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Saturday, August 4, 2012

ISAO Japanese Sushi Bar Review - Sukhumvit 31, Bangkok

ISAO - Japanese (Sushi & Roll) Restaurant at Sukhumvit 31, Bangkok 

Overall Score  9/10
Taste   5/5
Ambiance  4/5
Service  5/5
Value   3/5

Isao - Japanese Sushi Restaurant on BumRes.com

Personally I always thought that maki rolls I have had in the past were already good enough, such as In the mood for love @ Sukhumvit 40 or Sake @ Chan road.  Now the Isao Japanese Sushi Bar at Suskhumvit 31 has just raised my standard.  I have a friend who is very picky about his sushi and he always complained that maki in Thailand isn’t good enough.  I finally have understood his views on maki rolls in Bangkok when he took me to the Isao.  Isao Japanese Sushi Bar @ Sukhumvit Soi 31 is inspired to serve the charm of spiritual Japanese culinary in the form of Japanese-Western fusion. 

We got to the Isao around noon on a cloudy Saturday, perfect day for a sushi lunch (to me, any day is a good day for sushi, lol…).  Contrast to gloomy weather outside, the interior atmosphere was so lively.   In the tiny little sushi joint, it was completely full of young people.  My attention was directed toward the chefs running around behind the sushi bar.  Decoration of the Isao Japanese Bar was simple and modern with the steel, concrete, and bamboo as the main choices in the overall composition.  With the crowd made up of customers and workers, it was quite vigorous and exhilarating.  We felt like we were in Japan.  Fortunately we had a couple of seats available at the sushi bar.  We immediately claimed the spot and got our eyes busy with the list of creative sushi in the menu. 

There were only about five tables on the first floor and about ten seating at the bar but there was almost enough servers to service each table individually.  And on the second floor, there were about ten tables to hold the high demand of sushi lovers in Bangkok.  The small kitchen could easily serve the whole restaurant because there were like seven chefs working behind there.  We knew that the service would be great and it really was.  The server we had was very knowledgeable about the food.  We asked for the signature dishes and she suggested about six choices to us.  She briefly told us the detail about each of the selection and we were convinced to order five of what she recommended. 

Shortly after watching the sushi chefs working over the bar, our first menu was served.    It was the Sashimi Platter (850 baht).  We ordered this one because the server told us that the fish just arrived last night.  It was a bit pricey for nine pieces of sashimi; Hamachi, Salmon, and Akami.  I could have gone to the buffet at Shun No Mai @ Thonglor Soi 10, where quality would be about the same.  Well, they were really fresh and delicious for 850 baht.  For the roll, first one was the Crunchy or Tempura batter roll stuffed with spicy salmon (300 baht).  The presentation was ordinary except the core stuffing is given in good portion.  As a start, it was quite a tasty one.  The spicy salmon and the sweet soy atop were so amazing inside the crispy batter. 

Next up was a popular one at the Isao Japanese Sushi Bar, the funny looking caterpillar named Jackie.  This one was made of Shrimp tempura, ebiko, avocado wrapped with ebi and served with special sauce (350 baht).  Its character presented was so friendly and lovely; please see the photo.  We kept Jackie’s head to the last.  We enjoyed it very much.  The shrimp wrapping around the whole roll was so fresh and firm, very delicious with the special sauce.  Each dish was served quickly one after another.  At this point in time, we were running out of space to place our dishes.  We had to manage to squeeze the next two orders on the bar.  This next one had a western touch, the sushi sandwich (300 baht).  Basically it was a Spicy tuna and salmon stuffed between layers of sushi rice with tempura batter, ebiko and scallion.  The impression was like a club sandwich but the actual feeling was like the first roll, Crunchy except this one has a more subtle flavor.  It was a great choice at Isao Japanese Sushi Bar.  Last dish for the premium sushi roll lunch at Sukhumvit  Soi 31 was the highlight.  This one was proudly presented by the Isao; the Volcano - baked scallop in spicy sauce (250 baht).  Its look may not be as appetizing with the dark brown surface.  You have no idea; that gooey brown stuff contained all the flavors to explode in your mouth with the fresh baked scallops.  The Volcano and the Jackie were definitely the highly recommend dishes at Isao Japanese Bar.

Isao Japanese Bar did a great job to feature premium quality sushi roll fusion style among the high grades sashimi choices.  All of the creative rolls we had on this visit were thoughtfully prepared and beautifully presented.   If you are a big fan of maki rolls, Isao is the spot you cannot miss.  Regardless of the price, all the fancy creations that Isao Japanese Bar has to offer will surely make you melt to your knees.     

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