Lunch at Sushi Time
As North Dakota holds the distinction of harboring the geographic center of North America within its borders, it would seem that it would be a huge challenge to prepare and serve fresh and delicious sushi and sashimi because there is no fresh fish readily available. Indeed, the utter lack of high-quality, fresh seafood (retail or in restaurants) is my largest complaint about the food ecosystem in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Hence, whenever I get a chance to eat sushi and sashimi when I’m out of town, I jump at it. The chance to to eat breathtakingly fresh fish that, if odorous at all, smells of a clean sea breeze is absolutely irresistible to me.
So, with my love of sushi, I was obviously interested in the two sushi places that are currently in the area. Yuki-Hana was first and I’ve been there once (before the inception of this blog). You can read a reviews of it here and here. I found it to be a rather inconsistent experience. The miso soup and tempura were very good but the sushi and sashimi were really quite bad in my estimation. Neither the tuna nor the eel I ordered seemed fresh and they almost had a tinny quality to them. Perhaps it was a bad night for the kitchen but it made me quite cautious about ordering sushi in my town. Was is just simply impossible to get good, fresh fish here?
Hence, I was excited to go to Sushi Time but a little skeptical of Fargo’s ability to produce an excellent sushi bar. But after having eaten there, I think Sushi Time did indeed produce some very good sushi and sashimi. But, let’s take things step by step.
My first item was hot tea and I was surprised at what I got. Every other sushi establishment I have ever been to has an offering of a Japanese style tea. So, when I ordered tea, I expected a small teapot with some small teacups. No, I get a mug of hot water with a tea bag (some English style tea). It wasn’t bad but it really wasn’t what I was looking for.
The second item was miso soup, another staple of sushi restaurants. Miso is fermented soy bean paste that has a very unique flavor. Here’s a picture:
This miso soup was different than any other miso soup I had ever had because there was no tofu chunks or green onions in the soup. Sushi Time’s miso soup was all broth. The broth was well-flavored but I missed the tofu and onions. They add a bit of heartiness to the dish as well as some texture.
So, the front part of the meal was untraditional and pretty weak I think. And then I ordered the seaweed salad. Basically, it is seaweed tossed in a sesame oil vinaigrette. It, more than anything else for me, tastes like the ocean. The brininess, the freshness, and the refreshment of the salad evoke an early morning walk on the seashore. Sushi Time’s seaweed salad was all of that. It was just dressed enough to be flavorful but not so much where the flavor of the seaweed was masked. It was as good a seaweed salad as I’ve ever had. I will go back to just to eat that dish. Here’s a picture:
My friend ordered the octopus salad. The small taste I had was also excellent. Here’s a picture of that:
And then my lunch sushi/sashimi combination platter came out. It contained a spicy tuna roll for the sushi and salmon, red snapper, tuna, eel, and a unidentifiable piece of fish for the sashimi. Here’s a picture:
I thought that the sashimi was flawless. The fish was cold, fresh, and perfectly textured. The eel (which is not raw) was particularly excellent as was the salmon. The tuna roll, however, was not quite perfect. For whatever reason, the tuna in the roll was so finely cut that it was paste-like. It tasted fresh and spicy but I just did not like the texture of it. Otherwise, the other flavors in the roll were fine; I just distracted by the “creaminess” of the tuna.
I can heartily recommend Sushi Time. Apart from some missteps in a few details, it offers excellent sushi and sashimi. And that, if anything, is what such a place needs to excel at. I’m already looking forward to my next piece of raw salmon.
Sushi Time is located in the O’Kelly Inn. The address is 3800 Main Avenue, Fargo ND, 58103. The phone number is (701) 277-1880. It opens every day at 11 except Sunday, when it opens at 3.