Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Sushi Don't: Tenshi Restaurant

I admit that I'm spoiled with all the fresh seafood that the Pacific Northwest has to offer and as I've boasted several times (ANNOYINGLY so) already on this blog, sushi in the Puget Sound is no joke.  But I'm not terribly hard to please: for example, I'll happily have Itsu sashimi for lunch or even visit the occasional conveyor belt establishment (as long as it's not Yo! Sushi - I'd recommend Kulu Kulu in Covent Garden instead if you're really desperate for traveling plates).

Craving a light but tasty meal, John, Justin and I made our way to Tenshi on Saturday night for some low-key sushi and noodles.  The positive reviews after a quick Google search on the iPhone were enough to go on at the time and we were quickly seated before the dinner rush began.  It seemed that the restaurant was popular with the pre-partying crowd with a queue out the door by the time we left and a few regulars, which were all (so I thought) good signs.

We ordered a sushi selection (£22), a chicken yakisoba (£7.50) and an octopus starter to share.  When the sushi arrived, I was horrified as I gazed down at the tuna rolls that had what resembled blood seeping into the rice.  Justin's eyes bulged.  Some involuntary gagging ensued.  The other pieces of nigiri looked dark and far from fresh.  "Is that ... um ... is that ... blood?" I squeaked.  The waitress considered it for a moment and said, "Oh no, that's the spicy tuna.  That is hot sauce."  Then she realized she had delivered the order to the wrong table and that it was actually intended for the couple seated next to us.  "Don't worry," the lady at the table next to us chirped.  "I recognized it!" Clearly a regular, but I don't know why - perhaps she likes eating morsels of food that resemble parts props from a horror film.  I breathed a sigh of relief that the non-bloody-but-bloody-looking rolls did not belong to us but was nevertheless skeptical of the quality of our own selections.

Our chicken yakisoba was up first.  On initial taste, the chicken was flavorful and the dish sizzling hot, which is to my liking.  But the addition of red and green bell peppers was truly bizarre and the Top Ramen consistency and quality of the noodles were just inexcusable.  The oily sheen left in my bowl didn't do any favors to my opinion of the already unimpressive dish and for £7.50, I would rather grab a noodle box at Ned's Noodles.

Then our sushi arrived.  I silently prayed that I wouldn't contract food poisoning and bravely plunged into the hamachi nigiri.  It wasn't off.  I breathed another sigh of relief.  It wasn't great quality or particularly fresh, but it certainly wasn't off.  The tuna was mushy and the avocado rolls (avocado, really? If you want a cheap and easy way to rip people off, cucumber in place of avocado would certainly be a more convincing choice, no?) were, again, puzzling.  We were then presented with a two rolls that looked like it had salad stuffed inside.  "Justin, eat it and tell us what it has in it," I commanded.  He ate and proceeded to say, "Itsch jusht shalad shtuffed inshide." Bonkers.

My verdict is: visit this place when you've finished your karaoke set at Lucky Voice down the road and are suitably drunk.  Then you won't notice the bloody-not-bloody rolls or the grease.  You'll just be grateful to have something line your stomach - which is what Tenshi is good for.  A brutal conclusion, perhaps, but brutally honest.

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