Dinner andamp; A Show – Java Sushi andamp; ‘Brideshead Revisited’
Some of the best sushi I have ever had in my life was in Istanbul of all places, so I dont know why I should have been so pleasantly surprised by the sushi served up here in Truckee a resort destination after all but I was. Java Sushi, located right off Donner Pass Road, has been keeping sushi enthusiasts coming back for 14 years with its winning combo of seasonal right-off-the-boat-fresh seafood (We pay more, but it is a huge priority, says owner Dave Sheer). Whats more, head chef Anton Harpoles training makes Grasshopper’s of Kung Fu fame look like a walk in the park. He studied with five different Japanese masters before reaching that exalted level himself. And for that we say, Domo arigato.The SpaceLocated just a couple doors down from All the Best Video (how appropriate for a Dinner and a Movie feature), this charming hole-in-the-wall sports the traditional wood paneled walls be-decked with fish art and counter service sushi bar where you can watch the edible art being assembled. There are also pub-style tables for two or three and a few six-tops for families or larger parties. Its a small place, very relaxed, and the diners are an eclectic mix of skiing and snowboarding celebs, locals on their second generation of patronage and winter weekenders who have been coming here since day one. I should point out I am pretty sure I saw an American Idol finalist, but this cannot be verified. The lighting is cozy and the accents are appropriately black lacquer. It was easy to see myself stomping in here after a hard day on the slopes or dressed up for a date — and both scenarios were represented. Theres plenty of parking but, like any well-regarded restaurant, it gets busy, so the earlier the better. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable and chimed in “the food always looks like this” when I commented on Antons lovely platter presentations for my photos.The FoodJava Sushi prides itself on turning first-time sushi dabblers into long-time sushi lovers. The menu is extensive and offers the traditional Nigiri selections (two pieces per order) and inventive Maki or rolls (36 to choose from, not counting the handrolls). The flavors on the Maki menu run the gamut from sweet to spicy to exotic, complemented by The Sauces including a creamy red pepper Aeoli, a sweet chili, Miso ginger and more. Again, I must emphasize the freshness of the fish. It is almost texture-less. The daily specials on the board reflect the catch of the season or the day and if a fish isnt running or isnt brought in, it is just not available. Popular House Special Maki include the Saturday Night Special (Tempura shrimp, cucumber blackened Ahi with spicy red pepper Aeoli sauce and a sweet soy reduction) and the Rainbow Roll, a cucumber avocado roll topped with assorted fish. Not a sushi fan? There’s char-broiled salmon and teriyaki selections and the Java Special Treats such as Venus on the Half Shell consisting of scallops, green onions, Shitake mushrooms and a Miso ginger sauce. The dessert menu has a Japanese flair and is a welcome surprise for a sushi bar. (Ask for the Lychee sherbet with Mochi. Not on the menu, but often available.)The DrinksThere are a half-dozen sake selections in two sizes, Japanese beers and rotating micro-brews to chose from. The sake bombs beer with a shot of sake submerged in the glass will do the trick and warm you up pronto! Gotta TryGo directly to the House Special Maki section on the menu and dont look back. Here is where you will find the gems and the killers sauces. Full as I was, I found room for the rice-less Godzilla Roll (look Ma! No carbs!) which is tempura fried Hamachi with green onion, Topiko, Tsume (sweet soy) and Sriacha, a spicy red pepper chili sauce. This roll just might be the reason behind the youre-hungry-in-fifteen-minutes-after-eating-sushi phenomena. You arent really hungry you just want more.Price RangeAs sushi goes, Java Sushi is fairly reasonable. Two pieces of Nigiri run around $5 dollars and the House Special Maki range from $7.95 to $12.95 with most hitting somewhere in between. The entrees are pricier ($21.95-ish) but come with Miso soup, Joes Touch Salad and rice. Best deal: All you can eat lunch on Thursdays and Fridays for $19.95.
Need some downtime after dinner? Pop in one of these recently released flicks on DVD and enjoy. Our film critic Lisa Miller reviews ‘Brideshead Revisited,’ ‘SECRET DIARY OF A CALL GIRL: Season 1,’ and ‘SWING VOTE’Movie: BRIDESHEAD REVISITEDGrade: BDirector: Julian Jarrold Starring: Matthew Goode, Ben Wishaw, Hayley Atwell, Emma Thompson, Greta ScacchiRated: PG-13Genre: DramaLength: 133 minutesDuring an included DVD special feature, one of “Brideshead’s” producers frets, “I’m afraid we won’t do justice to the last great English novel.” Though falling short of greatness, this adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s 1945 drama, grabs your attention with fabulous settings and attractive characters. Led by devoutly Roman Catholic Lady Marchmain (Emma Thompson), the family retires to their private chapel after dinner to sing Latin hymns. It’s 1925 and the Marchmains, a wealthy clan of historical importance, reside at opulent Brideshead mansion. The “Mommie Dearest” of Britain’s aristocracy, Lady Marchmain corrals her sinning offspring with reverent lectures and the opening and closing of her purse strings. Charles Ryder arrives at Brideshead on the arm of Marchmain’s homosexual son Sebastian (Ben Wishaw). Ryder, an aspiring painter enthralled by the classical mansion and its works of art, allows Sebastian to hope for their love affair while secretly maneuvering for a rendezvous with Sebastian’s beautiful sister (Hayley Atwell). Following his honeymoon period as the new family pet, Ryder finds himself at the center of a whirlwind. A gorgeous period piece, “Brideshead Revisited” provides much and many that are lovely, but none to love. Movie: SECRET DIARY OF A CALL GIRL: Season 1Grade: CCreator: Lucy PrebbleStarring: Billie Piper, Iddo Goldberg, Cherie Lunghi Rated: NRGenre: ComedyLength: 189 minutesThe purported confessions of an actual high-class London call girl, “Secret Diary” feels more manufactured than genuine. Hannah, professionally known as Belle, claims to spend half her time grooming, though her plentiful supply of lingerie, suits and cocktail dresses seem to indicate lots of shopping time. Downtime leaves Belle at loose ends unless she’s hanging out with her best mate, Ben. Her superficial character never draws us in though the show’s 22-minute format leaves little room for more than lighthearted cliches such as Belle’s reason for entering the world’s oldest profession. She claims loving sex is the secret to her success, however it’s clear she succeeds due to putting her client’s needs first. Belle is most compelling when noting her shortcomings while speaking directly to the camera. Less titillating than its frequent nudity suggests, Belle’s anxieties and the show’s comic setups are hit and miss. Movie: SWING VOTEGrade: BDirector: Joshua Michael Stern Starring: Kevin Costner, Madeline Carroll, Paula Patton, Kelsey Grammar, Dennis Hopper, Stanley Tucci, Nathan Lane, Mare WinninghamRated: PG-13Genre: ComedyLength: 120 minutesBud Johnson (Costner), is granted an extra 10 days to cast his vote for president, because of a mechanical glitch. His vote takes on new meaning when Bud, a beer-chugging layabout, learns that a national tie means he will decide the election. Having never cared for politics or much of anything other than his young daughter, Bud is overwhelmed by media attention and both candidates (Grammar and Hopper) who arrive in his New Mexico hometown pandering for his vote. Prodded by his daughter (Carroll), Bud grapples with letters containing the desperate stories of those hoping to influence his decision. Though complex issues are oversimplified, the film nearly overcomes its clumsy premise to stress a citizen’s civic responsibility within a democracy. It gets my vote.
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