Kuyi Sushi 34 Shunpike Road Cromwell, CT 0641
(860) 788-2801 www.kuyisushict.com
Two new sushi places have surfaced in the past couple of months. This one opened two days before I walked in.
It’s my new, new favorite, though Tisumi, my favorite from last month, will remain high on the list.
What I like: plenty of free parking. Close to groceries, the highway, etc. Gorgeous entrance with a waterfall that changes color. An uncluttered décor. Excellent, attentive service. I took special note of the staff member who came in and noticed that the front door squeaked. Before I left, he was busy with drill and oil for the hinges. CNN playing on the TV above the sushi bar had muted sound. Classical music formed the backdrop to a relaxing time. The chopsticks are the real deal, not the balsa-wood disposable kind that absorb flavors. It’s the difference between eating with stainless flatware and dining with sterling.
I had ordered and was enjoying the savory miso – not too heavy on the broth with a bit of tofu, ditto scallion, and enough wakame to create a salad. There appeared a large white dish with a deep bowl, filled with a mound of something – it had all the visual elements, green lettuce leaves, pink tobiko, straw colored panko, drizzles of what I call hoisin but isn’t. It formed a perfect globe. The sushi chef and the waitress chorused, “On the house.’ The chef said it was the house special. Special indeed. It had an outer layer of thin-sliced cucumber. The next layer featured avocado. Kani filled the cavity. It was warm! And delicious! All the contrasts expected of Japanese food were there: sweet and umami and spicy for the flavors; textures, smooth and crunchy and chewy. It was also huge! I wasn’t about to leave a single morsel and thought, well, I won’t be eating dinner tonight.
The sashimi arrived as a bit of a letdown only because of the explosion of the appetizer. Nevertheless the two escolar and three each of tuna and salmon tasted absolutely fresh. The ginger lacked dye (a good thing), and the wasabi offered a proper bite and freshness. I took a few nibbles of rice but can’t comment — I was too full.
The hostess brought a little silken pouch with the check. It looked like a scabbard. Inside were two sets of chopsticks. She said they were giving them to their first one hundred customers. I was honored! It brought back memories of a friend in Philadelphia. A group of us had a traveling Chinese restaurant gathering. Each time we sat down, Carl reached into his backpack and said, “Have chopsticks. Will travel.” I plan to do the same.
What I don’t like, which isn’t really a negative: It’s a little too close to home. That special has to be an occasional thing.