First: Mmm, sushi!
Second: I’m not sure of the official location of Shogun Sushi. Google Maps places it smack dab in Westminster, but their mailing address says “Arvada.” So, I’ll just be vague and say it’s in the “Denver Metro Area.”
Anyhow, we got a check for Christmas that was explicitly meant to be spent on sushi. So, after staring at a Google map for five minutes as my eyes glazed over with hunger, I picked Shogun Sushi. It’s tucked away in a strip mall off of Sheridan, and upon walking in we were all like “Wow, this is teeny!” Japanese TV was playing, and we sat in a nice dark corner, thus occupying one of the 8ish tables in the entire place (plus teeny sushi bar).
So after getting some complimentary green tea (yay for complimentary tea!), we started off with some tasty gyoza.
Speaking of “Nice dark corner,” if the photos in this post all look like they had the “taken in a dark room with an iPhone + flash” filter applied to them, well, there’s a good reason for that. The problem with having an iPhone, it seems, is that it makes it so much easier to forget my actual camera when I go to restaurants cause I’m all like “I’ll just take pictures on my phone!” Which is fine if the lighting’s really good, but otherwise? Not so much. (Not that my regular camera photos are that much better, oops!). Oh well, I’ll just pretend bad iPhone photos are arty or something.
Anyhow, the sushi. It’s tough to figure out what to order at new sushi places, because there’s often a wide variety of sizes and price ranges depending on the restaurant. We had sushi money to use, so we ordered what we thought would be a little bit more than we could actually eat. Alas, we ended with enough for four people.
This plate was huge. It took up a rather significant area of the table we were sitting at. And the rolls? Huge. Ginormous freaking rolls. Like, if there are truck stops in Japan, this is what they’re serving there. Drew actually had a tough time with this, as I suspect anyone would who is of the “one roll = one mouthful” mentality. That’s pretty much impossible here, and it’s almost inevitable that the rolls will fall apart as you try to eat them.
As for the rolls themselves? Kinda mixed feelings on them. The avocado roll was really impressive in the vast amount of avocado they managed to stuff into them, but after eating one or two, you start wondering “Do I really want the avocado to rice ratio in my rolls to be this high?” The nigiri was fabulous (mackerel and eel), though the problem of having everything on one plate was that the eel sauce started running all over the futomaki rolls (the seaweed-on-the-outside roll on the far right in the picture above). And soon, the futomaki rolls were soaked in eel sauce, which made them overwhelmingly sweet. Seems that separating sushi onto different plates does serve a functional role, not just an aesthetic role. The spicy tuna roll (between the avocado and futomaki rolls in the photo above) was astoundingly good. Tuna is hands down my favorite fish, and in this case the high tuna to rice ratio was definitely a good thing. The blend was really interesting as well: your standard tuna/mayo/”spicy sauce” mixture, with the addition of fish roe. Quite tasty!
We also got a special roll, which was essentially an avocado roll topped with all of those magical toppings you can see in the photo above. Aesthetically, the roll was great, but it again had the issue of “holy crap, too much avocado!” I feel so bad saying “too much avocado”, as I generally don’t believe in such a thing, but it seemed to be the case here! The fish on top was good, but it didn’t quite “mesh”, if that makes sense. Like, I wanted the fish to be sliced thinner and to adhere to the top of the roll when I picked it up. But the slices of fish were thicker, and kept wanting to fall off as I navigated the rolls towards my gaping maw. I suspect the excessive avocado issue might not have been so much of an issue had I managed to actually fit one of these giant suckers into my mouth along with the runaway fish slices.
And speaking of aesthetics…it is something that I’ve been noticing, how plate presentation really can make good sushi into great sushi (and is one of the things that keeps the otherwise delicious Namiko’s from being truly awesome). The rolls themselves were pretty at Shogun – the sprinkled herbs plus sesame seed added bonus crunch plus flavor to the rolls, though I’m not sure it needed to necessarily be added to every single roll. However, the plate presentation was still of the “piling everything neatly onto the platter in rows” variety, and not so much of the interesting artistry variety. But, considering you could get a giant 8-piece roll for about $7.50, I’m thinking the price balances out the lack of artistry. This isn’t a place you go for plate presentation. If there was ever a place you’d go to for “hearty sushi,” Shogun would be it.
And speaking of hearty, check out these leftovers:
This was my breakfast the next day. And dinner. And Drew’s dinner. I loved how they packed us a separate container for pickled ginger + wasabi + soy sauce packets. Service was definitely good – another advantage of a tiny restaurant. And as it’s tiny, I’d recommend getting there early. We got there around 6:00 pm on a weekday and had our choice of seats, but when we left the place was packed.
As for going back there…Drew has no interest. But again, he doesn’t like big rolls, and is still new to eating fish, so the high filling-to-rice ratio did not make him happy. I’d totally go back again, though I might skip some of the rolls I tried this time around. Next time I’m craving grocery store sushi, I might just get a roll to go from Shogun instead. In terms of going there for a sit down meal, my recommendation is: get the giant 8 piece spicy tuna roll, one or two orders of nigiri, miso soup, and salad. And split some gyoza with someone, because you just can’t go wrong with gyoza!