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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tomo Sushi: Very friendly!

Lunch date #14, May 4, 2012

Now we are very official. We have had sushi. We know what we are doing. Mom is no longer afraid or intimidated by the idea of going to a sushi restaurant. This is especially true since she declared: "I don't have to eat sushi again, I already tried it." She was victorious! Our original game-plan was that she would try new things. We never said anything about having to try them again! She planned on something cooked-perhaps a teriyaki sort of dish. I thought we'd give Tomo Sushi a try (Tomo Sushi, Bar and Grill, 724 Main Street, tomosushibarandgrill.com).  After all, tomo means "friend" in Japanese (or so it is stated all over their literature, menus, placards), so it seemed a friendly place to try!

Location: 5 points. Sort of at the lonely end of the north section of downtown, nestled between a bike shop and hair salon….but as per our scheme, still rates as downtown. Former site of Cabana Daves, and I can't remember what was in that location before, but they do have a small parking lot which is nice.

Ambiance: 3 points. Very small inside dining: 6 tables and a sushi bar. There are two tables on the sidewalk out front, and they do have the patio in back (but honestly, we didn't look at it). There was only one other dining table occupied, and since it wasn't all that warm that day, we took a table inside. Overall the décor was rather plain—not as cute as Main Sushi…since we ARE comparing!

Menu offering: 4 points. Lots of choices. We were very interested in the bento boxes. Of course, if you're into it, there is a long list of sushi and sashimi choices—not that even with our vast experience, we'd know much about the choices. As I said, Mom had rather been there/done that with the sushi, so she went with the bento box including teriyaki chicken and Gyoza dumplings. The boxes also contained white rice, edamame and were served with miso soup and tea. For $1 extra, you can offer a few different maki rolls in addition to the box. I, being the brave sushi eater, went with the bento and added a California maki.

Service: 4 points. Our server was very courteous and attentive. She spoke Japanese with us…at least lots of "hai" and "domo arigatogozaimashita". All very proper and polite. Since my one great trip to Japan, I knew very few words of Japanese—but was certain to use them often! She was quick to bring tea and kept trying to refill it, but we didn't drink very much of it. Mom asked for a knife, and she promptly brought a full set of American-style cutlery for each of us. Of course, Mom had brought her chop stick pincher-cheaters with her and was doing a great job with them.

Food: 3 points. The selections in the boxes were pretty good. The miso soup and Japanese salad were OK. The tea was really bitter—we couldn't drink it. Unfortunately the California roll was really salty/fishy tasting. We started to discuss why Mom was so against the sushi roll. She confessed the hang up over the seaweed. "It's really like lettuce, or any other green," I explained. "It just happens to grow in the ocean."  To my surprise, Mom even tried a bite. "Tastes like the ocean," she decided. I had to agree. It did sort of taste like you were swimming in the ocean. I'm no sushi expert, but it didn't seem all that great. I guess that's not too good for a sushi restaurant! On the other hand, the teriyaki and Gyoza were very good, so we had plenty to eat. Nothing to take home, though…which is probably for the best considering the last time Mom took home Japanese food was not a pleasant experience.

Value: 4 points. The bento boxes were $8.50 each. Quite a deal! Lots of food; don't need to also order the roll. Much better priced than the other downtown restaurants, and more economical than Main Sushi. Would have scored a perfect 5 points if that sushi roll had been more to my liking.

Overall score for Tomo Sushi: 3.8 points. Not as good as Main Sushi, I'm afraid…but overall OK. I'm thinking we must have caught a bad-seaweed day. I just don't remember sushi tasting that salty. We will have to pay attention next time we visit a sushi restaurant—there are a lot of them in Pleasanton and we aim to try them all!

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