Good to be B.A.D.
B.A.D. Sushi is a great addition to the Old Pas dining scene
By Dan O'Heron 01/01/2013
I’ve got my favorite sushi hangouts, so another one (especially a new one called B.A.D.) didn’t have an immediate appeal. However, the suggestion to lunch at B.A.D. Sushi came from a good friend, one of the very few people I rely on as a scout for really interesting ethnic food. So, when Amy called to make a date and suggested the new restaurant on Holly Street, I figured it had to be good.
There’s only one trouble: B.A.D. (Best And Delicious) Sushi’s menu could, for the indecisive, take some time to ponder. It’s nine full pages of fetching full-color pictures and small print, with an additional two-sided lunch special menu. And these offerings don’t include the long “basic” sushi/sashimi list with more traditional choices to check off for the chefs.
As soon as we were seated, I realized that B.A.D. Sushi had taken the site formerly occupied by Chada Thai Restaurant and Sushi Bar, with many of the architectural and interior design elements left in place. In particular, I remembered the nifty light fixtures, the marvelous Zen waterfall fountain taking up the entire back wall, the lateral wall of comfy banquettes, the dark chocolate box-beamed wood ceiling and the panoramic glass façade onto Holly Street.
Chada’s interior was low-lit, with subtle hues. Although the lighting remains low, the relatively minor renovations include a few brighter colors, with some orange and lime green walls. The small sushi bar tucked into the westerly niche of Chada has been retained. And with B.A.D. Sushi’s singular focus, the place is presumably getting a lot more business.
Pressed for time, Amy and I almost immediately got down to negotiations about what to order. The lunch specials, all with miso and house salad, include a sushi set for $9.95 or a special roll set for $11.95. The important word here for differentiation is “special.” The cheaper lunch includes three pieces of sushi and an eight-piece basic roll, such as California, salmon with cucumber and spicy tuna. The more expensive selection gets you two pieces of sushi and a more elaborate roll, such as spicy tuna crunch or shrimp tempura.
Amy wanted tuna and salmon sushi plus the SCS roll, which consists (according to an annotation under its delectable picture in the main menu) of shrimp tempura, cucumber and avocado, topped with spicy crab salad and tempura flakes and served with a sweet and spicy sauce. It costs $9.95 if you order it à la carte.
Despite the overlap, I also ordered tuna and salmon sushi (other choices were albacore, octopus, crab, shrimp, mackerel, bean curd and egg) and a C&C roll (also with a shrimp tempura base, along with cream cheese, crab salad and avocado, wrapped with soy paper, topped with tempura flakes and served with sweet sauce) — $8.95 as a separate item.
Despite the overload of ingredients (I ordered a much plainer and equally delicious assortment of rolls — tuna, salmon, yellowtail and rainbow — to take home for our dinner that night), we enjoyed the sushi immensely. I was especially pleased that B.A.D. appears to be using real crab rather than “krab” and is generous with its servings of wasabi and pickled ginger. Also admirable is the salad dressing, which tempers the usual Thousand Island with a subtle infusion of orange.
So good was this first meal (and our sushi supper, again, with more than adequate wasabi and ginger accompanying each roll) that I returned forthwith with another friend who doesn’t like sushi to see what her opinion of the menu was. No problem. She went straight for the entrée section and ordered tempura udon ($8.95), actually tempura/udon, with three plump shrimp on the side and a huge bowl of noodle soup with shiitake and champignon mushrooms.
I had a B.A.D. combination plate ($8.95 at lunchtime — $12.95 for dinner) with mixed tempura (one shrimp, broccoli, acorn squash, sweet potato and onion) paired with a salmon cucumber roll. We also sampled an appetizer of shrimp shumai ($3.95), six surprisingly delicate, thin-skinned and seared dumplings with a great dipping sauce. My only complaint was that instead of the soft rock background during my lunch with Amy, this meal was punctuated with louder contemporary pop that made conversation more difficult.
That won’t keep me from coming back, however. After all, we haven’t even made a dent in the menu. Japanese sausage ($4.95), Spanish mackerel ($5.95) and shishito peppers (all fried) and green onion tempura ($4.95) await us. There’s a short rib steak ($9.95) and some Canadian salmon teriyaki ($8.95), which are bound to appeal to my mate.
The list of fancy rolls and sashimi concoctions seems almost endless, and there’s a fascinating section called “Something Without Rice” which includes items like “Bite Me! Pls” — spicy seafood with fresh garlic tempura served with spicy goma sauce, ponsu sauce, black caviar, masago and green onion ($11.95).
The logo of the restaurant (it’s on their card and at the bottom of the special lunch menu) is “How B.A.D. do you want sushi?” Now that I’ve sampled theirs three times, the answer is REALLY B.A.D. Sushi’s made it to the top of my G.O.O.D. (going out often dining) list for 2013.