Ready to roll
Reno is arguably the bastion of all-you-can-eat sushi. It is ubiquitous, beloved and infamous for producing a “sushi coma” of overindulgence. But the newest kid on the block, Cove Sushi, has a different idea in mind.
The menu is presented as agrave; la carte, but with a “meal deal” twist. All meals are available with an appetizer and dessert: a one roll meal ($13.99), two roll meal ($16.99) or three roll meal ($19.99). You can substitute the long rolls for either three hand rolls or eight pieces of nigiri, and substitute the appetizer and dessert as well. Mix and match combinations are welcome. It seems a little confusing at first, but it turned out to be fairly simple. My daughter and I ordered three long rolls, a hand roll, five orders of nigiri—two pieces each—and four appetizers, sans dessert.
We began with miso soup, yakiton, wakame and baked mussels. The soup was hot, with plenty of tofu and scallion—just the thing for a chilly evening. The deep-fried cheese and seafood egg rolls were my hungry college student’s favorite, so I just had a bite and let her devour the rest. The seaweed salad comes with the optional inclusion of octopus or salmon skin. I went with salmon skin. It was crispy, with a fair amount of meat still attached. This was easily one of the most enjoyable examples of this appetizer. Finally, the mussels were just damn perfect—large, tender and doused in a great sauce with a touch of heat.
For nigiri, I chose sake (salmon), hamachi (yellowtail), hokkigai (surf clam), tai (snapper), tako (octopus) and unagi (freshwater eel). The fish-to-rice ratio was exceptionally good, with nice big cuts that were still bite-sized, at least for my ample maw. Cove Sushi’s surf clam and octupus were very fresh with lots of flavor. Both can tend to be chewy, but these folks know what they’re doing.
My daughter’s selection of long rolls began with the “Chameleon,” a mix of crystal shrimp and spicy crab, topped with avocado and cooked scallop. Next was the “Godzilla,” a deep-fried tempura roll of salmon, yellowtail and albacore, topped with sriracha. The last—the “Spider”—had soft shell crab and cucumber, topped with avocado and tobiko. Though I’m not a tremendous fan of hot sushi rolls, the crunch of the Godzilla was a nice textural counterpoint to the fresh fish flavors, spiked with a bit of spice. The Spider was good, with plenty of crunch and flavor from the crab, which blended well with the fresh ingredients. Best of all was the Chameleon. It won me over for taste and presentation. Each piece was crowned with a small, cooked scallop, and our server mentioned that everything is cooked to order. I do appreciate attention to detail.
I ordered the spicy scallop hand roll, almost as an afterthought, and I’m certainly glad I did. The little bay scallops really got their chance to shine, assisted by a fantastic spicy sauce, scallion and other tasty bits I didn’t pause to identify. The nori was softened a bit—making it a little tough to bite through—but that didn’t slow me down. Probably the best thing I tasted during the meal, I’d definitely order two or three of them the next time around. Even with the couple extra items ordered, we still left satisfied for less than we’d have paid for a traditional Reno AYCE meal. That’s a bonus.