That Food Guy
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
  Azuma Sushi and Teppan
Azuma – Sushi and Teppan
4701 San Mateo Blvd
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 880-9800



This was to be a father and son day, a boys’ day out, a day at the museum, a rekindling of bonds. The morning chores completed, we started off and, and as it was nearing midday, we decided to stop somewhere for an early lunch. Larry took us to one of his favorite places. It was to be Azuma’a for a sushi lunch. Open daily at 11:00 am. When we entered we found that A
zuma opens at 11:30 on the weekends. We were a bit early, about 15 minutes. Larry
told the receptionist that we would wait in the car. She bade us to have a seat in the lobby, “It is nice and cool inside.” Already a nice touch… We were soon seated in a comfortable booth adjacent to the sushi bar. Besides being a comfortable booth, the little glass dividers make a cozy open personal area with very low noise. Although several couples had followed us into the restaurant the noise level was pleasantly very low. The sushi chef from his station was able to ask my son about his order from across the room. With soft lighting, well appointed fixtures and a quiet atmosphere, the stage was set for a good meal without distractions. Your visit to Azuma is started off with a nice bowl of miso soup. Well. Miso soup is miso soup and our Azuma serving was as good as any other miso soup I have ever had. Hot with a tasty dashi broth it set the stage for things to come. For openers my son ordered the spicy tuna roll and I ordered the California roll and a cucumber roll. Strange as it may sound, Larry and I both don’t care at all for surimi but we do like a lot of other sushi offerings. Larry ate his spicy tuna roll with gusto and said that it was very good, very tasty. Freshly made sushi can sometimes be crumbly, the sushi rice not congealed. That was not the case here. The rice cake was firm enough to hold together when picked up with the hashi and dipped into the soy sauce and still be soft and tender to the bite. The Azuma sushi chef has the sushi master’s touch. The California roll and the cucumber roll were excellent. The rest of our order was soon served. Larry had ordered the Boston roll without the cream cheese. I ordered the nabeyaki udon soup. The Boston roll is a large serving of to inside-out filled rolls with an olio topping of vegetables and lightly drizzled with a succulent sauce. It took some time to assemble. My souvenir take-out menu copy didn’t list that sushi selection so I am at a bit of a loss to remember all the ingredients. That was not a problem for my son as he enjoyed all of it in short order. He considered it an excellent selection. Years ago I first encountered udon soup in the international passenger quarantine area at the Anchorage International Airport. Most of the passengers were on Asian carriers making a refueling stop before flights over the old Soviet Union were possible. The small snack bar’s menu reflected the clientele. It was not an elegant serving. A package of fresh udon noodle was placed in a tall Styrofoam cup, then the cup was filled to the rim from a kettle of hot dashi stock and something dead placed on top. It was served with the disposable hashi for a typical in-airport rip-off price. Not knowing what it was, the first thing I did was dispose of the dead thing floating on top into the nearest trash can. Then I sipped the dashi and developed a liking for the taste of the hot mild broth. The fresh udon noodles are not Italian pasta but a whole new world of noodles. They were delicious. Since then I have tasted udon soups in many places and was about to see if Azuma’s offering was up to par. It was a large soup bowl serving; a meal in itself. Considering that I had already eaten my California and cucumber rolls, it was a bit too much. It was served with two very large tempura shrimp on the side. The broth was hot and savory. The fresh noodles were excellent and the bits


of vegetable, including asparagus, were delicious. It was as good as, if not better than any udon soup I have ever sampled. Even though it was more than I should have eaten, it was too good to leave any behind. Father and son enjoyed a quiet interlude in comfortable surroundings. We were catered to by a most courteous staff. We were served delicious food that charmed the eye as well as the pallet. Even the clientele, ma
ny of whom filled the dining room while we were there, were respectful of the surroundings and we were hardly aware of their presence. Surely the Azuma deserves high marks for quality of food, service and atmosphere; a place to go. It will surely be on my agenda for another visit on my next trip through Albuquerque, New Mexico.



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