Revisited: Sushi Tei – Albany, NY

I recently realized that my trend of reviewing sushi restaurants for couldn’t be complete without a proper sushi evaluation at my favorite sushi restaurant, Sushi Tei. I wrote a review last year, but it was during a time when I wasn’t eating rice, and, after all, the name “sushi” really refers to rice anyway.

I mentioned that Sushi Tei is my favorite sushi restaurant in the area. It’s a humble, average-costing, and top quality establishment. Those three attributes really set it apart from all other restaurants in the area.

So on the evening I decided to showcase the sushi, I actually started my dinner with an appetizer. It was a pork belly and kim chee stir fry ($8). It was a special of the day and was actually spelled with the Japanese spelling, “kimuchi,” which confused me for a little while.

This dish was very interesting. The flavor and heat from the chile was very prominent in every bite, but the pickling from the cabbage didn’t permeate the pork belly. The pork belly was sliced thinly and wok fried along with the kimchi. It was a little tough, but that’s because the quick heat of the wok isn’t optimal for pork belly, which has distinct regions of fatty and lean meats. It was fun to pick through and basically see pieces of pork that looked like shriveled bacon slices. Even though the meat was tough, I enjoyed this, mainly because I love kimchi.

My sushi deluxe dinner ($18) came with either soup or salad. I opted for the salad which is usually the whitest part of iceberg lettuce with some cucumber, tomato, and a ginger dressing.

You’ve seen that 100 times.

What I really like about Sushi Tei is that you never have to wait long for your sushi!

The platter came with a tuna roll, and 10 pieces of nigiri (fish on top) sushi. Mackarel, red snapper, salmon, yellowtail, white tuna, and regular tuna. The fish is all served slightly chilled with the rice very close to room temperature.

The rolls have the right balance of rice to fish. They’re also packed just right so that they don’t fall apart as you pick them up.

The nigiri are also formed so that each piece can withstand a little jostling. And that’s good, because each piece gets picked up, by hand, and grazed upside down in derryX sauce (all of the wasabi on the plate thinned out with just enough soy sauce to barely make it fluid). The reason for the upside down graze is so that the rice doesn’t pick up the soy sauce and wasabi; it can pick up too much. The intent is to flavor the fish slightly in the soy sauce and wasabi.

Where Sushi Tei stands out is in the seasoning of the rice. Eaten alone, it has a balance of sweet from the sugar and sour from the rice vinegar that are added to the special sticky rice used for sushi. Eaten with the fish, the pickled rice helps to flavor the fish. All of the fish have their own taste, texture, and character, and the key is that all are served at the height of freshness.

If you have not yet tried Sushi Tei, and you enjoy sushi and don’t appreciate the over-the-top, expensive, and mediocre places in the area, it’s probably time you check it out.


8 thoughts on “Revisited: Sushi Tei – Albany, NY

  • Chrystal

    The biggest deciding factor to me with sushi rolls is the nori. If it is at all thick and chewy it gets stuck in my throat and makes me gag. Chewy/tough nori made me stay away from sushi for a good year awhile back. The couple times I’ve had Sushi Tei the nori has been like that and I just can’t get over it. Sake Cafe in Slingerlands brought me back sushi, it’s the only place I can get rolls and know that I’m not going to gag on chewy nori.

    • derryX

      Tough nori in rolls is not pleasant for sure. I order less rolls and mainly sick to nigiri (slices of fish on rice) because sometimes even the taste of nori can be overpowering to me.

      I went to Sake cafe, and it was ok. But it was a fairly long while ago.

  • WrigsMac

    Last Friday I decided we should go out for sushi. When I asked Drew if he wanted to try Sushi Tei again after our awful experience in September he just glared at me and said, “never again”. Ha! Funny how people can have such different experiences at the same place. I wouldn’t have minded giving it a shot again for dinner but if I do I’ll probably be on my own.

    What we did do that night was our favorite, Mr. Fuji. I have to say I’ve been saving a write-up because it was probably one of, if not our best, sushi experience so far in the Cap District. We always love it there, but they really outdid themselves on Friday.

  • Masticating Monkey

    Love the lunch specials at Sushi Tei. One of these days I suppose I’ll have to try it for dinner. White tuna is always a must.

    That appetizer looks good, but I can see how the pork belly could be problematic. Probably best to save the eating of pork belly for dishes where you know it’s going to be amazing (or just eat a bunch of bacon).

  • llcwine

    Now I’m craving sushi….btw….were you in the Latham PChops today? If it wasn’t you…then it was your double….

  • llcwine

    will do next time I see you…maybe at the next comic con…..Hope you have a joyous holiday!!!


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