Photo courtesy of www.netwissen.com
Matsuda Japanese Restaurant
11837 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA
9.1.06 - Friday, 8:00 PM
Myself + 1 guest (Internet date, Mr. Fireman)
All right, so sometimes I can be a smidge sneaky. A few weeks back, a lovely lad pinged me on the infamous MySpace (I know, imagine that, an eligible, likeable bachelor on that kooky site!), and after watching him do stand-up at The Comedy Store (read my heinous experience with the wait staff here), I agree to a bona fide date. Like, with food. And conversation. And judgment and sexual tensions and small talk, oh my! It had been a while since my last dating excursion. In any event, I declined to mention my hardcore foodie status, and as he volunteered to pick the restaurant, I saw an opportunity. A chance to test his chops.
I knew it would be a Japanese joint - he allowed me to pick the cuisine. When he pulled up to Matsuda, I felt a little surge. I had never been there, but remembered a favorable mention or two on the Chow boards, so things were looking up. Plus, we had delightful conversation in his Prius (brownie points for being a fan of the planet!). Good start, people! Happy me!
Matsuda is a no frills, home-style Japanese joint. It was a Friday eve, so the place was kickin'. We placed our name on the list and settled down to near the sushi bar to drool over the offerings. I established myself as the more adventurous eater of the duo, but in true gentleman fashion, he stated he was open to trying anything. Nice move. We were finally seated in the corner, and our uber-polite sushi chef took our order right away.
Before I dish the listing, I'll give you the moral of the story - sushi rocks as a first date option, and my companion, a very handsome Irish boy into acting, comedy, fire-fighting, and life-saving (he's also an EMT), spoiled me. Let this be a lesson to you, guys - take a lady to a killer raw fish experience on night one, and your chances for a second date? Pretty much guaranteed. I had a luscious little blast.
We opted for a large, very dry sake to begin with - their sake list is just so-so, but this was tasty.
Then, we moved on to Sapporo. Always a hit :)
Albacore sushi, Salmon sushi, Yellowtail sashimi
The highlight was the yellowtail - a chef recommendation. Buttery smooth, an ocean-fresh flavor, and a huge hit with us both. The salmon was OK, the albacore really good. Fresh and high-quality offerings all around.
House special roll
* Spicy tuna and albacore with salmon on top
Our chef whipped us up something by request, and this was the result - he added a sauce in there I couldn't identity, but while this was good, it was a tad boring. I wanted crazy adventurous - this didn't quite fit the bill.
Blue Crab hand roll
* Blue crab with cucumber and avocado
Reallllly nice flavor and texture on zee crab, and heaps of it. Home run here.
Spicy crunch albacore roll
* Albacore with a spicy mayo, a smidgen of tempura crunch, and ponzu
Oh heck yes! Not too much mayo at ALL - just a hint, and so freaking yummy!
I wanted ankimo (monkfish liver) and uni and toro, too, but they had none of the above. I do wish they were better stocked, but what they had hit the mark.
RESTAURANT REPORT CARD - Matsuda, Visit 1
Ambiance - C
Service - C+
Food (Taste) - B-
Food (Presentation) - C+
Wine/Drinks - C+
Value - N/A - I didn't get to see the bill :)
Vibe/Energy/Scene - B
Overall Experience - C+ (If you're counting the company, that goes up substantially)
Final word - Fresh fishies and luscious staples, but not much for the adventurous palette.
Still in the mood to read? Visit the Kitty!