Curry and California rolls
Sacramento, CA 95831
There are still people out there who are leery of consuming raw fish. There are some that refuse to even go to sushi restaurants on the assumption there’s nothing else but raw fish. There are also those who do go, but only order the chicken teriyaki bento box.
And don’t forget those who won’t eat raw fish if it didn’t come straight out of the water within a few miles of the restaurant. Of course, for those who are prepared to “try anything once,” know that at most Japanese restaurants, the menus are expansive.
Open since 2006 (and sold to the Kaizen Dining Group in 2014), Banzai Sushi offers donburi bowls, bento boxes, ramen, udon, soba and sushi rolls. The Ebi Nigiri ($5.95) might be the training wheels of sushi introduction for skeptics, and yet its cold sweetness atop a bed of seasoned sushi rice is still delightful. The temaki has all of the components of sushi rolls, except it’s hand rolled into a cone filled with your choice of accoutrements. I always go with the Salmon Skin Temaki ($5.95), a trumpet of gossamer salmon skin, cold and crisp cucumber, scallions and unagi sauce. And it’s never a bad idea to order the Mixed Tempura ($7.95) with its springy shrimp and snappy vegetables all covered in an ethereal batter.
One of the things I order most at Japanese restaurants is the Salmon Collar ($9.95). I don’t know why I don’t see it on tables more often. The combination of the fatty salmon, crispy skin that forms after being grilled over the open fire and the smokiness is addictive.
What I don’t order much is the Katsu Curry. Most places use pre-made, processed or powdered curry with a sad little fried protein cutlet. It’s not worth it. But when Banzai Sushi’s Katsu Curry ($12.95) appears, it’s another game: An inviting moat of thick vermilion sauce embedded with huge chunks of chicken, potatoes and carrots that sit on a ceramic plate side by side with white rice and a huge panko-breaded chicken or pork cutlet. It’s perfect for the upcoming cold weather.
If you’re broke, busted and out there dating, Banzai Sushi also has an impressive happy hour menu. You and your date can hunker down with the usual suspects: California Roll ($6.95), two-piece Nigiri ($4.50), Salmon Collar ($7.50) and Sake Bombs ($2.50). The modest-size restaurant is perfect for an intimate experience. It has a lot of light in the front, where you can sit at the counter and watch the chefs assemble your rolls and nigiri. But the back of the restaurant can be a bit cavernous. The customer service is really personable. And with so many options, you should not be ordering the chicken teriyaki.