Though hardly a palace itself, the food served within Kamza Sushi Palace is surely worthy of one. The Pacific East Mall sushi house may have an often empty interior that feels sterile and overly modern, but its generally consistent quality, flavorful fish and signature Japanese dishes make up for any awkward ambiance.
It’s best to bring a friend or two when dining at Kamza. The sushi house’s big portions and diverse menu are most easily enjoyed and fully explored when the work can be shared — so make an event of a meal there.
A good place to start is with an order of the easily sharable seaweed salad. Kamza’s salad hits all the right notes of sesame and sweet — but for those who like food on the spicier side, ask for some hot chili powder to add a dash of flavor.
After a quick appetizer, it’s time to make some serious decisions. Order a number of different sushi rolls, pieces of sashimi, and other small bites, and try to mix up the kinds of fish in each piece to get the full array of flavors available. There’s a lot to pick from, so give the menu a good read through.
The prices of their sashimi — about $5 per order — are pretty standard, but the quality varies. The salmon was tender and juicy, but the unagi had a bit too much sauce on it and ended up being slimy.
Kamza, like any good sushi house, has a number creative specialty rolls that are worth exploring. The Zig Zag, which is like a common spider roll, save for the tangy, signature Kamza sauce on top, is worth a try. Beyond that, there is a surprising abundance of similar fried rolls, but the Rainbow, which has tasty red crab, avocado, and a variety of fish, is a good standard to break up the flavor palate of their specialty rolls.
There’s a lot to enjoy at this sushi house, and there’s no need to rush. A large Singha, a light Thai lager, is a good companion over the course of lengthy meal and is advisable to share for those who are driving afterwards.
The food of Kamza Sushi Palace, while it can be a little hit or miss, is decadent at its best. Take their sashimi boat, for example. An enormous platter with over 100 pieces of seafood — from tuna, to oysters, to shrimp — the dish is beautifully plated and could easily feed a large family. Just looking at the dish makes the mouth water.
Kamza Sushi Palace is good, and in another setting it could provide the great experience it strives for. Within the industrial, outdated confines of Pacific East Mall, Kamza works to make their space feel contemporary with flattop wood tables and bright white light bulbs, but it comes off as sterile and cold. With a few more wall hangings and personal touches, the place could really be a sushi palace. For now, it still offers a good meal.
Kamza Sushi Palace
3288 Pierce Street, Richmond
Tel. (510) 529-4546
Wednesday - Monday: Lunch: 9 am to 2:30 pm
Dinner: 4:30 pm to 9 pm
View their website here.
Photo: Shop Belmont Market