For Sushi Purists – Kyodo Japanese Restaurant
Article by Anna Lowe.
I adore sushi. I would eat it every day if I could. As it is, living in Buenos Aires, a city not known for its understanding or appreciation of sea creatures, I manage to make do with only weekly installments of the slimy stuff. For this reason I feel compelled to share with any fellow sushi enthusiasts my favorite spot for a sushi hit.
Kyodo Japanese on Ortiz de Ocampo is a simple, quality restaurant. You can probably eat better, more expensive sushi in Buenos Aires and can certainly sit in noiser, hipper places too. But right now, this quiet place fills my needs. I like it for its affordability, fresh sashimi, good service and the distinctly Asian clientele who dine there.
First up, they bring you a little pallet cleanser of pickled cucumber and cabbage. It’s well balanced with sweet and sour notes, and crunchy. Next there are some tempting appetizers. Fried chicken rivals NOLA for soft pull-apart flesh and I can never resist a well-executed pork goyoza. These little dumplings are part steamed- part fried and a whole lot of yum.
Now to the main event, the sushi. I usually order a mid-range sharing platter of mixed sushi. Just like everywhere else in Buenos Aires, there isn’t a lot of fish variety. They serve what is fresh so it’s pretty much salmon all the way. Similarly, as with most sushi here, you have to watch out for the perplexingly popular cream cheese (or specifically ask for a platter without). I’m certainly not a sushi purist and when working in London, would often scoff a supermarket packaged, factory prepared product which, by law, could not include raw fish. Yet even for me salmon, cream cheese and rice is an abomination – a weird bagel/risotto mishmash that totally messes with flavor, texture and temperature.
At Kyodo, the nigiri (sin queso crema) is almost always great even when they don’t get the temperature spot on. (Ideally a firm fish and rice should be on the right side of just warm.) California rolls are generous on fish with deliciously buttery avocado and there are also some more ‘experimental’ rolls like Mexican or Peruvian fusion. These perhaps play it pretty fast and loose with the concept of sushi but are tasty nevertheless. Many places in BA can’t cook rice but Kyodo’s is well seasoned and holds together without being needy. When the rice is right, hybrid flavor combinations are more than maintainable. But my personal highlight is the sashimi. People often say that sushi at it’s best transcends the sum of its parts. That rings true at Kyodo where the fresh salmon is tongue-like and fleshy. Having it in my mouth is like kissing, not eating.
Although I don’t normally eat the main dishes at Kyodo, when dining with larger groups the noodles are a safe option, even if not particularly generous on the meat. And if you still have space, try a bit of the subtle green tea ice-cream for dessert.
I have to admit I have a bit of an emotional bias to Kyodo. It has supported me through nervous first dates with listless nibbling, lavished me with late night binge take-aways and even provided sustenance when a stomach bug permitted only laboured sips of miso-soup. But if you’re in Palermo chico (I know you are!) and fancy great sushi without a tiresome search mission or ridiculous prices, this is the place. Because, let’s be honest, the only thing worse than bad sushi, is overpriced sushi.
Ortiz de Ocampo, 2670