Beyond mussels, and guacamole, there are a few other foods that will always make me happy. One of those is sushi. Sitting down to a meal of fresh sushi, clean and healthy, just makes me feel good. The entire experience, from the raw fish to the wasabi makes me feel as though I'm adding only the most natural of ingredients to my body. Saturday afternoon, I met up with a friend and we headed to Douzo, located on Dartmouth Street in Boston's Back Bay.
I always love going out for lunch, its less pretentious than dinner in most spots, but carries the same caliber of food. There are far less crowds present so you are really able to enjoy your food without feeling rushed. Also-I am a firm believer, though not practicer, in the theory that your biggest meal of the day should be at midday. I digress though, Douzo, for lunch or dinner, is a treat.
The other thing that I love about sushi- is that its a sharing meal. You can order several different pieces, or rolls, and share them between the table. I always feel as though Ive eaten more, with of course more variety in a meal such as this. Now, I do have to say, I am not fearless when it comes to sushi. When I'm alone, I'll rarely order sashimi (various types of raw fish alone, or just layered on a bit of rice) but Ill try almost any type of maki roll you put in front of me. We ordered a variety of these, along with edamame (soy beans in the shell, steamed and lightly salted) and two Sapporos (Japanese beer).
The first to arrive was my all time favorite, an eel avocado roll. Basically, this is rice, seaweed, avocado pieces and chopped, cooked, eel in an unagi sauce wrapped together. Eel has a slightly smokey flavor to it, and the creaminess of the avocado offsets it well. I have to say though- I tend to over use wasabi so my flavors may be a bit off. Whenever it comes to ordering this though, I'm always in a toss up of trying the cucumber and eel roll, or going to the oldest standby of an avocado-cucumber roll. What I would really appreciate is a cucumber-avocado-eel roll. I just think that the flavors would off set each other so well! The crispness of the cucumber could really heighten the other two. Perhaps Ill have to learn to make sushi...
The other rolls we ordered of note were the Spider Roll, and the Dragon Roll. Both were rolls I would not normally order, which is why I was glad to be sharing with someone who was willing to push a few limits. The Spider Roll was made of soft shell crab tempura (basically crab fried in a very light batter), avocado, cucumber, tobiko (flying fish roe) and a spicy mayo. Since I began eating sushi, back when I was a kid and my dad would take us, I have always stayed away from all rolls that include a mayo ingredient. Maybe its because in my everyday life I really dislike mayo, and will usually only eat a small amount of Miracle Whip, maybe its something to do with mixing rice, seaweed and mayo together that seems odd to me, whatever it is- I have always stayed away. Ive always pictured gloppy amounts of it overpowering the rest of the bite. To be honest- I barely even noticed the mayo in the Spider Roll. The crab was crunchy and light, the soft avocado was a nice contrast to this crispiness, and the cucumber added that light essence that its known for. Tobiko is just sort of a fun ingredient, sparingly used, the roe sort of explode when you bite into them and it just adds one more contrasting texture. The only downside to the Spider Roll, while it was aesthetically pleasing, two of the rolls had the legs of the crab artfully displayed in them. While they were delicious to eat, I found that I really needed to deconstruct the roll to eat it so that I wouldn't make a complete mess of myself. A delicious challenge though.
The Dragon Roll was made of sweet potato tempura wrapped with eel. With this one, the sweet potato sort of threw me off. Ive never pictured many sweet potatos in Japanese cooking, so I was surprised by its presence. However, the mix was delicious. Both the potato and the eel were soft in texture, so the tempura coating gave that texture difference that was needed. It was a delicious roll that I would absolutely order again.
My only other complaint, and I feel that this may be personal, is that there wasn't enough pickled ginger for my taste. I adore this ingredient and will really pile it on when available, sadly there just wasn't enough.
All in all though, Douzo is a great place for sushi. Clean and bright, the ambiance mimics what you want your food to taste like.