I'm woefully behind on my posts lately. I'm traveling back East these next few weeks, so hopefully, I'll get some time to catch up...

Last Monday, Adam, Nathan, Moody and I went out to my favorite Sushi place for lunch, Shimogamo in Tempe. Shimogamo is run by a Japanese man who opened the place because he was unable to find decent Japanese food in the valley when he came here for business.

Like everything else in Phoenix, Shimogamo is located in a strip mall. However, the interior is nicely designed, with a sushi bar, main dining room, semi-private back room, and I think a private back room as well.

I usually come to Shimogamo for dinner, and eat nothing but sushi (it's that good), but lately we've been coming to take advantage of the lunch specials.

On this visit, I ordered the chicken katsu tray. It came with a panko-breaded fried chicken cutlet (the Japanese use panko as opposed to traditional bread crumbs for the breading), miso soup, salad, rice, and pickle. This is a decent amount of food for $7.95. Not being able to help myself, I also ordered a Shimogamo roll, one of my favorite rolls there. It's a shrimp tempura roll that has very thin slices of lemon as well. The first time I had it, I was a bit skeptical, but it really works well.

My katsu was very good, as always. They serve it with a type of barbeque sauce and wasabi, which work equally well.

Adam had the same thing I did, but Moody decided to go with the chicken teriyaki. He's pretty particular about his teriyakis, generally despising the stuff that's been simmering in syrupy and sickeningly sweet goop all day. Luckily, the teriyaki at Shimogamo was nothing like that. The chicken was very tender, with just the right amount of teriyaki. I may have to give it a try on the next visit.

I'll have to come back for the full sushi treatment soon, as I'm dying to write about it. Shimogamo is definitely the best sushi (that I've had) anywhere in the valley so far.

Shimogamo on Urbanspoon

Comments (Comment Moderation is enabled. Your comment will not appear until approved.)
charlie griefer's Gravatar when my wife and i lived in the valley, we used to go to Zen32 a lot (corner of camelback and... 24th?). decent sushi, but a little pricy. it's one of those places that you go to for the atmosphere (and pay for it).

but i think the best sushi we had in the valley was at Sakana. They have a location on Elliot (off of I-10), and a smaller location off of the 101 by 56th street. If you can get down to the Elliot location, I cannot recoomend that highly enough.
# Posted By charlie griefer | 7/1/05 10:46 AM
Rob Brooks-Bilson's Gravatar Thanks Charlie,

I actually make it to Sakana (usually for lunch) every now and then - it's fairly close to where I live. It's decent sushi, and the price is reasonable as well. You're right about Zen32. It's much more about the atmosphere and crowd than the sushi.

There are new places in the valley popping up all the time, so we'll see how long Shimogamo stays my favorite. It used to be Sushi on Shea, but they've consistently gone down in quality over the years.
# Posted By Rob Brooks-Bilson | 7/1/05 11:35 AM
Deidre's Gravatar I love Shimogamo, too! Just went there last night. Was doing a search for review sites, because I need to post one. Believe it or not, it's actually in Chandler--I live right around the corner from it, lucky me! Unfortunately, after our yummy meal yesterday, we walked outside into an incredibly rancid smell that made me nearly puke. My husband thinks it was from C-Fu next door, maybe grease on the vent or something. Do you make it over to Lee Lee Market on the opposite corner? What a great place! I haven't been to their restaurant inside, but I've heard it's pretty good.
# Posted By Deidre | 10/3/05 3:54 AM
Rob Brooks-Bilson's Gravatar Hi Deidre,

Thanks for the correction RE the location. I've updated the post. Sometimes I find the city boundaries a little confusing.

I go to Lee Lee's all the time. Even if I'm not getting ingredients for Asian cooking, I find that their produce prices are dirt cheap. Especially for herbs like mint.

Luckily for me, I've never experienced the smell you described, but I'll bet you are right that it probably came from C-Fu ;-)
# Posted By Rob Brooks-Bilson | 10/3/05 9:03 AM
L Marie's Gravatar My boyfriend and I tried Shimogamo today for the first time. I must say, it was ok but way overpriced for the area and the food. Two pieces of shrimp and some noodles for 9 dollars? No complimentary tea, miso soup, or edamame like a real Japanese restaurant. My boyfriend said his sushi was good, but not great for the price. When we got our tab, we noticed they didn't charge for the tea, which was nice of them. But when we paid, the owner guy noticed this, and charged our card to reflect $1.25 EACH for tea. Give me a break.
# Posted By L Marie | 7/29/06 12:32 AM
Rob Brooks-Bilson's Gravatar It's a bummer you didn't have a good experience at Shimo. For lunch I usually do their specials, which do come with miso soup and salad, making them a decent deal. I usually stick to their Crazy Don bowl these days, as it's probably my favorite lunch menu item (usually you have to ask for it because it's not actually on the menu).
# Posted By Rob Brooks-Bilson | 7/29/06 9:57 AM
Sabrina's Gravatar I absolutely agree with your review. Shimogamo is definitely one place I found to be satisfying when it comes to their delicious sushi and the atmosphere. I was so glad to see real Asian people too, it just adds to the authenticity of it all. I'm still trying to find some other high rating sushi places. Ayoko's of Tokyo at the Biltmore had great sushi and Teppanyaki shows, but I'm not sure if they're even in business anymore. I just happened upon this page, do you do reviews for all types of restaurant in AZ?
# Posted By Sabrina | 8/12/06 10:32 PM
Rob Brooks-Bilson's Gravatar Hi Sabrina,

Thanks for stopping by. I do do reviews for restaurants all over the valley. If you look at the right hand side of the page, there's a section called Archives by Subject. Look for the "Reviews" link. So far there are 50 or so on the list.

There are a couple of other sushi places around the valley that are decent, but for me the drive to Shimogamo wins out over a drive to the Scottsdale area, where many of the other palces are. One place I'm still waiting to try that I've heard good things about is Mishima on Thomas Road in Acadia.
# Posted By Rob Brooks-Bilson | 8/14/06 11:01 AM
Kurt Raab's Gravatar Can anyone recommend a good Japanese restaurant that serves good Donburi? Haven't found anything in PHX yet. (e.g. Katsudon deep-fried pork cutlets onion, and egg on rice, Tekkadon, etc.) Also interested in whether the restaurant(s) *have* ambiance , or *not*... Mr. BB, if you get this msg, you know how else to get hold of me. BR, Kurt
# Posted By Kurt Raab | 1/31/07 11:44 PM
Rob Brooks-Bilson's Gravatar Kurt,

You might want to try Taiko Japanese:

1909 E Ray Rd, Chandler, AZ (SW corner of Ray and Cooper)

They have several items that I haven't seen at other Japanese places, and their emphasis isn't necessarily on sushi. I don't know if they have donburi, but you might give them a shot. Their ambiance is pretty bare bones, but the food I had there was decent, and the service very friendly.

Shimogamo occasionally has specials that aren't on the menu, but I've never seen donburi there.
# Posted By Rob Brooks-Bilson | 2/1/07 2:53 AM
Rob Brooks-Bilson's Gravatar Kurt,

Check out Sushi Ken over in Ahwatukee. They just opened up a few weeks ago (I haven't been there yet) and have donburi on the menu.
# Posted By Rob Brooks-Bilson | 2/18/07 4:46 PM
Richard Villanova's Gravatar Just went to Medo Sushi which used to be Arigato Sushi at the corner of Ray Rd. and Kyrene Rd. This has been my best sushi experience since moving to the valley earlier this year.
The sushi was fresh, tasty and very cheep for the amount you received. When you sit down they bring you 2 salad appetizers, and edamame for free...
I'm originally from the Chicago area and know some excellent sushi places there, and Medo is just as good. It's at least $20 cheaper than places like RA (which sucks IMHO), and I've never seen so many Asian people
eating at any sushi place as I have seen eating at Medo.
What I have noticed in the past is if you go to an Asian restaurant (Japanese, Chinese, Thai) and see Asian people eating there it's probably one of the best around.
# Posted By Richard Villanova | 1/18/08 9:39 AM
Rob Brooks-Bilson's Gravatar Hi Richard,

I haven't tried Medo Sushi yet, but from the sound of it, I will certainly have to soon. Thanks for the tip (and I agree with you on RA).
# Posted By Rob Brooks-Bilson | 1/21/08 2:28 PM

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