ADDRESS: 828 Avenue Q-6, Palmdale, CA 93550
During my most recent business trip to Palmdale, I was looking to redeem my impression of sushi in the area, after a lackluster experience at Goldfish Japanese Restaurant back in January. Talking with people that lived in the area, I heard the recommendation to try Shogun, including from my friend Kevin. We headed over, me with high hopes after hearing (and reading) a lot of positive things about the place.
When I first walked in, I immediately felt transported over to a small restaurant in Japan. There was a lot of bamboo and wood influences on the décor, and an overall sense of zen in the dining room atmosphere. I’m pretty sure that we got there as the dinner service was starting to pick up, as the larger tables were beginning to get filled up.
From the menu’s standpoint, there was definitely a distinction made between the sushi (piece of fish on a small bed of rice) and the maki (rolls) offerings. I’m definitely more of a maki type of guy, and will admit that I use the term “sushi” interchangeably when I’m referring to maki. The menu was straightforward when listing these out — no fancy names like “Palmdale Roll” or anything like that, but just the primary ingredients in the roll itself.
The price points, however, were most certainly on the high side (which was something Kevin had warned me about going in). With that in mind, I was thinking that the dinner combo was the way to go to sample a few different things without opening my wallet and a moth flying out. I went in on a 3-item combo, with the vegetable tempura, Shogun Roll, and Spicy Crab Roll.
From what I understand, the owner himself is the only one that works the sushi bar, and a small kitchen staff might be helping out with the hot foods. With that in mind, our food took a little bit of time to arrive, since the place was pretty much a full house.
The first thing that struck me when I got my food was how neat and organized everything was on the tray. The vegetable tempura was nicely stacked up in the middle, both rolls were placed on a plate of its own, along with the bowls of tempura sauce and rice. Even though there wasn’t anything extravagant about the way the food looked, there was definitely still an artistic element to it.
From a taste perspective, the vegetable tempura was pretty standard. I appreciated that it was battered just enough to give it the crispiness on the outside, while still letting the flavor of the vegetable come through. Moving on to the rolls, however, I had a difficult time enjoying them as much as I would have liked.
I’m normally a person that doesn’t use soy sauce to eat maki, as I want to get the full taste from the combination of the roll’s ingredients. In this case, I thought that the taste was only okay. The ingredients certainly tasted very fresh, but nothing really shouted out as a “must-get” for a future visit. But maybe in this case, the soy sauce was needed to give each sushi piece that slight punch of sodium to round out the flavor.
In a world where sushi restaurants do these extravagant maki rolls and, in some cases, feels like they’re topped with the kitchen sink, maybe Shogun is an example of a more pure approach to Japanese cuisine. Traditional offerings, quality ingredients, and artistic presentation. Walking into the restaurant, I had a different set of expectations for what would be offered. The food quality was great, no doubt about that, but the pricing still remains as one of the more expensive dining options I’ve seen in the area.
Let’s now take a look at the Shogun Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
And finally, here are my rankings for Shogun:
Food: 4.25 / 5
The quality of the food was very good, along with a nice selection of options to choose from. I think the thing that impressed me the most, however, was the artistic presentation of the food when it arrived at the table.
Atmosphere: 4.25 / 5
The extensive use of the wood and bamboo décor elements really helped to set the tone of the restaurant. You definitely feel transported once you step through those Japanese doorway curtains at the restaurant’s entrance.
Service: 4 / 5
Some of our food took a bit longer to arrive, but that is most likely attributed to just the owner working the sushi bar and filling orders for a packed restaurant. The waitstaff was attentive, and stopped by a couple of times to see if we needed anything.
Price: 3 / 5
I think there’s a fine line between the price to pay for higher quality food. On one hand, all the ingredients of what I ordered certainly tasted fresh. But on the other hand, I don’t feel like that the food quality alone coupled with a relatively smaller portion could justify the near $25 that I paid.