Sushi Joint in Camas has its strong points

Sushi has room for improvement, but other dishes shine

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Dining Out review: The Sushi Joint

Hours: Noon to 8 p.m. Sunday through Friday; noon to 9 p.m. Saturday.

Where: 500 N.E. Fourth Ave., Camas.

Telephone: 360-210-4155

Health score: The Sushi Joint 2 has received a pre-opening inspection and is scheduled for a routine inspection in the near future. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants with a score of 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.

Why: The Sushi Joint recently opened its second location; the original is in Washougal. The new one is in Historic Downtown Camas, where a now-defunct Champagne bar was housed.

The casual family sushi restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner serving a variety of rolls, sashimi and nigiri with a selection of appetizers and a couple of dessert options to finish the meal off.

What I tried: My dining companion and I tried the Camas caterpillar roll, the spicy salmon roll, the tako (octopus) and the poke (tuna) appetizer. For dessert we tried the mango mochi balls.

The poke appetizer is actually a salad, though the menu does not denote this. A small portion of cubed poke with squid, cucumber, greens, tobiko sesame seeds and sprouts with a soy-based, sweet dressing are combined in about a 2-cup capacity bowl. This was the highlight of our meal, though we were a bit disappointed that there was not more of the tuna in the salad. Both the tuna and the squid were delicious and the mix of ingredients created an appetizing salad.

Both of the rolls we ordered were attractively presented on a plate flanked by ginger and wasabi and the tako secured to a portion of rice with seaweed.

The rolls did have a downside: they smelled quite fishy and both were topped with Sriracha sauce, which overwhelmed each bite. Both rolls, apart from the Sriracha, offered appetizing combinations.

The tako was slightly rubbery and absent that fresh-from-the-ocean snap, though understandable since we are inland and it was likely frozen beforehand. Other than this, it was good.

The dessert was a delicious finish to our meal. Two mochi balls filled with mango ice cream were cut into quarters and drizzled with chocolate sauce. The cold ice cream’s texture and flavor paired nicely with the pounded sticky rice coating. The dessert was refreshing and not overly sweet.

Atmosphere: A dark red wall sets off the food preparation area, which is fronted by bar stool seating. The rest of the walls are painted gray above a sealed concrete floor. Two lounging areas consist of sofas, club chairs, area rugs and coffee tables. These spaces provide more relaxed dining and a place to linger, while the rest of the seating is at tables and chairs. Street-side windows provide natural light during the daytime which is supplemented by attractive chandeliers and globe pendants. Large-screen TVs provide entertainment.

Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Among the roll selection is the sushi joint roll made with spicy tuna and crab salad and cucumber topped with a creamy scallop wasabi tobiko; the rainbow roll, which is layers of tuna, salmon, snapper, shrimp and avocado over a crab salad and cucumber stuffed roll; the black tiger roll comprised of layers of albacore topped with tobiko over a shrimp tempura, avocado and cucumber roll. The veggie roll combines cucumber, shiso leaf, avocado, carrot, radish and sprouts. Appetizer options include steamed pork dumplings, edamame, crab stuffed avocado and miso soup. The nigiri sushi selection includes salmon belly, snapper, river eel, yellow tail, shrimp and scallop. Green tea or mango mochi balls are available for dessert.

Other observations: The restaurant’s policy is to stop seating diners a half-hour before closing and to only fill to-go orders from that time to close. My dining companion and I showed up at 7:24 p.m. and the server was very hesitant to seat us without persuasion. Beyond this, the server was very polite and friendly. The atmosphere is comfortable and upscale. The sushi has room for improvement.

Cost: Appetizers are $2.25 to $8. Sushi rolls cost $3 to $12. Nigiri sushi is $3 to $4.25. Chef choice sashimi nine-piece is $13.75 and the eight-piece nigiri costs $13.75 as well. Dessert is $3.75. Beverages are $2.50. Beer and sake varies.