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This is not where I would come for toro, for tobiko or uni. Those I will save for the finer sushi bars in town — restaurants where I know not only the precise provenance of the ingredients, but their travel plans as well. If I'm showing off for out-of-town guests, I'm not going to bring them to Go Fish. It's a place that's just for me — for me and friends, for me and the Broadway neighbors. It's a place where I can eat without thinking too much, enjoy without complications and without wondering whether it's wrong to order nothing but appetizers for dinner: a plate of shumai (almost as good as at Spicy Basil), a plate of gyoza (better than anywhere but Oshima Ramen), a stick or two of yakitori (beautifully charred) and tuna tartare with avocado and cucumber and spiked with little bits of crunchy tempura batter (one of the secrets to this kitchen's success).
In a reverse of every bit of sushi-bar wisdom I know, at Go Fish the specialty rolls are better than the hand rolls — mostly because while they're just as well put together here, they're also a helluva lot more fun. Not expecting the transcendent food moments that gastronauts out indulging in high-end sashimi crave, I can guiltlessly enjoy massive volcano rolls (spicy tuna, a house specialty, mango and avocado, again shot through with bits of tempura) or lucky rolls (shrimp tempura wrapped in shamelessly artificial crabmeat, shingled with slabs of maguro and avocado) simply because I like watching the sushi rollers' knifework — the way they can deconstruct half an avocado across their blades and fan them so perfectly. Or I can skip the sushi entirely and eat Cajun-style New York strip steak with ginger sauce, lamb chops in plum-soy marinade, soft-shell crab tempura or beef tenderloin, cubed à la France, as they say in Chinese kitchens, stir-fried with garlic and onions, then served with good asparagus (also stir-fried) and carrots and bell peppers and onions (also all stir-fried) and a tall beer — the only thing on my table not out of the wok and oil.
1 Broadway B108
Denver, CO 80203
Region: Central Denver
The egg tamago is not good. The tobiko sometimes tastes pickled. The Japanese fried rice is just Chinese fried rice made with Japanese short-grain sushi rice. And I have not yet got my nuts up enough to order the sakura, because cheese is not something the Japanese generally handle well — and a plate of raw spicy tuna, crab and cheese just doesn't sound very appetizing in the first place. But the menu at Go Fish is so broad, so appealing, so essentially, wonderfully comforting that I have never been at a loss for something to eat here. Tekka maki that tastes of nothing but the soy sauce I dip it in makes me smile every time I eat it. A big bowl of udon noodle soup with tempura shrimp and vegetables almost hot enough from the oil to sizzle in the broth is better for me than some mythical grandma's chicken soup, despite the distance between me and the lands where tempura udon actually is a native comfort food.
Go Fish is by no stretch one of Denver's best restaurants, but I love it for exactly that reason — because I can come here and simply eat what I love without thinking, without having to absorb or consider or appreciate anything. It is pure, private indulgence, one of my temples of Asian-American junk food, and when, long after dark, I suddenly get a craving for tekka maki or yaki soba, Go Fish is the place I go.
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