I have been quite addicted to Groupon vouchers lately, mainly because of the various restaurants being advertised. One of them was @ Restaurant. Located on Pacific Highway in Crows Nest, it joins a vast number of Japanese eateries already in the neighbourhood. I’ve walked past the shop many times before but noticed one day it was under renovation and wondered if it is operating under a new owner and yes it was! Ex-Merivale Chef Atsushi Saito of sushi e and Sushi Choo have moved into the premises bringing his famous sushi skills with him.
With my voucher in hand, thinking no booking is required on a Sunday night, the place was filled with a mixture of Japanese families, flatmates and couples. I didn’t read the fine print and needed to call ahead to book to use the voucher. Undeterred, we decided to try their normal menu offered as I was in the mood for some Japanese. Specials of the day are written on the window and on the back wall which consists of the freshest fish of the day, personally sourced by Chef Saito at the fish markets in that morning.
I was suffering from a hangover and for some reason beer is what I have been craving for afterwards. Noticed that there was a Sapporo bullet can and it was an immediate win!
The slices of snapper were sliced generously and were seasoned with white soy and lime dressing. Never had white soy before and it was slightly sweet with no strong saltines you would get out of regular soy.
Next up was the Wagyu thin skirt steak. This dish was very textural with tender tataki style pieces of Wagyu topped with crunchy potato shreds.
I took a risk in ordering the cheese gyoza as Mr Dough isn’t a big fan of cheese. Much to my surprise he really enjoyed it! The gyoza filled with bococcini style cheese and chopped chives, deep-fried so that the cheese was all molten inside.
I was also a bit sceptical about the prawn skewers on the menu as I thought it was very simple. The prawns were amazingly springy and had just the right amount of chilli sprinkled on top.
We played Russian roulette with the hot peppers as we didn’t know which one would contain the most seeds. Chicken mince was stuffed in hot peppers, tempura style and the dish reminded me of Chinese style fish paste in capsicum but this had the heat to back it up.
Another special of the day was tempura cuttle fish legs. I love cuttle fish legs purely on the basis that it is crunchy and meaty.
We toyed with the idea of trying some sushi to finish and Mr Dough was adamant he could finish it. And of course since he is famous for his sushi!
The small sushi set arrived and I was immediately impressed that the prawn sushi was a fresh prawn made in-house and not one of those frozen packets that most sushi train uses. The sushi rice was nice and warm with just the right amount of vinegar. Each sashimi slice was quite thick and fat and you could definitely taste the freshness of the fish.
For my next arrival, I must sit on the sushi bar and befriend Atsushi so he can just whip up any type of sushi he feels like!
@ ! Restaurant (At Restaurant)
477 Pacfic Highway
Crows Nest NSW 2065
+612 9437 5285