Hanging out at Sushi Q (3000 S. Hulen St.) made Chow, Baby think about Cowtown’s broad range of steakhouses. On the top end, you can easily spend $40 to $50 at Bob’s Steak & Grill for a great steak and a big carrot. But you don’t have to — you can eat well all down the price/service/tablecloth-thread-count line, getting great rib-eyes in the $40s (Silver Fox) or $30s (Del Frisco’s) or $20s (Lambert’s). How low can we go? Sal’s Special Rib-eye at Hoffbrau is quite a deal at $17.99. Chow, Baby has lived to tell about rib-eyes in the $8.95-$12.95 range, though most of those places are now out of business (no surprise).
Point is, we have this all-price-points range of steakhouses — but when it comes to sushi, Tarrant County is skewed toward the top of the line. Go to Sushi Axiom, Piranha, Sushi Zone, Hui Chuan — great sushi, beautiful décor, super service, and you pay well for it all. A couple of good mid-price places come to mind (Tokyo Café, MK’s Sushi in Bedford); below that, there isn’t much. Where are our sushi dives? We just don’t have the range of sushi choices like we do steakhouses.
Ah, but at Sushi Q, Chow, Baby found the Hoffbrau’s of raw fish: casual, very good, and almost suspiciously cheap. Check out the happy hour menu (and at Sushi Q, happy hour is 7 p.m. to midnight every night) — true, the tuna avocado roll wasn’t overly thrilling, but it was a full-sized roll of fresh-and-tasty … for $3.45! A salmon tempura roll ($3.95) was thrilling both for price and flavor: a creamy-crunchy shmush of lightly fried salmon with masago (capelin roe), cucumber, avocado, and tangy “special sauce” (Sriracha and mayo). Even on the regular menu, where the special rolls are mostly in the — sarcastic yikes — $9.95 arena, we got more than our money’s worth from a velvety Sushi Q ($9.95) of crab, shrimp, and avocado. A splurge on a huge Hairy Dragon ($12.95) netted us shrimp tempura and masago, with shredded crab stick for the hairy part and swirls of sauces.
Like Hoffbrau, Sushi Q has an unfussy, almost beachside ambiance, with a happy server and shorts-and-ballcap-clad clientele lit by neon beer signs (and only one for a Japanese beer). The highbrow won’t set foot in here, but it’s perfect for the Lowenbrau.
Chow, Baby’s peeves list was mounting as it placed its burger order amid screaming suburban kids, watched its patty overcook, and was presented with the wrong-topping’d results at Mooyah (8004 Denton Hwy., Watauga) — but forgot all its whines at the first incredibly juicy bite of its Mooyah burger (just over 1/3 lb., $4.59). Yay juice! And not the kind that is ladled out of a meat-juice vat and brushed onto a bun, but that kind that comes from fresh-never-frozen 100 percent American beef with no additives or junk. With a great bun and wide choice of toppings, this is a really good, fresh, flavorful burger. You should get one.
Unless you don’t like meat, in which case you should get the deliciously smoky veggie burger ($4.99). Other than that, everything else about Mooyah’s … you know what, Chow, Baby doesn’t care. The peeves list is forgotten (for at least a week). That’s how good these burgers are.
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