For the next leg of Zomato Philippines’ Westgate Alabang food crawl, we walked a few meters from Bugsy’s Bar and Bistro to Sushi Ninja, a restaurant that boasts of injecting modern flair into traditional Japanese favorites. As I haven’t been to this place before, I was looking forward to giving it a shot, especially considering I’d been craving good Japanese food that week.
To go with the food crawl’s “Guilty Pleasures” theme, the team behind Sushi Ninja decided to surprise us with an off-the-menu item: kobe toshi, a concoction that starts with a deep-fried Japanese rice ball and then topped with ingredients like a slice of wagyu beef, foie gras (yes, you read right), uni, wasabi mayo, and shiitake mushrooms. “Guilty Pleasures,” all right.
Looking at the kobe toshi sitting in the middle of the plate, it had this “too pretty to eat” look to it. It was assembled so nicely, you almost regret that it’s there to be eaten, not stared at. On the other hand, the nice aroma coming from the dish was a nudge that quickly reminds you of the fact.
The chef who prepared the dish explained that, much like all forms of Japanese rolls, the kobe toshi was to be devoured in one bite, a feat easier said than done given the sheer size of the item. Still, when in Rome, I thought as I opened wide and stuck the entire toshi in my mouth.
Everyone around me seemed to enjoy the kobe toshi but I didn’t, to be completely honest. The rice ball was rather oily, and the wagyu was just a tad chewy. And while the whole thing did kind of come together in a medley of appealing textures, the various flavors seemed to just mesh in a way that none of the the individual elements really stood out for me.
Sushi Ninja decided to break out their bestseller for us: the spicy tuna salad. This one I enjoyed. This one I loved. Loaded with chunks of tuna, mixed with some sort of special sauce and dusted with crunchy bits that felt and tasted like chicharon, I could have sat and finished an entire bowl right there. (A serving is enough for two, I believe, so that says something about how good it is.) The seasoning’s done beautifully, and the thing I love most is that the spice doesn’t fight the delicate taste of the tuna. It accentuates it.
So, while I might not have the sophisticated palate to enjoy something as innovative and high-end as the kobe toshi, I’m not terribly upset. Give me a bowl of that spicy tuna salad anytime.
Off to the next stop in Part 3.
Overall rating (based on the food): ★★★✭☆
Westgate Center, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa City
Disclosure: This visit was organized by the restaurant’s management in cooperation with Zomato Philippines. The opinions expressed in this post are based on my own experience and were in no way influenced by said groups.
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