Thursday, May 15, 2008

Musashino Sushi Dokoro

3407 Greystone Dr
Austin, TX 78731
(512) 795-8593

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted a new review. It’s been a crazy week. Between recovering from Finals and this week at work (and of course my full social schedule), blogging has found its way to the bottom of my list. That being said, I have a long, long list of places I’ve eaten at recently and have every intention of blogging about. The first of which has been a personal favorite restaurant of mine for over 10 years. Now that I’m back in the dating world and am a tick older, I’ve been noticing dating patterns that I was clueless about when I was a young woman freshly out on my own. 1) Men really do mature slower than women. I’m finally getting to the point where I can date men my own age. The 23 year old boys interested in chasing innocent, leggy, bottle blonds and doing beer bongs off the roof of their parents garage have finally turned into 30 year old men focused on their careers, saving money, and savoring life. 2) That when men (and maybe people in general) lack sufficient personal information about you, they’ll fall back on a standard set of questions. And the questions from man to man are surprisingly similar. My favorite right now, because it seems like every guy I’ve talked to has asked it recently is “What’s your favorite sushi restaurant.” I don’t know if they pulled this out of their ass or if there is some “Dating for Dummies” book out there that has put out a pre-approved set of questions a man should ask every woman (and I just haven’t happened to hear about it yet). I mean these random men probably think they’re really clever. They’re hoping to discern from me a couple of things a) whether I’m a foodie – which seems to have become an important quality among the single 30-something b) whether I’m adventurous enough to eat sushi regularly – because apparently there are STILL some people in this world who don’t eat sushi regularly and c) if my taste in restaurants is appropriate (and sorry for the list format again, I’ve spent too much time at work this week). So what sushi restaurant is my favorite, you ask? You might expect me to say Uchi. And while their Japanese fusion cuisine is rather spectacular (I mean maguro sashimi and goat cheese with cracked pepper, fuji apple and pumpkin seed oil, what’s there not to like??) but to be honest, their regular sushi/sashimi is rather unspectacular. Sure the quality is grade A-, but the price is waaay too much for just grade A- sushi. I can get the same fish at Korea Garden for half the price, now granted, I can’t feel like a glorified hipster at Korea Garden, but at my core I am a cheap bastard. So what sushi restaurant do I keep coming back to time and again over the years? Musashino.

Since I first discovered GOOD sushi in college here in Austin (Illinois isn’t exactly known for their great fresh fish), I’ve migrated back to Musashino regularly to partake of their tasty fish treats. When I first moved to Fort Worth, I had to drive all the way to Dallas to get good sushi. So, when I’d come to Austin to visit the folks, I’d usually always make a stop at Mushashino to get my sushi on. So I was incredibly delighted when my awesome Italian friend Elena decided to have her Birthday dinner there (with our other friend David who happens to have the same Birthday as Elena). I also happened to go a few days later on a date with a cool guy who, though he lives in Austin, is working on a contract in the Virgin Islands, and only comes into town rarely (see you were starting to wonder why I spent so much time talking about dating at the top, he was one of the favorite sushi culprits). He specifically requested we go for sushi because surprisingly the VI isn’t known for their sushi. You’d think on an island with an abundance of fresh fish, they’d be able to figure out sushi, but apparently that hasn’t happened yet. When I go to Mushashino, I generally get the same things, but those things span most of the menu so you’ll get a good flavor of what they have to offer.

So the first think you have to get if you go to Musashino is the Gyu Tataki. Thinly sliced rare (or even raw) fillet mignon in a roasted garlic and soy sauce. It’s served in a martini glass and looks horrible - brown good and raw beef all mixed in with flecks of fried garlic. But the taste is incredible. I love my steak on the rare side, the rarer the better and this appetizer really appeals to me. It’s the perfect starter to a meal that will finish with raw fish (I know it doesn’t sound like it, but the umami factor of the raw beef and soy really makes your mouth happy). After satiating myself on raw beef, I generally move onto sushi and the rolls. I find the sashimi at Musashino is rather pricy, so unless I’m with someone that insists, for my pocketbook’s sake, I choose rolls (remember how I said I was cheap). For the rolls, I find I like the following the Marilyn Mon-Roll, the Evil Knevil Rolls and the Ozzy II. They’re all American rolls with some sort of fish and veggies on the outside and then wrapped and rolled in fish roe. They’re all excellent, tasty, fresh, and extremely eatable. The only other tip I can give you about Musashino is to ALWAYS order the special of the day. Whether it’s the Kona Kampachi (Hawaiian yellowtail), or the salmon trout, always get a few pieces of it. You’ll thank me.. Really.

Musashino is known, for among other things, being traditional. Now the size of their sushi is slightly larger than the truly traditional 100 grain rice ball, but their Maki or skinny rolls are very traditional. There’s some weird stuff on that half of the menu and I have to admit, I haven’t been that adventurous to stray in to that part of the menu. But hey, if pickled burdock with daikon radish or a fermented soybean roll is your thing, go for it. I might even have a bite.

When I went with Laura, Elena and David, we got the Age Dofu appetizer, an asparagus roll, and I tried her seaweed salad. I have to say, those veggie items weren’t that great. Laura and I have had this back and forth conversation about Musashino. She didn’t think it was that good. And from her perspective, I’d have to agree. The veggie items are standard and nothing out of the ordinary. What makes Musashino really spectacular is their fish. It’s quality. Even better quality than Uchi I’d wager. The only time I’ve had better quality sushi was when I was in San Diego. Not even Sam’s Sushi in Seattle, which is known for their fresh, quality sushi, can match Musashino (but it’s damn close, not like I’d turn it down). I don’t know how they do it or who their supplier is, but its quality.

Laura's note: My food was really sub-par. The tofu was uninspiring, the seaweed salad was unmemorable. The asparagus roll was decent, but not great. It would've been fine at half the price but I expected more from a restaurant with this reputation and such an extensive wine list. It just seems like they forgot to pay attention to the details. At least the company was fantastic!

Bottom Line: World class quality fish, traditional style, go there tonight (unless you’re a vegetarian, then save your money)!

Mariah - 10
Laura - 4.5