Gorgeous Sashimi at Sushi Roku

​If I could afford it, I'd eat sushi and sashimi about every other day, interspersed with Italian, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine. But the problem is, I've become such a Japanese food geek that I won't eat just any raw fish, lest I get mad for wasting my hard-earned paycheck on mediocrity. I'll hold out for the good stuff, so nowadays, it's just an occasional thrill.

The latest splurge took me to Sushi Roku at the W Scottsdale, and I had a blast.

Sitting at the counter, sipping Sayuri nigorizake, and watching head sushi chef Shin Toyoda make edible art, I was high on life -- especially when I slurped up a cold, fresh Kumamoto oyster topped with uni, caviar, ponzu gelee, and gold leaf. The gold leaf was purely aesthetic, as were the edible flower petals sprinkled on the dish, but its visual appeal was definitely matched by the fresh flavors of oyster and urchin.

My friends and I oohed and aahed over the stunning platter of pristine sashimi, eating bites from left to right, light to rich. There was delicate hirame (fluke) with sprinkled with red Hawaiian sea salt and served with wedges of lemon and lime; buttery kan-buri (winter yellowtail) with paper-thin slices of red chile; and silky chunks of ankimo (monkfish liver) in a pool of yuzu miso, topped with specks of freeze-dried miso.

​Beautiful raw scallops were cool and creamy, nestled with heirloom tomatoes on a bed of seaweed that had the tartness of rice wine vinegar. On top, Toyoda sprinkled freeze-dried soy sauce for a touch of saltiness.

​The one thing we didn't order from the sushi bar was a special halibut dish, with white flesh wrapped and roasted inside aromatic shiso leaves. The presentation, with heirloom tomatoes and flowers, put a smile on my face. I smiled even more when I tasted it -- great flavor and juicy fish. A nice complement to the other dishes we ate.

I hope to get back to Sushi Roku sooner rather than later. Is it payday yet?

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