If you’ve read Happy Sushi Belly for a while, you’ll know that while I love the sushi part of life, some of the people I go out to eat with are not so keen on it. This means that I really like places that have diverse menus – places where I can get my sushi fix, while the person I am with enjoys something non-sushi related. I suppose I really need to change this title to “I used to like the ‘sushi’ at Earls” though – with the ‘sushi’ in quotations, or perhaps some sort of asterisk to imply that the ‘sushi’ at Earls, is unfortunately no longer like any other sushi I’d enjoy elsewhere… (other than perhaps the ‘sushi’ at Edo of Japan or Safeway….)
Can you take that to mean that it’s terrible? No. It’s just not good. It doesn’t leap off the plate and try to swim away (it’s too loaded down with cooking oil and drizzled stuff), it didn’t attack my tongue in a vicious mock-Japanese rage (that would imply there was flavour), and it didn’t drunk-dial me in the middle of the night (because that would just be weird).
It’s just.. blah. Overpriced blah.
So the rolls themselves are on the appetizer menu for 13$ or something like that. Overpriced, for something not all that filling. Instead I had a Bento box – which usually is a lot more filling (with more variety) and was in the same price range.
(as always, I’ll apologize for the iPhone photo. Seriously, if someone can tell me what I’m doing wrong (and how to correct it!) – why I keep getting this slightly fuzzy halo-effect to 99% of my iPhone photos, I’d be forever thankful…)
So, at top left – some crunchy wafer thing. I think somewhere they think it’s chicken. It’s not… it’s just crunchy wafer thing. With sauce. Top right – glazed salmon – actually pretty good, (well, the sauce was) though the cut of fish wasn’t good and there were some fatty/stringy bits I had to pass on). Bottom right – edamame (without sauce!) (these were seriously overcooked – tough, wrinkled and dry), and finally bottom left – the sushi. The over cooked tempura and the “hey lets cover up the fact that this has no taste by drizzling sauce all over the place” sauce met their match in the epic Earls sushi battle against rice-so-poorly-made-that-you-can’t-even-pick-it-up-with-a-fork-let-alone-chopsticks. The rice was clearly set on creating havoc as it constantly tried the ‘divide and concur’ strategy in this war, falling apart when I looked at it funny. Or looked at it. The winner in this sushi battle. No one. The loser; me. My wallet. My taste buds.
Really, what is it with putting sauce on things that don’t taste good? Just make them taste good, and leave off the sauce.
The sad thing – I remember the ‘sushi’ at Earls being good. I remember late nights with friends at the 16th ave location; laughter, drinks, calla lilies and sushi. I remember leisurely lunches with out of town guests, sitting on the patio at the WestHills location; hushed voices, red cheeks, teasing gestures and sushi. I remember after-party munchies at the Earls in Mission; sparkling wit matched with sparkling costume jewelry, squishing into booths despite a relatively empty restaurant, innuendo, mixed metaphors and sushi.
I remember it being good. But it isn’t anymore.
And it’s overpriced.