20567 North Hayden Road
7343 East Scottsdale Mall (Location visited)
On my last night in Scottsdale, I was able to take my “unwind stroll” at a later time but not that late. Rather than walking through the same area, I chose to go to a place I haven’t been previously, though, as you can imagine, I had a mission in mind. Similar to what I did when I went to Miramar, I decided to visit a sushi spot, this time, it would be in the middle of the dessert… Am I nuts?! I mean, without a large body of water nearby, that means any seafood-based product would be flown here, right? How about freshness and what not (*)? Even with that in mind, I somehow wanted to give it a try. Out of all sushi spots nearby (and believe me, there were several!), I chose to go to Pure Sushi.
(*): Actually, that is not usually an issue provided the seafood was flash-frozen not long after it has been caught. But, of course, people who is concerned with carbon footprint, you may cry now.
Now, there was a reason I chose to this place rather than the others: name of the establishment. No, really! It happens that the name of the other nearby establishments include “Ra Sushi” (a chain that I “failed” to go while I was in Miramar), “Geisha a Go Go”, “Stingray Sushi” and “Samurai Cowboy” (this one yet to open), I can’t just help and wonder what they would actually serve in terms of food. So, in the process of elimination, I chose Pure Sushi. I must mention there was one other spot (not to be named) that had a more “traditional” name and had an omakase menu but chose not to go there. On that funny note, I am not sure if I should use that as a guideline, considering the names of sushi spots we have here in Vancouver but I digress…
Technically, Pure Sushi is not considered a chain but they have another location – the one I visited considered to be the “new” one. Unfortunately, the location they chose leaves a bit to be desired: it is nowhere near a main street. In fact, if it wasn’t because I was “on a mission”, I would have easily skipped it, since I got myself “lost” trying to find it. But, I persevered…
One thing that I cringe at times is the faux Japanese setting. I mean, I don’t mind if there are some elements but don’t overdo it! Having said that, Pure Sushi has a modern setting. On the day I visited, the main dining room was empty (again, it was late) and the one other table was seated outside. I followed suit and sat outside as well (though, of course, I sat at the other end of the patio). Now, it was a sort of the lesser evil situation: the main dining room was dimly lit and outside there was no major light source other than a lamp in the “park” (yes, on that note, the restaurant is located in an area that would partially resemble a “park”). But, putting that aside, I checked the menu and made my order.
On the first picture, it is their sushi platter which has four pieces of California roll, four pieces of spicy tuna roll (which, we would call here “half roll”) and seven pieces of nigiri sushi. Although visually you can distinguish most of the pieces, I must mention that I sort of forgot what was the one on the far left. Also, as an additional order, I went for an order (two pieces) of uni sushi (aka, sea urchin roe). Now, this is the first time I have had this one so it is an experience by itself for me. Its texture was quite soft (think almost soft-tofu like consistency) with a small hint of sweetness. I am not 100% sure if I “tasted” some salty/seafood hint as well – I think I would have required an additional piece or two to find that one out! Is this how it is supposed to taste? I don’t know; however, given this experiences, I am willing to give this a try again!
Normally, I won’t go for rolls and California roll being the bane of all rolls. However, I will admit the California roll presented here was above the ones I have had here in Vancouver. On one side, the rice was not dry; in fact, it felt slightly “sticky” (against the tuna roll) when I was trying to pick it up. As for the taste, well, you know what it is made of so I won’t give it high marks on that department. As for the spicy tuna roll, it was actually quite good. Hint of spices yet not overpowering the tuna texture completely. And, one good thing about both rolls was the size: they were actually bite size!
The usual sushi suspects. Cutting/construction-wise, they weren’t perfect; however, they did manage one thing – balance. Similar to the rolls pieces above, it was actually bite size. And the neta or sushi topping did not really “overrun” the shari or piece of rice below but wasn’t too small either. As for taste, it was quite pleasant, i.e., no fishy smell, no slimy taste (not even the tuna!), though, of course, the shrimp one had a bit overcooked texture.
Again, I do not remember the name of the last piece to the left. The unagi was sweet, though not extremely sweet. The tamago/egg omelet was mostly texture yet, again, not too sweet.
There is one thing I must absolutely mention and that was service. I have mentioned this a couple of times: Service is not something I usually mention, unless it goes to either extremes. In this case, the person who attended me (from here one, referred to as “C”) was quite extremely pleasant to deal with. In fact, because C notice I was on my own, decided to sit and chat with me while I was having dinner. Now, I am sure C did this because I mentioned I was from out of town and there weren’t that many other customers (to what extent my camera had to do, I can’t say…). As for the topic, I must admit C was quite professional (?), i.e., not ask too many questions about me, other than the details I briefly mentioned – like me coming from Vancouver. Instead, the focus of the conversation was Scottsdale. In other words, C made me feel welcome and as if I had a dinner companion – a perfect example of how waiting staff can be ambassadors to the community. So, C, if you happen to read this, I am really thankful you were there and I apologize I couldn’t leave a better tip, as, when travelling, I am under a budget…
Now, the main question: how was the food. To a certain extent – and I can’t believe I will say this but – it was better than a lot of the generic sushi spots in Vancouver! Of course, it had some shortcomings but it shows that just because we have tons of such restaurants, does not mean we have better ones here. And, you know what? It isn’t even run by Japanese! (No offence to Japanese people, of course). So, if I do end up in Scottsdale, I might try one of those other sushi restaurants for comparison purposes but, in the end, I might as well come back here.