Sushi Samurai, Neutral Bay

Sushi Samurai

It is one of those Saturday afternoons that Mysaucepan and I could not decide whether to cook at home or go out for a simple meal.

“Why don’t I ruffle up something simple at home since you’ve booked that hip yum cha lunch  tomorrow?” I say.

“Why don’t we just go out since it’s Saturday night?” she counters, as though it is an obligatory mandate for all Sydneysiders to not be caught at home during weekends.

“Oh well, if we keep arguing it will be 9 pm by the time we decide” I say.

Half an hour later, we are driving along the cafe and restaurant strip on Military road in Neutral Bay where people scour for a meal at so many eateries here.

“It’s really quite vibrant tonight isn’t it?” I quip.

“It’s probably vibrant most nights” she quickly adds.

Restaurants along Military road in the suburbs of Neutral Bay and Cremorne range from Thai, Italian, Chinese, modern Australian, Japanese, bar and pub fare, Indian and the list just goes on.

We have our favourites among so many restaurants. Tonight, we settle on Sushi Samurai, a tried and test favourite over the years.

Bar and dining, Sushi Samurai, Neutral Bay

Bar and dining, Sushi Samurai, Neutral Bay

It’s a Saturday night and the restaurant is packed and why should’t it be? The menu is quite extensive with the usual selection of sushi, sashimi, grilled items and hotpots and prices are very competitive.

James Boag's Pure $6.50

James Boag's Pure $6.50

Miso eggplant $8.80

Miso eggplant $8.80

I love miso eggplant and every time I have this dish at Japanese restaurants I remind myself that I should be preparing this simple dish at home more often.

Two large pieces of the round eggplant are grilled with sweet miso paste and sprinkled with sesame seed. It is delicious but eggplant is like a sponge and this dish was a little on the oily side after a few bites.

Special salmon sushi set $20.80

Special salmon sushi set (8 sushi pieces $20.80)

The special salmon sushi set comes with eight pieces of salmon prepared fresh, grilled and combined with fennel and avocado.

Torch-grilled salmon sushi in Special salmon sushi set

Torch-grilled salmon sushi in Special salmon sushi set

There are so many Japanese restaurants in Sydney today that I find sushi has become almost like comfort food to Sydney diners.

Freshness is obviously paramount and most Japanese restaurants dish out some delicious combinations of sushi and sashimi. Sushi Samurai is no exception.

Sanma shioyaki $9.80

Sanma shioyaki $9.80

But what I am really looking forward to eat tonight is a very simple and traditional Japanese dish.

Sanma shioyaki is a Japanese grilled fish that I have loved for so many years. I’ve learnt that in Japanese, shio and yaki mean salt and grilled respectively. Sanma is the name given to a fish which is also know as the Pacific saury.

My virtual blogger friend Namiko posted her version of this dish on her blog recently. Her recipe is simple where the fish is grilled over charcoal for the smoky aromas.

What really caught my eye is her beautiful presentation which ignited my craving for this fish again. Short of grilling it on my own at home, I am going to order it at the next Japanese restaurant and I get my chance tonight!

I would have preferred this fish to be presented whole rather than sliced into two pieces though I guess the logistic of a long ceramic platter in a busy restaurant is less friendly for the wait staff.

 L: Sanma shioyaki with the guts R: Sanma shioyaki devoured

Traditionally, this fish is grilled with the head and guts all intact. The flesh is gently salty with and a crisp skin from the grill.

But the question is, would you consider eating the guts as well? The guts look a bit like those of canned  sardines in tomato sauce which sometimes do come with the guts as well.

The guts is supposed to be highly nutritious and bitter but it turns out to be just slightly bitter sweet and I quite like the gritty, irony taste.

Some of the finer small bones are edible and I was contemplating on eating the crusty head. Looking the image above, I am somewhat regretting that I didn’t.

Diners at Sushi Samurai, Neutral Bay

Diners at Sushi Samurai, Neutral Bay

I like this restaurant because it has a casual setting, the menu fairly extensive and features many Japanese favourites whilst the service and prices are very friendly too!

So dear readers, do you sometimes have the dilemma of deciding whether to cook at home or go out to a restaurant and would you eat the guts of the sanma shioyaki dish?

Sushi Samurai
Shop 3 197 Military road
Neutral Bay, New South Wales 2089
Tel: +61 2 9953 4059

Business hours: Open 7 days for lunch and dinner

Licensed and BYO wine only (Corkage $2.50 per person)

Sushi Samurai on Urbanspoon

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9 Responses to Sushi Samurai, Neutral Bay

  1. Winston says:

    Great post as always! And yeah, I sometimes do share the same sentiments as MSP about staying home on weekends. It’s kinda dumb, come to think about it, but just can’t help it sometimes. And yesss, I LOVE miso eggplant too! I’ve attempted it twice at home but still not happy with it! The flesh of my eggplant still turns out waxy and rubbery. Read up on a coupla tricks online like cracking lotsa salt, etc etc but still can’t get it right like the restaurants. If you do try it and succeed, do let me know kay! Really keen on making it. If I can get the method right, I reckon the options for flavours would be endless. YUM

  2. I am again jealous of good quality Japanese restaurants there. Honestly there are not many Japanese restaurants that serve Sanma around here. Well except for a few which is owned by Japanese persons. Maybe this common autumn dish in Japan is not known here and not popular and most people don’t know about it. It’s so sad! Your fish eating skill is A+!! Thank you for mentioning my blog. It is very kind of you. :) I should make the miso eggplant dish – we use miso dengaku for this dish and haven’t shared it before. :)

  3. Baby Sumo says:

    Ooooh I see ikura! Love that!

  4. Kimby says:

    The salmon sushi is making my mouth water. The Tasmanian beer would slake my thirst. But the star of this post, the sanma shioyaki, looks incredible — crispy outside, delicate inside — although I’m not so sure about eating the guts. (!) I looked at Nami’s post and I agree — the whole fish presentation is more appealing. But, it still appears that you enjoyed every bite! :)

  5. Love the Japanese around the Neutral Bay/North Sydney area. Tastes so much better than the ones within Sydney. It is for sure pricier but the quality justifies the pricing.

  6. Wasabi says:

    I made the eggplant miso and it is delicious. Thanks to your blog for the idea as I have not tried this before in Perth.

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Wasabi,

      I’m glad you like the eggplant because it is a simple dish that can be replicated at home without it being so oily.

  7. I do often have the dilemma of staying in / going out but I’m such a homebody lately that staying in with the telly often wins hehe. Love the look of that miso eggplant – yum!!!

  8. Pingback: SUSHI DEMYSTIFIED | Siddy Says

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