There are sushi bars and then there are sushi bars. Little Lilly is the later. Lilly’s is running under an old-school philosophy – fish, raw, on a plate speaks for itself. I’m on board with that philosophy. Some newer sushi places have stopped short of adding rhinestone tiaras and sparklers to sushi but they still smother rolls in sickly sweet mayo sauces and misguided presentation as marketing gimmicks to distract from lower quality ingredients.
Lilly’s came as a recommendation from the Marketing Goddess, a good friend and fellow foodie in Dallas. I’m normally on the giving end of restaurant recommendations but Marketing Goddess and I have similar tastes and expectations, so off I went.
Lilly is the owner’s daughter. And the Lilly Roll featured under house specialties is a vegetarian roll created for Lilly since she is allergic to all seafood. If you picked up on the personal touch in those two facts, get ready to feel it up close and in real-time when you take a seat.
Minimalist but well-appointed decor. Small, 6 seats at the bar, 20 seats otherwise. No club music. The patrons seem to be the conservative, well-heeled variety, more concerned with quality than price. Lilly’s seems more the place for conversation, good friends and lingering.
Great. Sushi chef was deeply knowledgeable about the offerings and very good at matching personal tastes to whats on the menu. I’m not usually a fan of salmon nigiri but he highly recommended the wild New Zealand Salmon, claiming he had not tasted anything quite so fresh and flavourful in a long time. He was right.
Litmus Test: For virgin sushi restaurants I have a litmus test of Yellowtail and Fresh Eel nigiri. If those don’t pass, I won’t order anything else and usually, I won’t return. Both passed with exceptional marks.
Salmon Nigiri: Chef mentioned the wild New Zealand salmon was some of the best he had tried. While I’m usually not a fan of salmon nigiri, I had to agree with him, it was stellar!
Hawaii Roll: Since chef was spot on with the salmon nigiri suggestion I asked him to pick out a roll, something offbeat, something I could not not find elsewhere. He proudly made me a Hawaii roll which is tuna & avocado on the in, escolar on the out, topped with a small amount of light sauce made from lime juice and sriracha. An odd taste combination on paper but the flavours were truly a fantastic experience; lime, like lemon,enhancing the fish, sriracha sneaking in and lingering after the fish flavours dissipated.
Lilly is on the high side, however the quality is likewise high. Here, I believe you are getting what pay for. 3 nigiri (2pcs each), 1 roll – $38.
Lunch: 10 August 2013
Little Lilly Sushi | 6100 Camp Bowie | Fort Worth, TX 76116