Station). Its located in a strip center seemingly better suited for low-on-milk and Starbucks runs.
And then theres the sign out front, a holdover from its previous incarnation, Sushi Q, which was actually the second time an Asian-style restaurant had existed in the same space. (RIP, Yoshis.)
Third times the charm?
Quite possibly, especially since owner Hiro Yamada previously a server at Sushi Q upgraded the menu in January and changed the restaurants name, yet smartly held fast to its predecessors moderate prices. That, combined with the fact that Big Fish is BYOB, certainly makes for an alluring night out.
Within a small dining room that is dark but welcoming, we had a stop-start beginning one recent evening: We sat down, but after learning of the restaurants BYOB status, left to buy a six-pack of beer at the Tom Thumb conveniently located next door.
When we returned to our seats at the sushi bar in the back, the space had started to fill up, notably with the college-age set.
Thanks to the creative and extensive menu, however, we were soon feeling young again. A starter of asparagus and crab stick tempura ($7.95) got the meal off to a good start. While the asparagus was a little undercooked, the crab stick held up nicely against the light batter.
Even better was the sashimi sampler ($10.95), a mix of ahi and white tuna, salmon, and red snapper. The ample platter featured a dozen pieces of fish, each slightly larger than a postage stamp, and was nicely garnished with slices of lemon and lime.
The avocado salad may have sold us on the restaurants renaissance. Creamy slices of avocado mixed with julienned cabbage and seaweed and topped with salmon roe, sesame seeds and a sweet ponzu sauce ($5.95) had us debating ordering another.
In truth, we could have stopped there, but this being a sushi bar with an ostensibly healthy bent, how could we?
Its hard to resist the spicy sashimi bowl ($16.95). The showstopper of the night would have elicited huzzahs from my partner had he taken a moment from inhaling its contents. While a lesser enterprise might have stopped after combining a liberal amount of sashimi with steamed white rice, Big Fish adds diced masago, seaweed and avocado to the mix. It made for a richly textured bowl, buoyed by perfectly sticky, slightly salty rice.
Before the weather heats up, were planning a return visit to try the ramen and udon bowls. Because this is definitely one neighborhood restaurant were looking forward to getting to know better.