Have you ever seen Jiro Dreams of Sushi? Jiro is brilliant. He is a meticulous craftsman, dedicated to perfecting the art of sushi. At 85, Jiro still wakes up every morning striving for better. He is exhausting and inspiring, an entertaining perfectionist (Psst. Watch the movie!)
As much as I would love to dine at Sukiyabashi Jiro, Jiro’s flagship restaurant, I don’t live in Japan. I also don’t have 30,000 yen laying around. So, on Tuesday night when my routine sushi craving hit, I had to settle for something a bit more local, something a tad less fancy.
Enter Sumo, an Amsterdam sushi joint conveniently located right across the street from my office. Sumo is a weeknight booby trap. If I dare leave the office on an empty stomach, Sumo’s neon signs lure me in like a mesmerized moth. This past Tuesday was no exception. As it was an impromptu visit, I did not bring a snazzy camera. However, I did take a few insta-snaps of the meal.
Do I recommend dining at Sumo? Yes. Is it for the phenomenal taste and quality of the food? No.
The food is at Sumo is OK, and the service there is decent at best. But the really fun part is ordering, and the unlimited rounds of goodies that are delivered to your table, time and time again. Imagine a buffet, where all of the food is freshly cooked and served to you upon command. One flat price, all you can eat food made to order. My fat-kid heart is fluttering!
Sumo has a pretty decent menu, and ordering reminds me of playing mini golf. Each table gets a little score card, and you are asked to put a tick mark next to the dish you want to order. Each person is allowed 5 dishes per round, and there are 5 rounds in total. It’s fun to flip through the menu, carefully selecting the dishes you want to try. Working to fill out the corresponding score card makes receiving your food that much more rewarding – you’ve worked for it!! If you’re not a sushi fan, don’t be put off. There are just as many noodle, meat and seafood options on the menu. My top recommendations are the grilled squid, the tuna avocado rolls, and the sashimi salad.
The bad? You can’t get a glass of tap water, which is quite outrageous, considering they serve alcohol. They also don’t have a fun cocktail menu. I always crave a big fruity cocktail with my sushi! There’s a lot of mayo in the food, which is fair since this is Holland. But hidden globs of mayo in my sashimi salad can be a bit off-putting! Also, the lighting is red, which makes for a jazzy atmosphere but a poor picture. And lastly, service is very hit or miss. I’ve had two very good and two very bad service experiences at Sumo. My recommendation is to make a reservation for a bit later in the evening, and go on a week night. There are less people at these times, so your waiter will be attentive and available to pick up your menu card and clear your table.
If you’re interested in checking out Sumo, there are two locations I have been to in Amsterdam, one in Leidseplein and a second (by my work!) on the Vijzelstraat. You can find the number to make a reservation here.