#55: Sensei Sushi

With #55 I begin the last month of my mission (unless something new opens up).  This is Sensei Sushi.  One of the first sushi joints I tried in Rancho and probably the one I have been to most often.  They are located at Zinfandel & Olson Dr, right next door to Chipotle.  I arrived today just after they opened and was customer #1.  The dining room is split down the middle by a large fish tank.  There were two fish in it today.  One tiny little guy that I almost didn’t notice and the big honkin’ one, in the photo below, who has been swimming laps in this tank for longer than I’ve been coming here.

I was greeted by the head sushi chef / owner as I entered, and was seated immediately next to the fish tank on the side with the sushi bar.  I already know which salad I would be ordering, but was feeling hungry and thought I should add a little to it.  Sensei is one of my favorite sushi places.  On of the major reasons for this is that they have appetizers of sashimi for not-outrageous prices.  At most places if you want some sashimi you’ll have to order a combo or a plate of 10-20 pieces, either of which always approaches $20 or more.  So I picked out a 4-peice order of salmon sashimi for $6.95.  Miso soup is complimentary here, though I forgot and asked for it when I ordered out of habit.  She simply smiled and gestured to the steaming bowl that she had brought with her when coming to take my order.  Finally, for my salad, I ordered the Hawaiian Poki Salad [$12.95].

I sipped on the miso soup for a bit before the sashimi arrived (which took about 5 minutes).  This was not as hot as Soho’s, but hotter than most, which I like.  The salmon sashimi arrived on a little wooden platform.  The chef even hooked me up with a 5th piece!  Each slice was nice and thick.  This was a great value for $7.  They were very, very cold however, so I decided to set them aside and have them after the salad.  By that time they were perfect – buttery and delicious in a dash of soy sauce.

The poki salad arrived in a bowl with a massive rim.  It made the salad look small, however it was fairly deep as well as being dense, so it was a bit deceiving in that way.  This thing was HOT.  Spicy hot.  Not so much on a single-bite level, but by the time I was done my mouth was nearly on fire.  It stuck with me all the way back to work.  To be fair, on the menu it had the little chili pepper next to it.  I just rarely take those warnings seriously because they usually overestimate the level of spice.  The salad was loaded up with lots of bite-sized pieces of fresh tuna, slices of cucumber and some type of (I’m guessing) seaweed.  Spice aside, this was very flavorful and very good overall.  Service was solid, the chef is great.  Sensei continues to be one of the best spots in Rancho for sushi.

Website: http://thesenseisushi.com/

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