When: September 29th, 2008
Where: Sushi Caliente (Cedar Park: 1431 & 183)
What I Had: Appetizer: Misoshuri which is a soybean soup with tofu, spinach, green onions, and shitake mushrooms. Main: Spider Roll consisting of Eel, crab, avocado, cucumber, and masago. We also had the Longhorn Roll made up of Salmon, cream cheese, and shrimp on the outside with avocado and crab on the inside.
What I Thought: We randomly came across this restaurant while browsing the Northwest edition of Community Impact Newspaper. They had a quick review of it inside and I thought about the fact that it was a combination of southwest Tex-Mex and Asian cuisine. Then I became jealous because I realized that only a few days before discovering Sushi Caliente I had myself fused the two cultures into what I called an Asian Taco. So, realizing they had stolen my idea, a good one at that, we headed off to taste for ourselves. Of course the cheap prices and the tasty rolls would have been enough to entice me.
Mind you this review is of the 2nd time I have been there. The first time I loved it. In the spirit of criticizing food I felt it necessary to try it twice before writing a full review. The first go around we had the Sunshine Roll (a specialty roll topped with Mango), the Doc Roll (a southwest roll, fried, and topped with Srirachi sauce), and the Longhorn roll. We paid less than 20 dollars and came out very satisfied. Going in the second time we had smaller stomachs. We couldn't pass up getting the Longhorn roll as it was so good the first time. We also went with a classic, the Spider roll. Every order comes with soup. The Misoshuri soup was good, but not great. The broth was satisfying and salty, yet it still came away somewhat bland. Especially in comparison to, say, the Hot and Sour soup at Kim Phung. It was good, nonetheless
Although we love Asian entrees, we can not pass up sushi. So after two tries we have yet to have an actual entree. Sushi however is filling enough to act as one. The Longhorn Roll is a classic in a way. It comes stuffed with crab and avocado. What makes it so delicious is the salmon, shrimp, and cream cheese wrapped around it. It comes with its own "Flamingo sauce", a Sushi Caliente specialty. The Flamingo sauce is amazing on sushi. So far we have devised that it is either Mayonnaise or Sour Cream based and has a nice Texas kick to it. The Spider Roll, which actually is a classic at many sushi places, was delicious too. Claire kept going back and forth between which was her favorite of the night. The presentation of the spider roll was superb as well as the two end pieces came with some sweet, sticky, crunchy crab arising out the top. For $3-$10 a roll you really can't beat the flavor combinations and satisfying rolls Sushi Caliente has to offer. If given the chance it is worth the long drive out to save a bit of money on a unique sushi experience. Mind you, the more savvy sushi goers might be able to tell the difference in overall quality that you might expect from a critically acclaimed sushi dealer and Sushi Caliente. Wait, I am critically "acclaiming" Sushi Caliente. So if your looking for something new and all too familiar give them a try.
Pros: Excellent variety and selection of specialty rolls, all for great prices. Unique concept and fusion of two cultures.
Cons: The atmosphere is that of a strip mall (which it is in), there is a little bit of a funk to the indoor dining (this is never good for any restaraunt), LONG LONG drive to get there, sometimes unfriendly service. Most of these cons, however, go right along with many Asian places.
some photos credit to: Claire Patrick