For lunch last week, a group of friends and I headed over to Kitcho for some sushi and other Japanese fare. Taste wise, we were a very hodgepodge group. I consider myself on the advanced sushi level - I've been eating sushi for years and will try some of the adventurous stuff (like eel), but there are other things that are still too exotic for me (like sea urchin). Two of my lunch mates, H and JB (names have been shortened to protect the guilty) I would consider to be sushi gurus - they eat mostly the exotic stuff and can wield chopsticks to eat salad, noodles, the works! And then the last of our foursome, JMo had only eaten Publix sushi (blech!) and while she wasn't impressed, she admitted she'd like to try out the real deal, so she was tagged as the sushi novice in our group.
Posted by Tally Foodie Sunday, October 18, 2009
Okay, you guys are getting a real treat with this post because we ordered A LOT of food between the four of us. And everyone was kind enough to let me try a little bit of everything (except those things that I was scared of - that's right, SCARED of) so I've got a pretty good handle on the meal. We started out with some Miso Soup and Salad with Ginger Dressing, two basic staples of Japanese dining. Both were very good, and very consistent with what we've all had at other places. JB, however, went so far as to say that the ginger dressing at Kitcho is the best in Tallahassee!
For the main attraction, JMo and I ordered some sushi rolls (well, more like I ordered and she obliged). We selected the Japanese Bagel, Seoul and American Dream rolls and after I gave her a quick chopstick lesson, we dove right in. Correction - I dove, she dipped her toes in the water. Her first taste was the Japanese Bagel (salmon, cream cheese, cucumber), which she said she enjoyed and could tolerate mostly because the cream cheese covered up some of the weirdness of the raw fish. Next, she went for the American Dream (salmon, shrimp, avocado), which she practically had to gag down. Although, she did admit she wasn't a big fan of the texture of shrimp, so that may have been why she didn't particularly like that one. But I have to give it to her, she was a real trooper and forged on, trying the Seoul roll (spicy tuna, masago, avocado) probably against her better judgment. That one too, she was not a big fan of. I think she ended up eating all of 4 rolls that lunch - I felt so bad that I offered to take her to McDonalds or Chick-fil-A afterwards! Some people just aren't big fans of sushi, and you know what? That's okay. But I applaud her effort to try something new! As far as my thoughts go, I agreed that the Japanese Bagel was probably the best roll of the three. The American Dream just really didn't have much flavor to it, and the spicy tuna in the Seoul was a bit mushy and not spicy enough for my taste. Let's just say, I've had better rolls at Kitcho.
H ordered the Yakiudon meal, which was a chicken and vegetable stir fry dish with thick udon noodles in a "special" sauce. He allowed me a taste, and I must say, it was absolutely delicious! The vegetables were crisp and not soggy, the chicken was flavorful and moist and the sauce (definitely soy-based) was savory without being overpowering. All in all, it was definitely something I'd order when I visit again!
He also got a side of Iidako (baby octopus), which I was very fascinated with, but in a is-this-thing-gonna-eat-ME? kinda way. Don't get me wrong, I like calamari, but this was an octopus of a different color! It was in some sort of red sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. H said that it tasted over-steamed, and thus was a bit too chewy. He also said that the sauce was far too sickly sweet and definitely added an unwelcome flavor to the piece. But hey, I give him points for even putting the thing in his mouth!
Last, but certainly not least, we come to JB's meal. He ordered the Tenzaru Soba, a dish that included cold buckwheat noodles, a side of shrimp and vegetable tempura and a special dipping sauce served both hot and cold (that's why there's 2 bowls there). JB put the hot sauce on the cold noodles and was dipping the tempura in the cold sauce, but halfway through the meal he decided it would have been better the other way around. I tasted the buckwheat noodles and found it very hard to describe their exact flavor. The special dipping sauce was definitely miso-based, however. I also broke off a bit of his tempura to sample as well. Now, let me tell you - their tempura batter is amazing! Light and airy, but slightly sweet, it's the best tempura I've tasted in a long time!
Being the sushi guru that he is, JB also ordered an exotic something-or-other on the side of his dish as well. It was a piece of Uzura, quail egg served up with masago. I have to admit, it was a very colorful little piece of sushi, but again, I wanted nothing to do with it. It must have been pretty good too, because it quickly disappeared without a word of complaint from JB!
So all in all, we had a nice little meal. I always find Kitcho to be a reliable source for fresh sushi and authentic Japanese cuisine. And while from the outside, it doesn't look like much, the inside reflects a very hip, metropolitan vibe. After Masa and Sakura, Kitcho is one of the best sushi restaurants in town.
Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmosphere - A
Taste - B+
Presentation - B+
Service - A
Price - $$
1415 Timberlane Rd
Tallahassee FL 32312