BEST JAPANESE RESTAURANT Phoenix 2006 - Shimogamo
Shimogamo is the kind of strip-mall haunt that you wouldn't likely stumble upon unless you happened to be visiting its more conspicuous neighbor, C-Fu Gourmet, or perhaps driving around looking for Lee Lee Oriental Market, located catty-cornered to the small establishment. No matter. If you love Japanese food, this jewel box of a restaurant is a more than worthy destination unto itself. Inside, the decor is modern and minimal, and the sushi bar is filled with Japanese regulars (always a good sign). The food, too, is straight outta Nippon: crisp gyoza, buttery Saikyo black cod, refreshing daikon radish salad. There are a few unusual offerings, from the simple (ochazuke rice porridge) to the complex (pork tenderloin katsu stuffed with shiso leaves, dried tomato and wasabi). For that matter, the sushi is uncommon as well ? so fresh you'll probably dream about it until your next visit to Shimogamo.