Did you happen to drive by Autumn Court on Indian School this weekend? I did, and I had to do a double take when I saw the sign posted out front of this popular Chinese joint: "Sushi by Shinji Kurita"
That name might not ring a bell with everyone, but it will for those of you who remember the fabulous but now-defunct ShinBay in Ahwatukee. That little gem was one of the most creative, delicious Japanese restaurants around, and ever since it closed, I've been wondering what happened to the talented chef-owner, who handled all of the food while his wife took care of customers. It was so mom-and-pop that it was literally mom, pop, and no other helpers, from what I could tell.
Anyway, I'd usually never think to order sushi at a local Chinese place, but what the hell -- I ended up at Autumn Court for dinner on Saturday night.
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Surprisingly -- and in spite of the prominent sign out front -- sushi didn't figure much into the equation. I had some fine nigiri as an appetizer, but Autumn Court didn't offer much in the way of a sushi and sashimi menu. There were a fraction of the choices you'd get at a typical sushi bar. I admit, it was somewhat of a letdown, considering the stellar (an unusual) cuisine ShinBay used to serve. I'm still scratching my head about the whole thing, but hopefully Mr. Kurita will get a chance to dazzle his fans sometime soon.
On a related note, further down Indian School near 44th Street, I noticed that there's a Pita Jungle on the way, in the strip on the north side of the street. For that, I'm totally thrilled, because you can never have too many cheap, casual, healthy restaurants. The garlic dip is so strong and addictive that I could eat it with a spoon, and I have a thing for the turkey pesto lavosh wrap. I don't even live in this neighborhood and I'm sure I'll become a regular when it opens (it sure beats driving through a construction zone to get through the one in Tempe!).