Misato (Calgary) – Best sushi in town… I mean it!
A co-worker of Jules recommended Misato because of the legendary Calgary Special Roll. It apparently had 10 types of fish and was gigantic. It also cost a screaming $18.50 for 8 pieces.
I had to try it. And now, after my fourth visit to Misato, it stands as my favourite contemporary sushi place in Calgary. It is situated out by Sunterra in Westhills, therefore to eat there is a very deliberate choice. The decor is pretty interesting: not ultra modern, not particularly old fashioned. It reminds me of a country club. Maybe it is the wicker-style chairs. The staff is pretty attentive and, I might add, beautiful.
Onto the sushi. This place is known for its high quality and inventive rolls. They are also an awesome deal. Ranging from $7 for 6 small pieces or $13-18 for the larger outsider rolls, you don’t have to pay a lot here to eat well. I haven’t tried too much of the nigiri but I haven’t gotten through the entire maki section yet! The rice today was a bit on the sticky/glutteny side but for the most part, it is usually quite good.
Their take on the spicy tuna roll is unique. It isn’t just red rooster sauce drizzled on top of tuna and rolled, it is a strange cayenne/sesame paste imbedded within a mix of salmon and tuna. The spider roll is typical spider roll fare but a good deal at $14 compared to other places. The calamari roll special today was interesting. Only 5 pieces but it only cost $7 and there was a ton of calamari in a spicy mayo sauce. It wasn’t regular calamari either. I could taste the squid not just the batter!
But the main event is the Rocky Roll and the Calgary Special Roll. The Rocky Roll is a steal at $7 bucks. It is a smaller roll with tuna, green onion, and wrapped in rice, seaweed, and smoked tuna. I’d never had smoked tuna before but I really love its velvety texture. Also, the green onions really make this roll jump in your mouth. I would’ve taken a picture of it but it was eaten too quickly.
The Calgary Special Roll is legendary. My picture below tries to show you the scale by comparing against a standard set of wooden chopsticks. It is described on the menu as “Assorted Seafood Roll” but looking at the pictures and tasting it, I think I can name most of what it contains. The outside is smoked salmon. It also has avocado, real crab (not pollock), fresh (cooked) shrimp, salmon, tuna, and capelin roe. It is a roll that must be eaten in 3 bites. It is just too damn big. My friends who are chopstick disinclined dislike this roll for expressly that reason.
The Calgary Special Roll in all of its glory.
A close up of the Calgary Special Roll.
The Spider Roll.
With all of its modern sushi, the high quality of its rice and fish, I really love Misato. I’ve been there 4 times in the last month. And I still love it.
Update: March 10, 2012. Misato is STILL great!
After a 3 year hiatus, I visited Misato again with J expecting that things would decline. I always assume good restaurants get worse, either from change of management or from my evolving taste buds. As an example of the latter: Cadbury Cream Eggs. I loved them as a kid. I don’t love them as much now.
This is the Spicy Roll (Tuna, Salmon and Avocado in Spicy Sauce) for $7.95. I love the way this tastes. The rice is perfectly chewy, the seaweed is crisp, and most importantly, the fish is delicious and generous. They have a lovely spicy sauce that has quite a bit of seasame in it. This isn’t your regular sriracha doused spicy tuna roll!
This is the Rocky Roll (Tuna, Avocado, Green Onion wrapped with Smoked Tuna) for $8.25. Starting to get a bit pricey but I love the smoked tuna in this roll. Again, a really unique presentation and flavour profile for something that seems otherwise plain.
This is the Calgary Special Roll ($22.50 for 8 pieces). It is massive as you can see. We only got a half order as J and I already had ordered too much food. Salmon, tuna, red tuna. Crab. Avocado. Wrapped in smoked salmon. Just delicious. And you have to eat it in 3 bites. You can try in one… but you look foolish.
Mistao continues to serve great fish and inventive rolls. If you have a friend who remains squeamish to sushi… this is a great place to take them. Their unique rolls are sure to win them over!
420-1851 Sirocco Drive SW, (403) 217-3000, no website available.