Sushi Friday IV

Japanica II

852 Washington Street

Middletown, CT 06457

860-346-4498

I’ve broken my promise to review one sushi place a month over and over. The last review was in March. I’ll try to do better from now on.

The original Japanica is in Farmington, and I’ve never been there. The Middletown version is among my favorite sushi restaurants.

What I like: It’s in the same plaza with Staples with lots of easy parking.

It’s quiet.

It’s traditional looking with booths that have curtains one can close for privacy.

It lacks the hibachi tables that seem to occasion noise and smell in other places.

The very tall young chef is extremely polite and quiet. If he knows his patrons, he offers a small dish to start the meal. This is usually an improvement on kani salad with little pieces of tuna and salmon, accompanied by julienned cucumber in a sauce of vinegar. He dyed his hair blond a while back and spent most of my lunch hour on his cell when he wasn’t cutting fish. I wondered if a girlfriend was involved …

The place offers impeccable, unobtrusive service mostly from a shy young woman. The one time she forgot to bring soy sauce she seemed absolutely humiliated.

The waitress and the sushi chef share their tips so there’s none of the hassle about splitting things up that happens at other places.

The sashimi lunch. Good miso with a healthy amount of seaweed and tofu; the usual salad with slightly more julienned red cabbage and carrots than other places; four pieces of Cali roll; rice and eight pieces of sashimi, usually two each of escolar, yellowfin, tuna and salmon. All the fish is absolutely fresh. The usual condiment of pickled ginger gets a lift from takuan, little chunks of pickled daikon, which I adore.

The price is lower than other places and offers somewhat more food.

Music is Asian inspired and unobtrusive.

A couple of weeks ago as I recovered from a gastric upset, I was craving vegetable maki, and I ordered Japanica vegetable maki (mushroom, two types of pickles, two types of seaweed asparagus and rice) and a green river roll (asparagus, cucumber, avocado, rice and seaweed.) With a bowl of their miso, it was a perfect meal.

What I don’t like: It’s in the same plaza with Staples, which is too much of a temptation.

It can be too, too quiet when Wesleyan isn’t in session.

The TV, which is always tuned to ESPN. The one time I went in and it was off, the sushi chef turned it on as soon as I sat down.

When I ordered a different luncheon special from a different chef, if I remember, I was disappointed. The spicy yellowtail maki was OK, but the Boston roll (fake crab, shrimp, avocado, Boston lettuce, caviar, and mayo, rice and seaweed on the outside) was lacking most of the fish.

Overall score: B+

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One Response to “Sushi Friday IV”

  1. Sushi Friday VIII « Lizr128′s Blog Says:

    […] place used to be my default place. And then it crashed. Now my default is Japanica (Sushi Friday IV) or if I’m feeling wealthier and not as hungry, Mikado (Sushi Friday […]

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