14 March 2011

Birthday party at Sushi Tango, Mpls.

Until last weekend, I’d never been to Sushi Tango. Can’t really say that I had any desire to go. But my sister-in-law decided to have her (can’t really say which one) birthday dinner there with a group of friends, that provided the impetus to go.

Several people in the group knew about Krik’s Picks. “Are you going to blog about this dinner?” they wondered. With that kind of a build-up, how could I decline?

I can say many nice things about Sushi Tango. But in some ways, it also was disappointing. I guess my summary conclusion it this: It was a nice place for a birthday dinner. We had a lot of fun. But I probably wouldn’t go back.SushiTango4

For this birthday dinner, the guest of honor chose a hibachi table. Good decision. It was very conducive to conversation around the griddle, and we had a lot of room to get up and walk around and socialize. On the other hand, our chef was a dud. Granted, we were not an easy crowd. But part of the job is to be entertaining. He couldn’t keep peoples’ attention.

Also, he hadn’t mastered some of the tricks. His onion ring volcano was pretty impressive. But there’s the trick while he’s preparing the fried rice. He started by cooking the eggs. Then before mixing it together with the rice and vegetables, the chef demonstrates his prowess by flicking pieces of cooked egg into the mouths of the guests. Our guy kept missing. He also was a bit clumsy. He knocked over a glass of water. SushiTango2

So far, the rating is ambiance = good, entertainment = ‘meh.’ But what really counts is the food (and drinks). Once again my review is mixed. My wife and I had Asian-inspired martinis. Hers was a lychee martini that was quite good. Mine was a cucumber martini that was just so-so. They also have a nice selection of beer. We ordered several appetizers to share. I thought these were consistently good. I liked the kimchee, but I’m not an expert by any means. There was a good tofu appetizer that got passed around. My favorite was something called ‘tataki’ which was paper-thin slices of tuna seasoned with ginger, garlic, herbs and a sauce. They also ordered edamame – not my favorite. For me, the apps and drinks were the highlight.

I would say that the rest of the dinner, cooked on the griddle, was excessively salted. My wife and I split something called the Uptown Special – shrimp, scallops, and calamari. It was good, but certainly nothing special. Around the table, a few people had chicken, but I didn’t taste any. Probably the entrée that was the most impressive was the seared tuna steak. These were SushiTango1beautiful, thick pieces of ruby red tuna. The chef seared each side and then let them simmer briefly while he cut tender slices. By now, many of the diners were getting full. So even though my wife and I were done with our seafood, I was able to score a piece of the tuna. It was good.

At the end, they brought out a birthday dessert. Nice touch. Throughout, the service was friendly enough and reasonably prompt, so no complaints about that. But I guess I just wasn’t impressed enough to want to come back.

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