Visiting a couple accounts in the Fort Wayne area this past winter, I decided to stay in the city because of blowing snow and poor visibility across the route I was going to be heading in Northern Indiana. I like to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn on the city's southwest side and across the parking lot is a sushi place called Naked Tchopstix. My colleague Simon told me that he had eaten there a couple times and he called it "just all right." I've eaten at a Naked Tchopstix in Indianapolis and thought it was very good. (Click here to see my entry on that Naked Tchopstix.) I walked across the parking lot on that blustery evening to see if I would agree or disagree with Simon's report that their sushi was "just all right".
David and Maggie Lee opened the first Naked Tchopstix in Indianapolis in 2003 featuring sushi and Pan Asian food - primarily Korean food. In addition to the Fort Wayne location, the Lee's run three Naked Tchopstix in Indianapolis including one at the Indianapolis International Airport, and one in Newport, KY across the Ohio River from Cincinnati in the Newport on the Levee entertainment district.
A number of other fellow travelers from both the Hilton Garden Inn and the adjoining Homewood Suites were in the restaurant when I walked in around 6:15 in the evening. There's a bar area to the left as you walk into the place and the sushi bar is part of the main dining area at Naked Tchopstix. Music played in the dining room were 50's and 60's standards from big band crooners and female jazz singers such as Bobby Darin, Sarah Vaughan, Steve Lawrence and Carmen McRae.
I parked myself at the sushi bar and my server for the evening, Jaclyn, dropped off a menu for me to look through. I ordered an Asahi beer to enjoy in the meantime. The only problem was that it took nearly 10 minutes for Jaclyn to get the beer back to me. She appeared to be the only server working the half-full dining room.
Even with all the Pan Asian food on the menu, I was there for the sushi and I immediately ordered up a spicy tuna roll and a spicy salmon roll from the sushi chefs behind the counter. Both sushi rolls both had a very pronounced cucumber taste. I don't mind cucumbers but they used rather large pieces of cucumbers in the rolls that overpowered whatever taste of the spicy tuna or salmon that I could discern. The rolls were "just all right".
I ordered up some sushi pieces - smoked and regular salmon, maguri tuna, and hamachi yellow tail. The sushi came out on a platter that was adorned by a plastic Bonsai tree. I kind of laughed at the presentation because the plastic tree took up a 1/3 of the plate.
And the sushi was, well, it was also "just all right". The smoked salmon was fine, as was the tuna. I mean, it wasn't bad sushi, but it didn't knock it out of the park in terms of taste and quality. And something was really salty in either the rolls or the sushi. I don't know if it was the wasabi or maybe the soy sauce was extra salty. But as I don't eat much salt in my diet, I found the salty taste to be very pronounced and somewhat disappointing. I drank a lot of water that evening thanks to the salty nature of the food.
Sometimes Simon can be very critical when talking about restaurants he's been to. There have been times when we've eaten together where I thought the meal I've had was pretty good and he would tear apart some aspect of the meal. But most of the time we're pretty much in cahoots with one another in our assessment of meals. And I'll have to say that Simon was spot on with his "just all right" observation on the Fort Wayne Naked Tchopstix. It certainly wasn't as good as the one I was at in Indianapolis and somewhat disappointing overall.