A while back I commented on the trend of hotels to put sushi bars in their lobbies. Now I would have to say it would be difficult to find a large hotel in the area that does not offer a sushi experience.
One of the latest is Banrai at Rosen Shingle Creek. It’s set up in an area next to the Headwaters Lounge. In fact, the space it occupies was originally part of that bar area. I stopped in last week to sample some of the sushi, prepared by chef Sato Minoru.
We started with miso soup, which I was expecting to be like every other miso soup in town: a cloudy broth with a cube or two of tofu. And it was that, but it also had wavy pieces of purple seaweed and other vegetables, which made it a more substantial soup.
The sampler platter of sushi and sashimi was a gorgeous presentation that had a few surprises of its own. There were the usual slices of raw sashimi, including salmon, tuna, yellowtail and the like, all unfailingly fresh and with a tender, buttery texture. But there were also offerings of raw shrimp and scallops, dotted with plops of fish eggs. Most area sushi bars cook the shrimp and scallops that are served in their sushi. The glistening shellfish was a bit startling at first, but it was delicious. The pieces of nigirzushi -- the pads of rice with raw fish laid atop -- were also good.
So was the Rosen Roll, which, I was told, does not actually contain any Rosen. What should we assume from the featured ingredient, crab? Nothing, I’m sure. the crabmeat was rolled inside white rice and topped with bright red fish roe that prompted my companion to observe that the coin slices looked like Christmas cookies. And indeed they did.
We also had a dish of soba noodles, which I would ordinarily refer to as kitchen food except that these were preparedright there at the sushi bar on a hot plate. The noodles were tossed with vegetables, including tricolor peppers, and tiny chunks of chicken and garnished with avocado slices and fresh fruit. It was OK, but I preferred the sushi.
Like most of the staff you’ll encounter at a Rosen hotel, the chef and others were all friendly and welcoming.
Banrai, which translates either to heavy thunder or many guests (the folks at Shingle Creek prefer the latter), is open only in the evenings, but be sure to call because the various restaurants will adjust their opening days depending on the hotel’s occupancy (heavy thunder days). The phone number is 407-996-3663.