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Izumi Sushi and Teppan: Southside sushi
Thursday, 19 May 2011
Photos by Wes Naman
Izumi Sushi and Teppan offers a menu of clean and fresh offerings to city’s ‘International District’

By Cristina Olds
Albuquerque has several fine restaurants serving fresh and delicious raw fish on a consistent basis, shipped in daily. I, for one, am not afraid of eating sushi in the desert. And given the seemingly always-growing popularity of sushi and seafood restaurants in town, I’m not alone.

Not everyone feels the same way, of course. On a recent lunch visit to Izumi Sushi & Teppan, in the International District of Albuquerque along Gibson, my dining companion was a little more wary. We started our sushi experience with a sample of the hamachi nigiri (raw yellowtail, $5.95), and we both detected what seemed like a hint of a frozen past. 

ImageThat said, the rolls we ordered tasted clean and fresh. Going local, we enjoyed the 505 roll ($11.95) which consisted of shrimp, crabmeat, avocado and cucumber inside, with red snapper, green onion and “Viagra spicy sauce” on the outside. (We’re pretty sure the secret ingredient is Sriracha sauce, which adds a sweet, chili-peppery element). 

We were both a bit disappointed when the sushi came without the usual wee dipping bowls for our wasabi-and-soy-sauce mixture. Small, plain plates served as the canvas for our rolls and sauces, all in one place.

Making sure we tried a staple from Izumi’s “common sushi rolls” menu, we opted for the creamy California roll ($4.95). With the typical avocado, crab and cucumber slices wrapped inside nori (dried seaweed), this popular roll with rice on the outside, featured a delightful sprinkling of orange fish eggs, sesame seeds and chives. The colorful roll delivered a tasty blend of flavors.

ImageServed on a pretty ceramic plate, the fried rice shrimp dish ($9.95) arrived next and was loaded with veggies and small, plump-to-bursting shrimp. The rice was plentiful and the mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini and cabbage were perfectly prepared to allow the distinct flavors and textures of each vegetable to shine through the subtle teriyaki sauce. The teppan chef called to our table to make sure we liked the shrimp dish he had just prepared, and we gave him a thumbs up.

We had started off with a heaping bowl of my favorite Japanese starter: seaweed salad ($4.95). For my dining companion, a first-time seaweed salad eater, the translucent deep green pile of noodly weeds was a little intimidating. I, on the other hand, was thrilled to have this fresh and crunchy salad, and even had some of it boxed up for yummy leftovers the next day.

The attractive and comfortable dining areas at Izumi were quiet during this weekday lunch. Patrons can sit and watch sushi creations being built at the sushi bar. Diners ordering teriyaki dishes have the option to be seated at teppanyaki tables, where the chef works over a grill in full view.

Izumi is a solid lunch option for those who live and work in this Southeast Albuquerque neighborhood, if a little spendy. Izumi was the essence of a Japanese sushi eatery, and was delicate in ambience as well as in the flavors of the dishes.

Izumi Sushi & Teppan
5701 Gibson SE, 505.260.0011
Mon.-Thu., 11a-2p, 4:30-9p;
Fri., 11a-2p, 4:30-9:30p;
Sat., 11:30a-2:30p, 4:30-9:30p
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