A small storm has rolled into Chiang Mai and settled on Huay
Kaew Road in the University section. Itís called ďTsunamiĒ, and Chef Poln
and his helpers turn out fresh, delicious sushi and sashimi that is very well
priced by anybodyís standards. Itís not easy to find the first time;
youíll go right by and never notice this unassuming little restaurant. But
people are definitely finding it every night, and in abundance. If you donít
arrive quite early, you may have a bit of a wait. But donít give up. Once
orders are placed they arrive at the table in short time, so tables turn over
Tsunami opened only a little over eight months ago. The chef
lived and worked in Tel Aviv for six years, and gained English language fluency
there as well as culinary skills. Itís fun to watch him wield his knives, so
sit up front by the cooking area if thereís room. The interior only seats
about two dozen diners, but the tables and chairs are actually comfortable for
the farangs who come in with ample room to cross and uncross their legs. And
hereís a bonus for little neighborhood restaurants: the waitresses actually
greet and welcome their customers, then thank you on the way out. A nice touch.
We were happy to be the first diners on a recent evening. It
meant we had a choice of tables and a chance to study the menu without feeling
rushed. We ordered hot green tea (15 baht), and then set about trying to decide
between types of sashimi. Other drinks on the menu include bottled water at 10
baht per bottle, an assortment of fruit juices at 15 baht each, coffee (hot or
iced) at 15 baht per cup, and beers ranging from a small Heineken at 40 baht to
a large Heineken at 70 baht. Singha and Leo beers are also available.
We ordered two types of sashimi, octopus and salmon, and we
ordered California maki. They arrived at the table together, and it was
difficult to decide which to try first. A quick stir of the wasabi into the soy
sauce, chopsticks poised, Gina went for the maki while her fellow team member
tasted the sashimi. Then we reversed course and compared notes. The sashimi was
fresh and cold, but not frozen, a problem recently encountered at a hotel sushi
bar. The maki was a delight of flavors and textures. When sashimi and sushi are
what you crave, that first bite is incredible. Sashimi at Tsunami is priced
between sixty and ninety baht, and includes five individual pieces per plate.
Maki sushi is priced between thirty-nine and eighty-nine baht. Our California
maki included eight pieces at eighty-nine baht.
Our tempura shrimp was served, as was the gyoza. Both dishes
were hot and fresh. The shrimp were served in a basket lined with absorbent
paper, a nice touch. While the dipping sauces were quite nice, Gina will confess
to preferring the non-traditional (for these dishes) wasabi and soy sauce
mixture. The Dining Out team considered the tempura shrimp to be among the best
preparations of this dish in town. Tempura is priced between thirty-five and
forty-nine baht. Our dish included five large shrimp. Gyoza is priced at
thirty-five baht per serving, and also included five pieces.
Tsunami also offers set menus of sushi and sashimi at 100 to
180 baht per plate, as well as teriyaki sets at sixty-nine to seventy-nine baht
per plate. Other a la carte dishes include curry at thirty-five baht per dish
and ramen noodle dishes at thirty-five to forty-five baht.
This is how you find Tsunami: itís in between Lanna 3
Condominiums and the Canal Road intersection on the same side of Huay Kaew Road.
Look for the bright red lanterns and the happy diners.
Tsunami Restaurant, 8/1 Moo 1, Huay Kaew Road, T. Chang Puek,
Muang, Chiang Mai. Telephone 07-189-9338. Open daily for dinner only from 5:30
p.m. until 11:30 p.m. Closed on special holidays. Parking on the street after 7
p.m. or on nearby sois before. Take out available. Go early before the crowd
gathers, or phone for reservations.