By Sydney Sznajder
Finally, a reason to visit Kent Island. A mere 45 minutes from campus, Café Sado is located in the unassuming Castle Harbor Marina on Kent Island, tucked into a residential area. Inside, the restaurant is sleek and modern with bamboo-wood floors, shiny black tables, Asian-inspired partitions and 130 available seats, a handful of which are around the restaurant’s sushi bar.
Though Café Sado’s menu bills it as a restaurant offering “Sushi and Authentic Thai Cuisine,” sushi was the objective of this particular lunchtime adventure. We couldn’t have chosen better than Café Sado. The sushi bar menu has 33 sushi roll options and 17 separate nigiri items, more than enough variety to satisfy any sushi lover.
On this trip, my friends and I chose maki sushi, ordering a comprehensive 12 rolls between the five of us. I can’t say enough about Café Sado’s presentation. Though my favorite moment of any meal is always the second my food is set down in front of me, that moment is always particularly special when the food is sushi. Café Sado does an excellent job, plating their sushi on personalized wooden platters, the sushi piled by roll, identifiable by blots of sauce, sprinklings of caviar, or other wrappings of avocado and tuna.
For myself, I’d chosen a rainbow roll, which is imitation crab, cucumber, and avocado wrapped with tuna, whitefish, salmon, and unagi (eel). Packed as the roll was, I tried unsuccessfully to bite my first piece in half, prompting my dining companions to encourage me to eat each section whole, “an explosion of flavor.” This, perhaps, most accurately describes the rainbow roll, which provided a competition for my tongue in between salt, fishiness, and the coolness of avocado and cucumber. The superior taste varied in between bites.
Though I’m no sushi chef, it’s easy to see the rainbow roll gets its name from the colorful pattern of avocado, tuna, salmon, and whitefish wrapped around the sushi. Its presentation was beat only by my friend’s phoenix roll, which was just as big. Constructed out of crabmeat, cucumber, and avocado wrapped in a piece of spicy lobster meat and sprinkled with fish roe, the phoenix roll was the without a doubt the most beautiful of our lunch items and a definite contender for most delicious. Lobster is denser than the other kinds of fish (salmon, tuna, whitefish) wrapped around our rolls, giving the phoenix roll greater substance. Its interior had a pleasant crunch with a hint of spice.
My personal favorites of the day were the spicy tuna roll, an eight-piece roll that comes with a small squirt of delicious, spicy, mayonnaise-based sauce and—unexpectedly—the aubergine roll, which I sampled off of my vegetarian friend’s platter. The aubergine roll is listed as “roasted butternut squash and crispy eggplant,” which vastly understates its tastiness. While the exterior rice and mound of squash (which is perfectly cooked, reduced to near-mashed-potato stiffness) are chilled, the interior eggplant is served warm and incomprehensibly crispy but not dry, with just enough salt to offset the sweetness of the squash. It nearly made a vegetarian out of me.
Other favorites of the meal were the shrimp tempura roll, served with the shrimp’s fried tail protruding, and the Philadelphia roll (salmon, cream cheese, and cucumber). One companion also delved beyond the sushi menu and ordered a bowl of lobster bisque. My personal discovery was Japanese seaweed salad, which I tried for the first time on a friend’s insistence. Previously, my only associations with seaweed were the disgusting sand-infused piles I’d seen on the beach. In its edible form, the seaweed is rehydrated and pleasantly grass-green, tossed with sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, sugar, soy sauce, and a handful of greens to create an amazing salty-but-moist creation. The texture of seaweed is not imitative of lettuce but rather a very thin noodle, making it very absorbent. After learning that it is practically a superfood, possessing sufficient amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium, and other necessary minerals, I’ll certainly be ordering my own seaweed salads soon.
Price can be a killer on sushi excursions. However, Café Sado offers a deal at every meal, seven days a week: sushi rolls are buy one get the lesser value in one free. That combined with the unbeatable quality of the sushi itself should be enough to bring the raw-fish-loving students of Washington College to Kent Island in droves. I know I’ll be back.