WHY PIRANHA: Sake-fueled revelry at ear-deafening decibels welcomed my first visit to Piranha. Yes, even during a weekday lunch, this stylish Sundance Square sushi bar was partying like it was 5 o’clock somewhere and the vibe was contagious. Sushi bars usually fall into two distinct categories: The first are Zen-like and somber, treating sushi with a reverence usually reserved for deities; and then there are places like Piranha, where they like to add a little rock with their sushi rolls. Piranha’s rolls with silly names like Dr. Fran, Love at First Sight, and Forget About It can be exercises in palate-asaulting excess. But owners/chefs Tommy Le and Kenzo Tran show a deft touch. Sashimi purists will delight in the classics like hamachi, eel, and red snapper. The salmon skin hand roll was as much an artistic statement as it was tasty. But at Piranha, the rolls rightfully steal the spotlight, towing the line between refined taste and delicious decadence.
WHAT TO EAT: Grab a few seats at the sushi bar which anchors the sleek dining room and start with an order of La La’s jalapeño poppers. Piranha takes the ubiquitous appetizer to new heights with a light, crunchy tempura batter and wasabi cream. A brisk octopus salad with bits of chewy conch and salmon ceviche with jalapeño, cilantro, and mango both provided cool relief to the aforementioned fiery poppers.
Now for the rolls. You’ll be tempted to order something familiar like the volcano roll with its creamy, spicy crawfish topping. And Piranha’s is a fine interpretation. But be daring. Go for the unknown. The Sexy roll was truth in advertising: aggressive and sultry with coconut tempura shrimp topped with avocado, crawfish, mango, and ginger cream. Vibrant masago roe and scallions topped the Dr. Fran roll, plump with shrimp, eel, and cream cheese. A softer, cooler option was the Vietnamese summer roll: salmon, tuna, crab, and mango wrapped in delicate rice paper.
For squeamish business colleagues, Piranha offers several lunch entrées that are familiar but no less delicious. Salmon teriyaki and pad thai with grilled shrimp were as satisfying as ever, as was the ginger beef with sweet potato and asparagus tempura. Its bold flavors seemed in step with the boisterous revelers who make Piranha a bacchanalian delight. You might not be able to talk much business, but the contracts will still get signed. Sake stained, perhaps, but signed.
PIRANHA KILLER SUSHI
335 West 3rd St.,Fort Worth 817-348-0200
THE FOOD: Sushi and signature rolls
THE COST: Average lunch entrée price $11
WHO’S THERE: C&W star Pat Green, FW Mayor Michael Moncrief
FULL BAR: Yes
THE POWER TABLE: Anywhere at the sushi bar, which anchors the middle of the dining room.