Sushi Roku Unveils Seasonal Menu, Prepares for 10th Anniversary
Sushi Roku is on a roll.
The 6,000-square-foot sushi bar and hip meeting place inside the W Scottsdale Hotel, 7277 E. Camelback Road, just east of Scottsdale Road, is continuing its successful spring menu, while preparing for a revived Sunday brunch, a 10th-anniversary remodel, and, in October, 50-percent-off dinner specials four days a week to celebrate the landmark event.
Under Executive Chef Joseph Castillo and General Manager Daniel Carr, Sushi Roku combines traditional sushi with California innovation, incorporating ingredients from Latin America, Europe, Korea, and Italy and Arizona, for rolls, entrées and new cooked robata items.
Guests also enjoy a generous menu of sakes, wines, craft cocktails and beers, including a proprietary microbrew, Red Sun. Among the new drinks are the mescal-drenched Smokin’ Yuzu and The Bartender’s “Six” Cocktail, Sushi Roku’s Bartender’s Choice, the green tea-infused Matcha Mule, Everything Zen with Nigori Sake, Darjeeling Express, The Ish, with shishito peppers, and the Ginger Lychee Mojito.
“It’s been one of our most successful years,” says Chef Castillo, a Pasadena, California, native who’s been in charge back of house since 2015.
“I had the cooking seed planted young in me by my mom, who got me to attend classes at 5 at the local Bristol Farms market and taught me how to cook traditional Latino dishes when I was 7. She knew so long as I could cook, I’d never be starving or have to settle for fast food.”
After high school, he attended California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, took a student job at an Italian deli and then moved to the Patina Restaurant Group, opening its restaurant in Disney Concert Hall (the great Frank Gehry-designed building). He also worked for Tony DiSalvo at his Jack’s, across from the Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, although that restaurant is closed now.
In 2005, he joined Innovative Dining Group’s Boa Steakhouse on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood and also got an employee discount at the nearby Sushi Roku. “I became obsessed with sushi, ate my way through the menu and learned so much from the sushi chefs.”
“The new menu has been fabulously successful for us,” says chef, who lives in Scottsdale. “I love it here in Arizona, the pace of life the weather and the sports.”
Among the additions to the spring menu: the Octopus Crudo, with yuzu kosho olive oil and lemon; Tuna Tartare; the Avocado “Hanabi,” “fireworks” in Japanese, an innovative take on avocado toast; Chilled Roku Ramen, shrimp, sesame miso, cucumber and poached egg; the shareable Tuna Pizza, crispy mushroom, balsamic, wasabi, aioli and serrano; the Nova Scotia Lobster Tail; and Bamboo Rice Risotto, shrimp, scallop and truffles.
Two new Signature Rolls are the Gensai with seared togarashi salmon, kizami wasabi and avocado, and the Senshi, yellowtail with cucumber, avocado and a spicy aioli.
Regulars, be assured you can still find favorite entrées such as the Grilled Salmon, cooked on Japanese Binchō charcoal, with wasabi yuzu creme fraiche, blood orange and fennel, and Bigeye Tuna Poke, with soy chili oil and sushi rice.
At a recent trip to Sushi Roku, chef began our tasty sampling with the fabulous Brussel Sprouts.
“This is a wonderful starter, with white truffle oil and salt to wake up the palate,” he explains. “You know there are great other dishes behind it, still to come. It’s been so popular, my staff hates me they have to make so many,” he says with a smile.
The Hamachi Serrano includes garlic, yuzu ponzu, serrano pepper and the fish, from Fiji. “This is another great opener for you and your friends. With its flavors and textures, you’re ready for your next step,” chef explains.
That “next” for us was the Toro Carpaccio, served with tamari soy, kizami wasabi and prized Oscietra caviar and blue fin from Spain. “This is the fattiest part of the fish and pure decadence,” chef says. “Guests love it.”
One of the new offerings isn’t sushi at all: Katana Robata Skewers, named for the company’s well-known Katana restaurants in Los Angeles and the recently opened Chicago Katana.
Five skewers are available, cooked on Binchō coals: Filet Foie Gras & Asparagus, with sweet miso; J-Dori Chicken, teriyaki; American Kobe Beef, black pepper sauce; Shrimp Bacon, Ebi bacon, chile garlic sauce; and Chilean Sea Bass, yakatori sauce.
“The coals have been compressed in a vacuum and burn long without flames,” chef says. “So you get a mellow smoky taste, and the juice and flavor are sealed in.”
This is very popular with the customers, too. “The skewers are for those who don’t like sushi, and they can order the Robata by the piece and mix and match.”
A final entrée was a new roll, the Gensai, with seared togarashi salmon, kizami wasabi and avocado.
Finally, our innovative dessert was the Frozen Lemon Soufflé with raspberry, whipped cream, vanilla scented granola and shiso, an herb in the mint family.
“It’s light, refreshing and cool and finished with a paintbrush rub of raspberry sauce on the plate,” chef says. “It’s a carnival of textures and tastes: Enjoy.”
Sushi Roku is open for traditional American breakfast as well as its signature lunch and dinner, 7 a.m.–2:30 p.m. daily (lunch begins at 11 a.m.) and dinner Sunday through Wednesday, 5 p.m.–10:30 p.m., and Thursday to Saturday, 5–11:30 p.m. Daily Happy Hour is 4–6:30 p.m.
For more information and reservations, which are recommended, especially on the weekends, call 480.970.2121, visit sushiroku.com or follow on social media @sushirokuAZ.
Sushi Roku, 480.970.212, sushiroku.com