Thursday, July 9, 2009

Makoto Sushi Bar, Chatswood

"Chatswood for sushi tonight." These were the first words A said to me on the phone, firmly and decisively. I was in the mood for it too, so why not? We hadn't been for a while, but we used to go to Makoto in Chatswood all the time. Over the years the prices have gone up and my fondness for them has gone down. When they first opened they were amazingly good quality and very good value. Recently I've noticed the plates are getting more expensive and the usual great variety of sushi and sashimi dishes are being replaced with lots of random fat rolls that have about 10 different things in them and cost a lot more. The quality of the rice seems to vary a lot as well.

Take this first roll for example; tempura prawn and crabstick with creamy mayo sauce. It's nice, it kind of goes together, but it's almost getting to the point where it's so big you can't get a piece in your mouth in one neat mouthful so you end up eating the different parts of it separately anyway. I didn't eat this one but A said it was okay.

Tempura prawn & crabstick roll ($3.00)
I wasn't complaining about the size of these tuna rolls though, I loooove spicy tuna rolls. These were a twist on them with raw and cooked tuna inside the roll and the outside was covered in that spicy stuff that I love. The chilli sauce that came with it was really good too. Definitely good value.

Spicy tuna roll ($3.00)
Ughhh I really don't like the takoyaki here. A always gets it, I don't know why. It's really starchy and each ball had about two tiny cubes of octopus in it. Even the ones at Wagaya were 10 times better.

Takoyaki ($3.00)

Grilled tuna ($4.80)
I always order the grilled tuna sushi whenever I come to Makoto. It's not usually on the sushi train (it used to be), they normally put a huge amount of the grilled salmon on the train but I prefer the tuna, especially when it's made fresh. You can smell them torching the tops of our tuna from the other side of the restaurant and it's always a moist morsel that is complimented by the crunch of onions.

Tuna sushi ($2.50)
This was a cheap filler choice, we noticed the plain cooked tuna on the el cheapo plates, which I used to always turn my nose up at, but we happen to have one of the enormous bottles of chilli seasoning in front of us so we spice up the boring cheap tuna sushi with lots of chilli :) It made it way better!

At this point there was a bit of a lull in the dishes coming around and we were whinging about the lack of variety so we decided to go a bit nuts and order some hand rolls off the menu. The first was a salmon and salmon roe roll which was meant to come with sea urchin roe but instead came with a juicy fat scallop. Definitely wasn't complaining about the change!

'Tasmania' hand roll - salmon, salmon roe & scallop ($5.80)
I don't know why I ordered the natto roll. I first heard about it on Steve, Don't Eat it! and keep hearing Tomred go on about how he used to eat it while staying in Japan. The food blogger in me was as eager as ever to try something different and curiosity won over. My first bite into the fermented soy beans was tasted about how I expected it too, but pulling it away from my mouth and having all the gooey, mucousy strands cling to my mouth was just a bit too gross. A thought it was vile. I kept an open mind and went for another big bite, but was once again too put off by the snot texture that stuck and stretched off my lips. Oh well, at least I can say I tried it! Tomred said he usually ate it mixed in with hot rice and sashimi which sounds more appealing that a cold roll.

Natto (fermented soy bean) hand roll - ($3.80)

Chef's special - grilled kingfish with basil sauce & cheesy potato mash ($5.80)
Usually I wouldn't get the expensive dishes but A was still hungry and these random 'Chef's specials came out'. First we tried the cheesy oyster, it was a total waste of money. The cheese was just supermarket packet shredded cheese and the 'bacon' was just a couple slivers of cheap ham. Bleh. The grilled kingfish was much better and cheaper, the fish was a bit dry but the basil sauce and cheesy mash went surprisingly well with it and it was so huge it barely fit on their tiny plates.

Chef's special - 'Mornay oyster' - mozzarella and bacon with oysters ($6.80)
At this point I calculated we were still under 50 bucks for the two of us so A shrugged and grabbed another random huge roll. This one was chicken katsu with cream cheese. I don't mind cream cheese in rolls in moderation, but sometimes it can just completely overpower everything else and you just end up yanging a glop of cream cheese around your mouth. A said this one was pretty good though.

Chicken katsu & cream cheese roll ($3.00)

Pumpkin pudding ($3.80)
I always get a dessert here, they're really yummy, always changing and not too expensive. Their green tea cheesecake is AWESOME. The green tea creme caramel is pretty great too. Kick butt over that creme brulee I had at A la facon de Shimizu. The pumpkin pudding is lovely, soft and light with the distinct taste of sweet pumpkin. A good way to end a very filling meal. We also tried to maximise the value of the meal by downing many many cups of green tea since you get unlimited refills (but you usually have to ask for it). At the end of it we had a decent plate pile and the bill still came in at under 50 and that was with us ordering a lot of expensive dishes that we normally wouldn't have. Maybe my impression that Makoto is overpriced is a little exaggerated? I would say it's not cheap like it used to be, but you could do a lot worse. The quality is always good, the fish is pretty fresh and it sure beats Sushi Train around the corner. However these days there are so many sushi trains to choose from in Chatswood, and Makoto is probably the most expensive in the area.

Sushi Bar Makoto Chatswood
336 Victoria Avenue,
Chatswood, NSW 2067
(02) 9411 1838
Mon-Fri: 11:30-15:00, 17:00-21:30
Sat: 11:30-15:30, 17:00-21:30
Sun:11:30-15:30, 17:00-21:00
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  1. Looks like you went on a really quiet night.

    The chef's special looks like his attempt to brush up on western techniques so that he can leave to work in a modern restaurant/bistro.

  2. steph i can't see any of the pictures right now ??

    but makato was one of my first favourite sushi trains i think i've been there about 3 times? and also once to the store in the city. i love the presentation of all the dishes they are arranged prettily :)

  3. I often go to Makoto for lunch. Neither am I a big fan of the random fat rolls. You don't have to choose the plates on display. Place an order with the wait staff and the sushi chefs are happy to make to your liking. I always go for the soft shell crab omelette handroll. Yum!

  4. Whata shame when a place jumps the shark but the variety looks pretty good. Love the look of the pumpkin pudding! :)

  5. Wow loads of interesting "fusion" chef's special dishes! Also re takoyaki, maybe it's the frozen kind you can get from Japanese shops that you reheat? I bought a bag of those before and I'm really really disappointed - it's been months and I haven't finished the bag yet.

  6. natto is gross!!!! i had it when i was in japan on exchange.. it was gross stuff.. bleurghhhh

    makoto is good for a quick sushi fix, but there are heaps of other better places.. say bushari's =p

  7. Simon - They never seem to have quiet nights. We arrived at 5pm when it was supposed to open for dinner and it was already half full. The area I took a photo of filled up straight after and there was a line outside by the time I left!

    Betty - Something weird happened, fixed now thanks!

    Ellie - Yep I usually order my favs like the grilled tuna off the menu!

    Lorraine - The pumpkin pudding was yummy!

    Trisha - Yeah I'm not completely sold on the fusiony dishes. Ooh it wouldn't surprise me if they were frozen, the octopus was so tough!

    Von - I agree, I think it's a real acquired taste dish. LOL I know I know, but it's definitely one of the better sushi places in Chats!

  8. Sounds like a mixture of great dishes and disappointing ones. You'd really need to know what to choose. It was brave of you to try the natto, although you haven't inspired me to join in!

  9. A tip I got from a friend who frequents Makoto a lot more regularly than I - instead of waiting foreverrrrrrrr for a table, go and order a sushi platter takeaway (awesome value for $40, some of them have like 30+ pieces) and eat it outside on those tables where everyone waits

  10. Arwen - Yeah I usually know what I like here but I think we went a bit nuts this time. I wouldn't recommend the natto lol!

    Mr. Taste - Yeah I've seen people doing that before but not really tempted to since I like the whole sitting there and choosing experience.


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