Sake to Me: The three types of sake and other things I learned from Sushi Zushi

 photo(1)        Editor’s Note: OhSpooning received free food and sake from Sushi Zushi.

The Austin Food Bloggers Alliance happy hour for February was at the downtown Austin location of Sushi Zushi this month. In addition to providing food, the friends at Sushi Zushi also gave a quick Saki 101 class to the attendees.

Sake 101


There are three different kinds of sake, according to Sushi Zushi: Daijingo, Ginjo and Junmai.

The difference between the three are the amount of rice that has been polished away. The three above are listed in order of most polished away to least polished. You should be able to tell how polished the glass based on how clear the sake is. We used a white sheet of paper held behind the glasses to see which had more and less. We also tried nigori (meaning cloudy), which is less expensive and has a lot of rice left in it—it tastes a bit like rice milk, except with alcohol. You can try sake much like you would try wine, from swirling the glass to smelling the sake with an open mouth—the same rules apply!

I enjoyed meeting Christine from Smoked Salt and Pepper and her friend in graduate school for journalism. Christine is new to AFBA and they were a lot of fun to sit with during the tasting.



When I first got to the happy hour, there were an overwhelming amount of people in the room and many were jumping at the food. Once we finished the sake tasting, the room had died down enough for us to try some of the many samplings that were offered. I couldn’t tell you the name of a single thing that was served, but I can say it was all delicious. Sushi Zushi is good at adding many flavors while still allowing for you to taste the fish. photo(4)They also have some great edamame appetizers with different sauces.


Whether you’re downtown or in the Domain area, I’d recommend Sushi Zushi as a happy hour spot!


Imperia Changes Up Menu to Pull in New Customers

Editor’s Note: OhSpooning received free food from Imperia as a promotion to bloggers.

Imperia Austin recently revamped its menu to pull in a bigger audience, including fancy jello shots for the UT crowd.

In order to let people know about its new offerings, we got an invite to taste some different offerings, ranging from sushi and fish to Thai cabbage slaw and Thai soba salad.

This sushi restaurant has a nice friendly feel, with dark lighting, plenty of tables and a nice lounge, for … you know … lounging.

After one of those previously mentioned jello shots, we started with Asian-fried Brussels sprouts. My thoughts on Brussels sprouts? Unless you boil them, you can hardly go wrong. These were no different. They had just a bit of spice that pleased the palette—delicious!

Next was a beautifully presented array of sushi:

  • The Hot Lips Roll, a California roll with escolar and spicy garlic miso
  • The Red, White and Bleu, consisting of Snapper sashimi with yuzu Bleu cheese and bacon apple marmalade

Arguably the best dish was the Yuzu dusted crouton with yuzu caper aioli with seared beef and persimmon seasoned with salt, pepper and 15yr olive oil, micro herb salad and watermelon radish. All of the different flavors at once just worked. Some people thought there was too much crouton. I say hogwash.

The main dish was an entire Thai snapper. That’s right—it was one giant fish! The fish was marinated for 48 hours, then deep fried until crispy accompanied with fresh cucumber, Thai basil, fresh sambal chili, Thai sauces, Crisp Bibb and romaine lettuce, marinated cherry tomatoes and fried basil.

To cool our lips, we were each presented with an Edelflower ice pop—light and cooling—perfect for the end of a big, spicy meal.

Whether you’ve been to Imperia or not, I’d say it’s worth the visit. Next time you’re downtown, stop by and have them fix you something up; They say the chef loves coming up with new dishes.

Center map



Rolling With My Homies


My parents drove in today for my birthday and called me on the way to see where we were eating for lunch. When I asked them what they were in the mood for I was given “we’ve heard miso soup is good for you.”

OKkkkk… An odd challenge. I knew most sushi places had miso soup, but my parents say they don’t like sushi. I was pretty sure they just hadn’t experienced much sushi, so after a bit of browsing, I decided Maki’s How Do You Roll was a great choice. It’s sort of ‘sushi-light’ in my opinion. The normal menu intimidation is gone. You can just look at the ingredients and pick them, thus freeing yourself from ordering something that sounds safe, but really isn’t. Besides, you can even get teriyaki chicken on your roll.

How Do You Roll is a great place to take beginner sushi eaters. For starters, there are large posters giving directions on how it works. To make your own wrap, you choose the wrapper—soy or seaweed, then three vegetables and then a meat. And you don’t actually roll your own, as my mom was worried about—they put everything together for you as you point it out to them.

At the counter they also ask if it’s your first time to come in. If it is, they hit a big gong and say, “we have first timers!” or something like that. Then an employee walks you through the steps, giving suggestions as you go if you’re as slow as my family. I got a crab roll with avocado, cucumbers, green onion and sweet chili dribbled on top. I also ordered miso soup, which was very flavorful and hot.

Wraps are $3.95 for traditional and $4.95 for modern, with meats an additional cost for each. Miso soup is just 99 cents and will help you feel full after one roll.

My parents enjoyed everything we ordered and none of us were too full, which was good, because our dinner reservations were for just three hours later.

Bottom line? I think it’s a great casual place to eat. It’s fast, reasonable and the interior is bright green and fun. And I love fun!

Arbor Walk Shopping Center
10515 N. Mopac Expy. 165A
Austin, TX 78759
(512) 243-8298,
Mon.–Sun. 11 a.m.–9 p.m.