A few weeks ago, my friends and I checked out a brand new East Village sushi spot called Sushi Dojo. I was expecting to find the typical menu fare (a la California rolls), but to my (pleasant) surprise, the restaurant didn’t serve any of that. Instead, they offered up traditional, unexpected entrees — which I thoroughly, and surprisingly loved. I was forced out of my sushi comfort zone! I ate five different plates in total. Interestingly, the word “dojo,” in the restaurant’s name, means “education” in Japanese, which is actually quite fitting. We were seated with chef Mokoto who taught us about several new dishes we had never tried before, explaining the background behind each and why he chose various ingredients.
We started off with three different appetizers. The first, Sunomono, consisted of tuna, sliced apple and a vinegar sauce. It was a very refreshing appetizer to start the meal with.
Next, we tried the Octopus ceviche, per chef Mokoto’s recommendation. The dish consisted of crab, octopus, cucumber and jicama, with a dill-like sauce. The contrast of textures and the crunch of the jicama really made this plate stand out! I love a good crunch.
We followed that with the Asari Sakamushi — grilled clams with a sake sauce. This was my first-ever experience eating clams! (Weird, right?) For some reason, clams have always scared me away in the past. But this dish was absolutely delicious — not too salty, not too tender:
I also ordered Kimpaira Gobo, which stood out to me on the menu. The dish consisted of Burdock root, sauteed with sesame oil. I’m a big fan of sesame dressing, so I had to give it a go! It reminded me of a similar Asian salad that my mom used to make for me. I think this may have been one of my favorite dishes of the night (side note — I’d like to point out that I successfully ate this with chopsticks!).
Last but not least, I just had to order one sushi roll to round out my sushi experience — the yellowtail roll with scallions.