Thursday, February 05, 2009

Kome

I like sushi, but I have a friend who LOVES sushi. When Kome opened (without much fanfare if you ask me) at the Promenade Shops I mentioned it to her, but it didn't seem to register until recently. She decided quickly that Kome was the place she preferred to visit to celebrate her ##th birthday this week. I made reservations through Opentable.com.
When I arrived, I was told that 'the rest of the party' had already been seated, by a gracious hostess. I walked by the section with a bar and hibachi tables, and into the dining room. The ceilings are high and the decor is modern Japanese-meets-Center Valley. Very accessible, but also beautifully appointed. Tea light candles accented the room, which was softly lit and featured a long sushi bar in the back, where sushi chefs in starched white uniforms idled, waiting for the first orders to come in. As soon as I was seated, our server, Jake, arrived to ask whether I'd like anything to drink. In addition to the typical sake and beer list, Kome offers some great wines by the glass. I picked a flowery (floral?) fume blanc.

You know those times when you look at a menu and you just can't decide, because there's nothing that calls to you? This was not one of those times. We couldn't decide, because there were so many interesting dishes to try. I selected a lobster miso soup, but Jake let me know it wasn't available that evening. He recommended the spicy seafood miso instead, served as soup for two, in one huge bowl, two spoons and two pairs of chopsticks. I loved the tasty bits of clam, shrimp and mushroom in the fiery broth. We ordered a bunch of sushi rolls and nigiri, and Jake brought them out pretty quickly. (All of this speed kind of surprised me, since I'd read in the Morning Call and heard from someone who'd been there before that the service was a little slow.) There were some interesting combinations, and beautiful presentations, but what stood out was the quality of the ingredients. That's something that most local sushi places either can't afford or don't appreciate as much as Kome.
Even I was surprised when Jake brought out a bowl of ice cream with a candle in it, and - I am not joking - said kindly and sincerely, "Happy Birthday." No clapping. No impersonal, repetitive cheer. Someone at Kome actually read the note I left on Opentable, and relayed the message to our server. We weren't ready to go yet, so we ordered one more dessert to share (profiterole "sandwiches" stuffed with green tea ice cream) and I had coffee. The bill came to $120.00 with a generous tip for Jake, and we were both beaming and stuffed.

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