As a recent Westport transplant from New York City, one thing I find myself pining for from my former life is good sushi. A recent visit to Shiki Hana in Fairfield has changed all that. Located in a strip mall in Fairfield, Shiki Hana has the nondescript atmosphere of countless Japanese restaurants, but the surprise is in the food: some of the freshest, well prepared sushi I’ve had in a while.
Standouts include the Sashimi Jalapeno, slices of tuna, salmon, and hamachi each topped with a razor thin slice of jalapeno in a yuzu sauce and scattered with bits of roe. There are countless specialty rolls with inviting (and sometimes puzzling) names like Geisha Dream, Hanukkah, Sex Roll, and Black Dragon. The Hawaii Roll, a combination of spicy tuna, avocado, snow crab and roe wrapped in marble seaweed (soy skin streaked with seaweed), was a great marriage of creamy, silky, and crunchy. The tender soy wrapping let the contents shine through. Caviar Flavor, tuna and avocado topped with black, red, and green tobiko, is another standout and visually, would be equally at home in a jewelbox.
Florida Summer, white tuna, hamachi, and jalapeno topped with salmon and roe, is a riot of ingredients that are deftly constructed and delicious together. I’m intrigued by the addition of jalapeno in sushi rolls, but often find it disappointing: cut too coarsely and running roughshod over everything else. Not so here. The jalapeno, as with the yuzu sashimi, is cut thinly and used sparingly enough so the heat is well balanced with the pleasant crisp snap of pepper.
Cooked dishes are less creative, with standbys like teriyaki, katsu, negimaki and tempura. But if the familiar is what you’re craving, it’s on the menu and it’s done well. Vegetable Tempura, was a mini tower of sweet potato, mushroom, asparagus, zucchini, and broccoli which was roasted first. A nice touch. The tempura had a thin, crisp coating, and as with food that’s been expertly fried, deceptively light. Nasu Yaki, baked eggplant with miso, was silky and perfectly cooked, topped with delicate bonito (tuna) flakes for a smoky and rich dimension.
Overall, the food at Shiki Hana is clean in flavor with beautiful, almost architectural presentation. Care is taken here. My only beef is the sushi is too large (I prefer one bite pieces), and the rice is bland. The latter point might be a deal breaker for the purist, but in contrast to recent experiences I’ve had where the rice was overseasoned--too vinegary and sweet to enjoy the purity of the fish, it might be a small compromise to make to enjoy sushi this fresh.
222 Post Road
(Free delivery within 3 miles)