Ten-Jyaku Japanese Sushi, Millenia Walk
Craving a nice healthy sushi meal tonight but stuck at Millenia Walk, we were a bit strapped for choice. That Raku-Zen place that took over the old Sushi Tei grounds didn't seem too appealing at first glance either (is it related to Raku over at Holland Village?). Fortunately, just a few doors down before reaching Uberburger, another Japanese place presented itself (9 Raffles Boulevard #01-11, 6837-3960). These guys listed a number of set meals on the menu (and rather pricey ones at that), but we skipped all of that and went straight to the sushi bar. There wasn't that much fish being kept in the display case, but fortunately the food generally came through in the end.
The most striking thing here was that these guys had a tendency to want to garnish nearly every piece of sushi. I got a bit worried at first that it would end up covering up the taste of the fish itself, but fortunately most of the garnishes ended up complementing the taste instead. For instance, an order of salmon came topped with salmon roe, daikon, and a cucumber slice, which for the most part worked fine together.
Indeed, the most remarkable garnishes came when we let the chef suggest a few items for us, thus allowing him to really let it rip. The most memorable of these was a swordfish topped with a sweet miso mayonnaise, all ultimately seared with a blowtorch. Another item he threw our way was some other fish whose name eludes me for the moment, but he went the extra mile by mincing a little extra morsel of the fish and searing it with the same blowtorch (and further topping it with a little bit of yuzu citrus that gave it a bit of a welcome bite), thus effectively using the fish as a topping for itself. Nice one.
I wish the otoro weren't topped though, as it did make it a bit harder to taste the richness of the fish itself (and it's S$18 or US$11 for a single piece, so don't get carried away with ordering it either). Fortunately there were a few items that he kept more simple, including the amaebi with deep fried heads, as well as the hiramasa that he substituted for my hamachi request. The chawanmushi that they gave us on the side was very simple yet also one of the more memorable and tasty ones I've had. And they were also good enough to use real wasabi for a bit more character (granted, it was the frozen kind rather than the freshly grated stuff, but it definitely wasn't the green horseradish powder or paste).
Yes, the prices are expensive, so don't come here looking for Sushi Tei (that single piece of otoro could have bought a ridiculously filling number of plates at one of those mass-produced conveyor belt monstrosities). But would Sushi Tei have offered this braised pork sushi thing that the guys behind the counter were so proud of? Of course not. This stuff was great on the stomach, and the chef will throw you a number of delicious surprises your way if you sit at the sushi bar and give him the chance. But just watch out for your wallet as it does add up very quickly.