Sunday, September 5, 2010

Osaka Japanese Restaurant of Valencia, Spain

I didn't go into Spain expecting much of the sushi; therefore, I wasn't disappointed. Inbetween bites of oil-saturated, overly salted tapas and tastings of the more sophisticated variety (I'm talking gazpachos, fish egg-laden baguettes and violet-flavored ice cream), I still somehow found the time to duck into the occasional Japanese dive.

While European sushi never did impress me much in general (I find most of it rather bland in taste and lacking in authenticity), I always found it amusing to read menus in different languages, from French to Danish to Dutch. In Spain, eel is written as anguille and spicy tuna is referred to as atun picante.

In the city of Valencia, the Japanese restaurant of Osaka serves a roll known as Hara Maki, which the menu defines as "California Roll and masago." The four-piece order which costs almost 9 Euros contains a stick of imitation crab (the cheap, flavorless variety), cucumber and avocado, but the additional ingredients of tuna, salmon and oshinko are a nice surprise, and the masago turns out to be wasabi tobiko. Although not bursting with flavor, by European standards it is at least decent.

What made me miss Los Angeles sushi, however, was the fact that the 10-piece sweet shrimp sashimi that Osaka served, while highly quantitative for the price of 8 Euros, was low in quality as far as taste, freshness and sizethese were nothing like the large ama ebi I knew from back home, whose bodies are served as sushi and big heads are fried to a crisp and then presented separately as a crunchy snack with ponzu sauce.

C/. Ribera, n 8
46002 Valencia, Spain

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