If you weren't there, you missed out. More than 100 people attended Valentino's all-you-can-eat Summer Sashimi event last Thursday night, an extravaganza that included sashimi, more sashimi, and a bottomless selection of four wines -- a Riesling, a Chardonnay, a Sauvignon Blanc, and a Pinot Grigio -- for just $25.
For the hour-and-a-half-long event, Valentino opened up the entire main dining room and private wine room for attendees. Two stations were set up buffet-style, where patrons could pile their plates with as much sashimi as they pleased. Patronage was a mix of different generations, some business people, some young enough to be students.
Initially, people were timid, selecting one piece each of every fish selection. As the evening wore on, however, the timidity wore off completely, and people were taking several pieces at a time before returning to their table. The kitchen kept up well with the demand. No sooner had a plate been taken away than a new one, teeming with slices upon slices of fish, would appear.
Each of the sashimi platters was different, and the kitchen mixed things up for presentation and also variety. There was ahi tuna with a lemon aoili, hamachi with a spicy aoili, escolar with passionfruit, tuna tartare, salmon with creme aoili, and much more. I really enjoyed the escolar with passionfruit and the salmon with creme aoili, the passionfruit and escolar an unexpected yet pleasing combination.
The fish was fresh and plentiful. While there was a bit of a traffic jam early on while people lined up to get their fish, there was plenty of sashimi to go around, and by the time the event ended at 7 p.m., people could be seen sitting back and enjoying their wines.
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I particularly enjoyed the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand that they poured. The bouquet was beautiful on the nose, grassy, floral and tropical, and the taste on the tongue was crisp and fruity. It was just a lovely wine to pair with sashimi or to drink by itself.
We lingered well after the event was complete, and it was only as I was leaving that I noticed the new Happy Hour placards on the bar, advertising four crudo and wine pairings for just $14. Essentially the same menu that had been served for the Summer Sashimi event, the crudo/sashimi pairing is available Mondays through Fridays in the Vin Bar from 4 to 7 p.m. It may not be an all-you-can-eat experience, but you can still try their wines and sashimi for a steal of a deal.