Monday, June 20, 2011

OTAKU: An Oasis in the Desert

Who says you can't find fabulous sushi in the middle of the desert?

Barely a few months old, Otaku of Chandler, Arizona brings it on with a vast array of fresh fish, top-tier service, and uncanny attention to detail.

Executive chef Jay Chung introduced me to the magic of combining succulent Australian Wagyu ribeye with macadamian nuts; the refreshing and cool aftertaste that can be discovered by adding shiso leaf and avocado to a simple salmon skin hand roll; and the rich, heady aroma of properly smoked salmon nigiri.

I'm indoctrinated in all matters of sushi, from the fact that the little green bits atop the toro gunkan-style is the unprecedented pickled wasabi, to the principle of taking a torch to a sheet of nori in order to add a little crisp.

The "Otaku special salsa" atop the Salmon Tataki Special, I'm told, is comprised of cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, yuzu and Japanese dressing. For an unconventional roll, there's the Cajun Otaku Tempura, which comes with Ahi tuna, big eye tuna, avocado and asparagus. The entire roll is panko-breaded and then fried and served with cajun sauce.

It's the little touches that matter, from the marble sushi bar to the savvy of the sushi master. And unlike many other resetaurants, Otaku as a business is confident and experienced, and therefore unafraid of recommending other local restaurants that the staff holds in high regard.

With its swaying palm trees and welcoming ambience, Otaku truly is an oasis in the desert.

2430 S. Gilbert Rd., Chandler, AZ

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