GOLDFISH JAPANESE RESTAURANT
ADDRESS: 3135 Rancho Vista Boulevard, Suite G, Palmdale, CA 93551
For the past two weeks, my job took me back out to the southern California area. It was only about four months since my last visit, but the temperature this time around was significantly less than the 80 degree weather it got to back in August. Luckily, my winter break back up in New Jersey had prepared me to meet the cold weather.
It was around lunchtime on Friday that my friend Kevin and I decided to pick up something to eat after getting out of a half-day at work. The majority of the week I had already spent gorging on a good share of In-N-Out and Blaze Pizza, so to change things up a bit, sushi sounded pretty good. My friend Tina had previously mentioned Goldfish as one of the better spots in town, so Kevin and I took the drive over.
The seating area itself on the inside of the restaurant seemed relatively small; I think it also felt smaller due to the fact that the place was packed for the lunch rush. The line of people waiting to be seated was crowding the entryway, adding yet another factor to the congestion. The sushi bar was straight ahead when you first walked in, with a majority of two- or four-person tables to the left. Kevin and I got seated at one of the two tables that was tucked away on the right side of the entrance. Even though there was a bamboo partition between the entrance and the table, it still felt like the people waiting to be seated were crowded right on top of us.
One thing that I will say upfront was that the service was virtually non-existent during our meal. Aside from taking us to the table and giving us menus, any other time we needed the help of the waitstaff (getting drinks, ordering food, etc.), we had to call them over to the table. The lack of initiative shown on the waitstaff’s part, I think, was one of the more disappointing facets of the meal.
I had worked up an appetite from that morning, so Kevin and I decided to start things off with two appetizers: a vegetable tempura plate and the “monkey brain” (deep fried mushrooms stuffed with spicy tuna, topped with spicy mayo, eel sauce, and smelt roe). We coupled that with an order of four sushi rolls to share: the Rainbow Roll, Red Dragon Roll, Crunch Roll, and Volcano Roll.
Both of the appetizers came out of the kitchen first, and we immediately started digging in. I thought the vegetable tempura was well fried, with just enough tempura batter to give it a crunchy exterior and not feel caked in breading. The monkey brain dish was interesting, although the spicy tuna and mushroom kind of felt apart when I tried to pick it up. Instead of using the mushroom, there was another restaurant that had used half an avocado, which I thought gave the dish that creamy texture to balance out better with the spicy tuna.
Out of the sushi rolls that we got, I think that my two favorites were the Red Dragon Roll and the Volcano Roll. The Red Dragon, which had crab and cucumber on the inside, with tuna and avocado wrapped on the outside, topped with scallions and spicy ponzu sauce, had a good balance of sweet and savory flavors. The cucumbers on the inside of the roll added a nice crunch to each bite as well.
The Volcano Roll, on the other hand, was very rich. Crab and avocado on the inside, topped with spicy tuna and spicy mayo before being baked, with some added chunks of baked salmon and finished with eel sauce. I’m not sure if the chef might have overdid it with the eel sauce, because it puddled at the bottom of the plate, mixed with some of the natural oils from the fish. The flavor, to me, was predominantly sweet, so I’m not sure if there might have also been a honey drizzle on top prior to baking the roll.
Service is always a crucial part of any dining experience, and the lack of it definitely detracted from ours. Given the experience we had this time around, I’ll be looking to some other places to help satisfy my sushi fix the next time I am in town.
Let’s now take a look at the Goldfish Japanese Restaurant Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
** Vegetable Tempura Platter **
Lightly battered pieces of vegetable tempura. Selection included broccoli, sweet potato, carrot, and mushroom.
Deep fried mushrooms stuffed with spicy tuna, topped with spicy mayo, eel sauce, and smelt roe.
** Crunch Roll (pictured top) **
Shrimp tempura, crab, cucumber, and avocado on the inside. Topped with panko, eel sauce, and spicy mayo.
Rainbow Roll (pictured middle)
Crab, cucumber, and avocado on the inside, with tuna, yellowtail, and salmon on the top.
** Red Dragon Roll (pictured bottom) **
Crab and cucumber on the inside, with tuna and avocado on the outside. Topped with spicy ponzu and scallions.
** Volcano Roll **
Crab and avocado on the inside, baked with spicy tuna and spicy mayo on top. Finished with baked salmon chunks, eel sauce, smelt roe, and scallions.
And finally, here are my rankings for Goldfish Japanese Restaurant:
Food: 3.75 / 5
There’s a good selection of sushi options available, and for the most part, things tasted good. Some items, however, suffered a bit from a heavy hand of sauce.
Atmosphere: 3.5 / 5
One of the tables next to us didn’t get cleared for almost our entire meal after the diners had left. A bunch of dirty dishes certainly doesn’t add to the overall ambiance. With how crowded the space was, it did also feel a bit packed in, like a can of sardines.
Service: 1.5 / 5
The only thing buoying this ranking category was that the kitchen and sushi bar staff cranked out our food in a reasonable amount of time, despite the packed lunch crowd. The waitstaff never really came over to the table, aside from seating us or bringing our food. Any other instance where we needed service, we had to track them down.
Price: 4.75 / 5
To split four rolls and two appetizers between two people and have the total come out to around $27 per person, that is honestly really impressive.
13.5 / 20
Categories: California, Restaurants
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