Sushi-loving west enders can rejoice; there’s something new to try.
Gulfstream restaurant in Southampton opened a sushi bar two weeks ago to complement its regular seafood/Italian fusion menu.
According to general manager Luca Ferrante, things have been going well.
“We have had good feedback,” he said. “We have had a lot of regular customers who have started coming in to try the sushi. We have been forward in asking them if we can do anything better, but so far we’ve had a good response from them.
“People are surprised and happy when they come in and see our new sushi bar. We’ve had three gentlemen who came to pick up pizzas, say ‘oh, my wife likes sushi’. They came back later in the week with their wives to try it.”
Gulfstream hired trained sushi chef, Joecel Burgos, to run the sushi bar.
“I was born in the Philippines,” Mr Burgos said. “I started working in a Japanese restaurant when I was 20. I started at the beginning and got my skills up, high, high.”
He worked in a sushi bar in Cyprus for five years, before coming to Bermuda.
“The people are nice in Bermuda,” he said. “I like it. It’s a new challenge.”
One of the favourites on the new menu is the volcano roll which has deep fried spicy salmon roll, tobiko and masago (fish roe), tempura flakes, scallions, eel and spicy sauce.
“When you eat it is crunchy and spicy,” Mr Burgos. “It is like a volcano in your mouth.”
The Kiss of Fire with salmon and jalapeños is also popular, as is the surf and turf roll with soft shell crab and beef tenderloin among other things.
Mr Ferrante said one of his favourites is the Kobe beef on crispy rice, one of the most expensive options on the menu at $26.
“It’s about the quality of the food involved,” he said.
Mr Burgos said none of the sushi options are particularly challenging for him to make.
“I love my job, so there is nothing difficult for me,” he said.
Gulfstream’s sushi menu also offers a number of Saki options such as sho-chiku bar nigori, a sweet nigori with flavours of ripe bananas, vanilla and melon and creamy sweet rice custard; and horin junmai daiginjo, a combination of fresh spring water and yamada nishiki rice.
But the general manager said the addition of the sushi bar represents an upscaling of Gulfstream, not an upgrading.
“Things were going well, but we’re always looking for extra service to motivate the customer to come in to try different things,” he said. “Lots of people like sushi so we decided to go for it. Of course, we have sashimi and nigiri as well.”
He thought the restaurant’s location on the South Shore across from Horseshoe Bay was in a good spot to pick up hungry people on their way from town headed towards Dockyard.
“It is a winning situation for everyone, the restaurant and customers,” he said.
Living in Warwick, he said he often just wants to have a glass of wine in the evenings and relax.
“To have more pizza and sushi options close by is very convenient,” he said.
To install the bar, imported from Italy, they had to rearrange seating arrangements on the west side of the restaurant. But Mr Ferrante said after some tables were moved, and five stools were installed at the sushi bar, they lost only three seats.
At the moment sushi is available at Gulfstream only in the evening, seven days a week. But the restaurant is in the process of hiring a second trained sushi chef, a friend of Mr Burgos. By April, they hope to have him in place, to offer sushi for lunch and dinner.