Namiko’s is a sushi restaurant which is only a 15 minute walk from where we live. Or a 5 minute drive (closer to 8 minutes during rush hour). Or around 7-8 minutes to bike. In any case, we’ve lived near it for about 9 months now, and for some bizarre reason haven’t gotten around to actually eating there until this past month, where we’ve eaten there twice. The first time I cursed myself for having forgotten my camera, and the second time I cursed the lighting for making the pictures all fuzzy.
There were four of us, and we got a range of items from the menu. As we waited for our rolls, we got to take in the decor which hovers somewhere between fabulous and tacky. Lots of fish tanks, aquatic creatures on the blue walls, plus a filtered light in one room to simulate gentle ocean waves. I wouldn’t mind a house that looked like this, actually. Even better if it came with the sushi bar + chefs!
The service was very quick, with rolls coming out not too long after we’d placed our order. This was at the expense of the plate presentation though, which seemed a bit lacking.
We started with the Line of Fire Shrimp, which is described in the menu as “Large tempura shrimp baked crispy with spicy sauce, masago, scallion, and Namiko’s sweet glaze.” It was definitely a bit heavier then regular tempura shrimp (if one form of ‘deep fried’ can really be considered heavier then another, that is), but was nonetheless very tasty. I approve heartily of Namiko’s sweet glaze, which is a component of several of their menu items.
The spicy tuna roll was appropriately luscious, and in fact a bit fatter then tuna rolls I’ve gotten from other places. I am a bit biased on any roll containing tuna – my ideal death would be a mercury overdose from having eaten too much tuna throughout my life. This is also why I should never have children – from what I’ve heard, you’re not supposed to eat raw fish while pregnant, so my kid would be pretty much screwed from the start. It does make me wonder though, how do Japanese women cope with not being able to eat raw fish during a pregnancy? Or is it just a weird American restriction? Maybe I can finagle my genetics so I could just give birth to a tuna, it would certainly save me money on shopping for sushi ingredients.
Moving on, the futomaki roll was futomaki-tastic. In reality, it tasted about the same as almost every other futomaki roll I’ve eaten. Not that this is a bad thing. Futomaki rolls are magical, full of flavor, and I would totally order it again. The asparagus roll was a bit surprising. The first time we ate here, we got a roll with asparagus in it (among other things, including crab), and I thought it was rather average. This asparagus-only roll was delicous, though. The difference? The asparagus was deep-fried. Deep-fried makes everything (with some exceptions, I’m sure) taste better!
We got a few pieces of eel and tuna nigiri. The tuna nigiri ended up in everyone’s stomach before there was a chance to take a picture, but that only affirms it’s tastiness. The eel nigiri was good as well, with a generous piece of eel atop each ball of rice.
As good Americans, we got both a California roll and a Philly roll. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with California rolls, and that was the case with this one. I didn’t actually have any of the Philly roll – cream cheese in sushi seems a tad wrong to me – but Drew gobbled them down like nothing else, so I’ll assume they were good.
My favorite roll at Namiko’s thus far is the Master Blend Tuna. A bit pricey at $8.50, but so freaking good, with a giant tuna center along with spicy mayonnaise, masago (fish eggs), avocado, and cucumber.
The last roll we got (and the most interestingly presented roll) was the Tomodachi roll. It’s description on the menu is “Crabmeat, avocado and spicy sauce roll, covered with Albacore tuna slices and baked warm with Namiko’s sweet glaze.”
It was rather tasty, but what I’d like to try is baking the roll without the tuna on top, and searing the tuna separately, laying it atop the roll after it’s done making and then drizzling the entire thing with the sauce. I really really like seared tuna, and I wish the tuna in this roll was a little less cooked then it was.
In conclusion, if you find yourself in the Arvada area, or are heading west on I-70 and are craving sushi, it’s 5 minutes off the highway and completely worth the visit!