Since I researched sushi restaurants in Golden (near work), I stumbled across a sushi restaurant near my house that had received great reviews in the past.
Tonight, feeling hungry but too lazy to cook, I decided to go try it out. It's called Namiko's and it's in a little strip mall space near I-70 and Wadsworth. The interior was a little cheap, but that's not a bad thing in a place where the prices are affordable and the food is good. (A good example of this is Saigon Phở at 72nd and Federal -- great phở and great prices, chinzy surroundings.) Unfortunately, the service at Namiko's was not great. I sat at the sushi bar and my waitress, after trying to rush my selection the first few minutes, disappeared. Eventually, the sushi chef working just across the glass from me took my order. Then, I had to be creative about getting my check, etc., since my waitress was MIA.
Let's get on to the important part. I ordered the sushi dinner (which is a good way to try a lot of different fishes, even though the roll included was the California roll, which is a little boring in my opinion) and... I did something I rarely do... I ordered one of the fancy "chef-designed" rolls. I think I was swayed by the reviews I had read. In a nutshell, I was mostly disappointed. The fancy roll was boring and the California roll was boring, though the fish on the nigiri was good. So, at this point, I'd say it was average food. Problem was, all that was pretty pricey. Undeservedly pricey, considering the service and ambiance.
However, as I was about to leave, I watched one of the chefs put together a plate that was attractive in its arrangement and looked like an interesting selection. (I had tried to find something like that on the menu, but it wasn't apparent from the descriptions.) So, I might visit again to try that (and only that -- no extra stuff to raise the cost...
I find that I really much prefer to have sushi that's been composed by the chef, as in the next review...
A couple weeks ago, finding myself with time in downtown Denver to eat before a show (the Trans Siberian Orchestra) at the Pepsi Center, I decided to try out Sushi Sasa, about which I've heard very good things.
It turned out to be well deserved praise. The ambiance was beautifully modern. The service was great. (Again, I ate at the sushi bar.) I chose to try a dinner bowl of sashimi on aromatic rice. It was gorgeously composed, like a flower arrangement; all little bits of different sashimi. Most of the time, I had no idea what I was eating - animal or vegetable - but it was all fascinating. I would post a photo, except that I didn't have my camera, and the picture from my phone is trapped inside my phone.
Because I just got that bowl dish with no fancy rolls or alcohol, it felt like a reasonably priced meal.
The contrast between the two places is quite dramatic. If I had gotten the sushi and sashimi mixed plate that I saw before I left Namiko's, the bottom line on the bill would have been nearly the same. And let's say the food would have been better, since it would have focused on the quality of the fish, which I did think was decent there. Even with those two factors, Sushi Sasa would have had a clear edge, for the quality of the environment and service.
By the way, for those not interested in eating raw fish: Namiko's had an exclusively Asian menu. Non-sushi eaters would have to have something like teriyaki chicken, udon noodles, or tempura. Sushi Sasa, on the other hand, had a wide variety of western dishes with Asian influences (including Chilean Sea Bass).