Dozo is a somewhat (my knowledge of Japanese tradition is quite limited lol) traditional Japanese restaurant in the heart of Soho. There is a Dozo restaurant in South Kensington, but I’ve never been, and probably never will, because Soho is a perfect location for me. Shiima found this restaurant, and took me along as a surprise, and I definitely was surprised, as I certainly wouldn’t have been expecting her to so enthusiastically search for a sushi restaurant because she doesn’t eat fish. But, that’s my Shiima.
The restaurant’s sitting is peculiar, and this is where the traditional comes in, in that it seems like you are sat on the floor, but there is space underneath the seemingly low table for your legs; so you are sat on ground level but the floor underneath the table is lowered giving you perfect leg room. This I think is really cool and unique to Dozo. Beyond this, it has all the other staples of a Japanese restaurant, but there is no sitting by the sushi bar. There are two floors though, so there is mostly enough seating. The service is err … a tad mixed. Depending on the day, whoever greets you when you arrive can be very polite or slightly curt, although that only happens when it’s busy. Also, food service can be sometimes brisk and others times tardy, but I’m easy, Shiima too, unless they bring her food really late lol.
The menu is quite substantial with every subcategory you’d expect in a quality Japanese restaurant, and it has pictures of most of the dishes, which helps you choose and also makes you salivate. We’ve been to Dozo about 6-7 times now in the past couple years, and in that time Shiima and I have tried every dish that interests us on the menu, which has led to our now usual order.
Shiima orders Edamames and Vegetable Gyoza for starters, and then the Tori Negima Yaki (Grilled Chicken skewers) and the Tori (chicken) Teriyaki and Vegetable Tempura bento box for her main. Edamames are edemames, you could have them spicy or with a bit of salt, which is how we have them, and we always enjoy them. The vegetable gyoza is Shiima’s favourite vegetable gyoza, which is something, because the vegetable gyoza is a staple Shiima order. The pastry isn’t at all oily and it’s light, but the star is the delicious filling. The Tori Negima isn’t all that spicy, and it has some sweet undertones but it doesn’t quite reach the teriyaki level. Shiima always picks out the spring onions; Shiima don’t do Spring onions lol. The bento box is perfect for Shiima (and me lol) because it comes with a good portion of steamed rice, vegetable tempura, and chicken teriyaki, which she never finishes and I’m always happy to finish. The Vegetable tempura is hit or miss for Shiima, as she only particularly likes the peppers and Sweet potato tempuras. The chicken teriyaki she likes, isn’t overly excited with it, but she enjoys it with the rice. I, on the other hand, really like the chicken teriyaki, although it can be quite sweet.
For my starter, I order four varieties (Otoro, Salmon, Yellowtail and Scallop) of the aburi sushi chef special, which is seared nigiri with special seasoning. For my main, I order the Unagi Kabayaki (grilled eel), and usually order the Buta (pork) Yaki, but they didn’t have it last time so I ordered for the beef skewer after it was recommended to me. The Aburi Sushi is simply great. It’s the best seared nigiri I’ve ever had and that’s what keeps me coming back to Dozo. I highly recommend all the varieties, although I stay away from the beef – I always try to limit eating beef. The Buta Yaki is usually really good, a good amount of spice and the pork is tender, but I didn’t really enjoy the beef skewer, I did want to, but I didn’t. Now for the grilled eel, which is amazing, but I am sure it is an acquired taste so I wont recommend for everyone, but if you are into eel or other “exotic” fish, go for it because this is the best eel dish I’ve had. It is a tad sweet, owing to the glaze, but it’s delicious.
I’d also recommend the volcano maki roll, and the tiger maki roll, but I don’t order them because as Shiima doesn’t eat fish, I’ll have to eat all 8 pieces, which doesn’t leave room for the dishes I love. Other dishes we’ve enjoyed and would recommend are the Hamachi tartar, the scallop capaccio, the grilled lamb chops, and the Salmon teriyaki.
Dozo is ideal for foodies, that being a large group of foodies or a date with a foodie. It’s also good for lunch, owing to the bento boxes. In my estimation, the food is the selling point here, and maybe the cool seating. In terms of price, Dozo varies, if you’re there for a bento box it isn’t expensive, but if you want to go a la carte, especially with the sushi, it will get quite pricey.
Dress Code: Casual
Amen’s Star Dish: Salmon Aburi Sushi
Shiima’s Star Dish: Vegetable Gyoza
Price: £35-£40 each
Rating: 4.1 out of 5
Dozo Sushi, Soho
32 Old Compton Street
Tel: 0207 434 3219
Call to book a table.