A sour end to the evening can't spoil this Malá Strana sushi restaurant for Miss Knedlíkova
Obsessive economizing being hardwired into my Knedlík family DNA (see recent article on Lidl), it was with great enthusiasm that I recently stumbled upon new bargain sites mydeals.cz, Slevomat and Bony Bony, which all frequently offer various featured restaurant vouchers at often quite heavily discounted rates.
A week or two back I bagged one such voucher for a meal at Japanese restaurant Susharna near Malostranské náměstí, paying 450 CZK online for a 1,000 CZK value coupon -- a saving of 55%. Hooray!
Knowing his liking for sushi, I invited Tangoman along on this occasion as well -- a first-time visit here for both of us.
The restaurant area itself was quite small, with only about 10 booths on the inside and a couple of lounge-style sofas and coffee tables placed along the corridor leading in from the street.
Interior was warmly decorated with oriental lanterns, Japanese swords, and -- for some unknown reason -- a string of incongruously tacky paper fish hanging from the ceiling. Apart from us, only the one booth was occupied on the weekday evening we were there.
We started off the meal with a bottle of Corinto Chilean Sauvignon Blanc (320 CZK) and a freebie amuse-bouche of battered salmon purée. It brought to mind a kind of posh fish finger, but was pretty bland for my tastes. Luckily the two-tone sesame seeds helped liven it up a bit though.
Even before I'd sat down here, I was quite adamant from viewing their handy photo menu online previously that I absolutely had to have the Tokashiki Maguro, i.e. tuna steak on seaweed, lightly roasted with rice Nishiki with Shitake mushrooms.
This is what it looks like on the Susharna picture menu.
And here is the decidedly less lurid reality...
Plus points here were that the tuna was perfectly rare (a rarity itself in Prague) and the dish as a whole nicely presented, with a creative salad garnish on the side. On the other hand, I found the fish lacked any kind of seasoning, and the sauce on the Shitake mushrooms was rather cloyingly sweet. It was nice enough, but I remember the tuna I'd had recently at Le Patio as being much more flavoursome.
There were many other tempting-looking mains on the menu (the Hirekatzu and Yaki Soba particularly caught my eye), but we instead decided to choose our additional courses from the sushi selection. This actually proved something of a mission in itself, given Susharna's eclectic range of sushi creations, ranging from the (admittedly rather bizarre-looking) Volcano Roll to the Maki Dynamite Roll made with scallops, mayonnaise and kimchi paste.
In the end, we plumped for the Mexico Maguro eight-piece set, made with salmon, tuna, shrimp, asparagus and chilli at 350 CZK, and the Cuba Maki with tuna, grilled smoked conger, cucumber, seaweed and chilli paste at 360 CZK. Neither particularly "authentically" Japanese perhaps, but both pretty tasty nevertheless.
I thought a couple of the Maguro pieces looked a little clumsily made, and the Cuba conger was ever so slightly on the chewy side, but on the whole Tangoman and I were both pretty happy with our somewhat unorthodox choices here.
I like to get in my daily quota of vegetables, so also suggested we order a Nagashimi salad at 105 CZK.
The salad mix itself was nothing particularly special, but was really saved in this case by the delicious sesame and soy sauce dressing served with it. Tangoman wasn't keen but, salad fan that I am, I really enjoyed it.
By this point we were too full for desserts, which was a shame as Susharna offers some extremely tempting sweet options, in particular the Kushi Mango (fruit-topped rice in banana leaf) and Saito coconut balls.
So instead we asked for the bill, which with another couple of glasses of wine thrown in finally came to 1,780 CZK. This is the point at which the evening took a decided turn to the sour, as our (hitherto perfectly polite) waitress reacted to my mydeals.cz voucher as if it were Einstein's theory of relativity written in upside-down Chinese. Even with Tangoman's admirable Czech skills and the hard fact of a printed voucher in her hand, it was only after copious negotiations, a few raised voices, and finally a call to the owner that our apprehensive waitress finally saw fit to accept its validity. A failing on management's side in failing to originally communicate the details of the deal to its service staff perhaps, but also undeniably on the part of the waitress in question, who hardly handled the situation in the most professional manner either...
This is the first time I've used a voucher in any restaurant (fellow food blogger Laus Sørensen did not apparently encounter any similar problems with his recent Bony Bony-based visit to Palantino), so I don't know how typical an experience this is likely to be -- in future I'll perhaps make known the presence of said coupon at start of meal to prevent any unpleasantness further down the line...
Sting in the tail over coupon aside, however, overall verdict on Susharna was that it was a perfectly respectable sushi joint with a great selection of Japanese mains and desserts, not to mention a few outlandish variations on the usual standard maki/nigiri/sashimi sets. Without the 55% discount, it's a bit out of my price range for regular dining, but I'll definitely be keeping it in mind for future "push the boat out"-type meals.
Either way, if another discount voucher happens to come my way I'll definitely be making use of it -- only next time I hope without all the drama when it comes to paying the bill!
Phone: (+420) 257 219 759
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