Friend Sheri and I have been talking about going to Sushi Rock, the first Arlington rock-and-roll sushi bar, since the day we heard it was coming. We held back through its rocky opening two weeks ago but went last night. Verdict: Doesn’t rock yet but could be big someday.
The space felt more comfortable to me than Yaku ever was, and the service was certainly nicer. Both the bar and seating areas were more open, and you felt like you could move around without upsetting the staff’s balance. The chairs were a little odd, like a halfway version of those egg chairs from Men in Black, with Will Smith sliding all over the place, and the tables were a few inches too small. If we had filled our table for four, we would’ve run out of room before our main course arrived. But the chairs got friendlier the longer you sat, and the table for four turned out to be perfect for two. So, both turned out okay.
With decor, I liked it. Cymbals hanging from the ceiling? A wall of chains to break the space? A red bar? I liked it. The stuff didn’t quite address the huge windows on a gray day, but they got closer than I expected. Better night lighting — or more of the smart candle direction they were heading as the evening grew darker — could do a lot, and sunny days were obviously going to be fine. And sound as decor? They amazingly had the volume level right. I expected them to have it wrong and hear a work in progress. But I walked in, heard AC/DC, good, had a terrific conversation, good, noticed songs through the meal but never found it overwhelming, good. The song that sounded the best was U2’s Desire (not so many deep cuts, no), and that made sense. The song’s mix of sound and restraint on sound fit the cathedral-but-jutting space.
Food: We were just happy to be there, so we couldn’t do a clear view.
But it was good. Not mind-blowing. In retrospect, the openness of the space and the oddness in the chairs probably hurt our focus on taste. (Sounds weird, but I think this is true.) For an app, the tater tots were Combos-tight in size and impact — a good thing. For rolls, we had the California, salmon and the “Free-fallin'” spicy tuna. I liked them all, but they have some work to do to get to “wow.” Which is okay! The happy hour pricing was spot-on and even promoted with a formal menu. Very cool touch. And service was attentive, seemingly over its Yelp-criticized opening jitters. Two weeks in, overall impressions were positive, and it would be nice to go back soon. Like in rock, tweaks and an X-factor…
Sorry for photo quality below — forgot my real camera, had to use cell.