I think most people have heard of the old proverb that if you reach for the stars and miss, then at least you will have the moon for company.
Sushi Dai Bekkan reminds me very much of this saying. Having to wait for about 20 minutes in the queue suggested that there was something of worth inside and once we entered, we discovered that there was.
Ordering the omakase chef's choice menu ($40), I found that exactly half of the 12 offerings were fantastic and the other half merely good. Strangely, the good stuff was found in the first half of the course.
The merely good consisted of the egg omelette (tamago yaki), sweet shrimp (amai ebi), horse mackerel (aji), chopped fatty tuna rolls (negitoro maki), sea urchin (uni), seared fatty tuna (aburi toro) and conger eel (anago).
Of these, the egg omelette was nice and so too the tuna rolls but the seared fatty tuna was very much a case of 'oh why oh why did you that?!?' Fatty tuna, really, should be allowed to melt...
The stars of the course, however, were the halibut (hirame), the red meat tuna (akami maguro), the Spanish mackerel (sawara - more on this one in a moment), the red clam (akagai), the golden eye snapper (kinmedai) and the rockfish (kasago).
All of the above had lovely textures and rich flavours but none more so than the Spanish mackerel. This piece floored me. Thick, juicy and pillow-like with a hint of sweetness, the Spanish mackerel was an absolutely marvellous experience. I would happily return to Sushi Dai Bekkan just to order the Spanish mackerel.
Following close behind was the red clam which I just loved. A hint of crunch, full of texture and taste, this piece melted beautifully. Good quality clam is a delight and eating it, well, you would have seen a rather content grin on yours truly.
I was able to choose the last piece and so went with rockfish, a topping new to me. Offered with salt or soy sauce, I went with the salt. Deceptively textured, the fish had a deeper than imagined flavour that was almost hypnotic. What broke the trance, however, was the salt. A few too many grains, me thinks. Other than that, it was a piece definitely worth trying again.
The first half of Sushi Dai Bekkan's omakase course set the bar high. The second half of the course failed to reach it.
But at least there were stars.