Selecting a restaurant that serves sushi for dinner is a tricky business: one false move and you could be landed with either food poisoning or an astronomical bill with unsatisfactory results. Back in the States, my parents and I regularly rack up hundreds of dollars at our local favorite, Koharu and we order liberally from the sashimi and sushi menus. However, as delectable the delights at Koharu are, the bill leaves my tummy churning.
With Udita in town, however, dinner called for a special occasion and Karim suggested we all meet at Atari-Ya in Swiss Cottage, one of several sushi restaurants and Japanese food shops operated by T&S Enterprise in London. Nestled between a corner shop and a few estate agents on the unassuming Fairfax Road, one could be excused for hurrying past Atari-Ya without giving it a second thought. But I was pleasantly surprised with just how good it really was.
The boys started with some salmon sashimi and nigiri, while we snacked on some edamame that came with our "Party Platter for 2":
Karim's favorite, the spider roll, was probably the best and easiest to eat (most hand rolls are crafted into beautiful pieces of sushi art, but unfortunately for me, my boorish eating habits make a mess of things) in my sushi consumption experience:
Udita had the sake sampler "A", which proved to be a bit meh, but nothing could beat our Party Platter, which triumphed over the boys' choices - what, with its three choices of sashimi, teriyaki salmon and chicken skewers, egg omelette, California rolls, tuna maki and other goodies:
The sashimi was melt-in-your-mouth and the rice around the rolls was perfectly done - not too sticky or gloopy, which I'm usually quite critical of. The amount and variety of the Party Platter was perfect for two, but I'm tempted to order solely from the sashimi and hand roll a la carte menu on my next visit.
But the best part, aside from the fresh and delicious sushi, was our bill: £76 for four people, including drinks (excluding service). Madness, really.
Will there be a next time? Most definitely. Yes.