Sushi by Bou
After hearing about Sushi by Bou for some time now, we knew we had to get our two-cents (or fifty-dollars) in. Chef David Bouhadana has found himself in a couple of controversies over the years from serving sushi bare handed (I mean, yes please) and being a white man speaking with a Japanese accent (yikes). Controversies aside, the guy has mastered his unique model of an efficient and affordable omakase. No surprises here except maybe how fresh the fish is for the price, but all of the favorites and standards are simply yet purposefully presented. Almost every bite was delicious and we definitely ordered some more of our favorites at the end. Overall, the speakeasy-esque ambiance and the fresh yet affordable fish make this a perfect spot for a lunch craving or even an omakase first-timer.
We were satisfied with the rice. Served at room temperature and a little on the chewy side, it wasn’t our personal favorite but it certainly didn’t detract from the bites of sushi. There was a smaller amount of rice used than at some other sushiyas and this let the fish shine nicely. The seasoning of the rice was nicely balanced overall. One thing that disappointed us was that the rice wasn’t changed out from the previous service.
While there is nothing too exciting in terms of variety, Sushi by Bou hits all of the expected pieces and delivers high quality sushi for the price. A lit up neon sign lists the pieces you’ll be having so there’s no need to question what any particular pieces are. It was even kind of fun to look over and see what was coming up next! The standout piece for us was a beautiful piece of butterflied hotate (scallop) with a light brushing of shoyu and a couple flakes of charcoal salt on top. The uni from Hokkaido was very fresh and very tasty, possibly in the top 5 pieces of Hokkaido uni that we’ve had. The ikura was pleasantly bright and not as fishy and salty as it can be sometimes. The progression of Akami (lean tuna) to Chu toro (medium fatty tuna) to Otoro (fatty tuna) was lovely and each bite was even more mouth watering than the last. The piece of Albacore was so-so as they were a bit heavy handed on the torching. The only disappointment was the bite of Wagyu Uni. While this is usually a highlight and arguably the climax of the omakase here, the wagyu was so chewy that it honestly hurt my jaw and I ended up just swallowing before it was completely chewed. We also weren't crazy about the flavor imparted on the wagyu by the blow torch. Next time we’ll probably just ask for it raw.
We finished our meal by adding a few additional a la carte items. Natalie ordered a scallop hand roll and another perfect piece of uni gunkan. Josh ordered the Big Mac which is an indulgent bite of uni, otoro, wagyu, and scallop in toasted seaweed. He probably wouldn’t order it again at $18 a piece but he was happy he tried it. He did say that with so much going on in the one bite, he really couldn’t discern the specific flavors of the fish so it was a bit of a wash.
The service at Sushi by Bou was great. Our waiter was very nice and made sure our Sapporos stayed filled. Chef Bouhadana unfortunately wasn’t servicing at our location but our sushi chef was super friendly and had fun with us. We were seated a little later than 1:30, and didn’t receive our first bite until after 1:40, but I guess there wasn’t a 2pm seating so the 30 minute omakase didn’t make us feel rushed at all.
Well, in terms of satiety, you have to take into account the price point. For $50 are you going to be stuffed? No. But 12 pieces of delicious sushi for $50 is still a great deal, and the ability to order a la carte after the set of 12 is important. Adding on another handroll or two…or three ;) leaves you with a very happy belly. Just be careful here, because this could easily double the price of your meal.
The only location we can currently attest to is the original spot below the Sanctuary Hotel. What a cool vibe! The neon and graffiti that line the stairs outside continue inside to create a cool underground speakeasy atmosphere. The sushi bar seats a cozy 8 and everything was very clean and sleek. The chill and casual vibe provided a fun and laidback environment in which to enjoy the high-quality sushi.