Cucumber Sashimi and King Maki from Baba Sushi on Park Avenue in Worcester, MA

When the name Baba Sushi was mentioned, it was kind of like the Loch Ness monster… or a unicorn. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about the food, ambiance and décor.

I was excited, yet overwhelmed, while perusing the lengthy menu for the first time. There are so many sushi rolls to choose from, where does one even start? It soon became clear that I needed to order one item outside my comfort zone and one familiar item.

I ordered the Cucumber Sashimi ($16) and the King Maki ($16).

The cucumber sashimi includes shiro maguro, tuna, salmon, and king crab rolled in a hand-sliced cucumber wrap topped with mango salsa sauce and black caviar. This was the roll that I was not so comfortable ordering.

I am not a fan of raw cucumber but I figured it might go well with the roll’s other ingredients. Unfortunately, for me, the cucumber taste was at the very forefront of each bite.

The crunchiness and the tang were very present. The mango salsa did give the dish a needed sweetness. The black caviar was salty but the flavor was almost lost among the other ingredients.

The King Maki on the other hand was a textural dream. The roll was spicy Alaskan king crab and avocado in a tempura-style soy wrap topped with eel sauce. The tempura on the wrap was light and crunchy. It didn’t taste like it was overly deep-fried.

The king crab was tender and the avocado added creaminess to every bite. The eel sauce was able to soften the texture ever so slightly. I could have eaten two or three more of these rolls.

Our server, Brad, who waited on us throughout the evening, was very personable as well as prepared. He was knowledgeable of the extensive food and drink menus. And he was able to explain dishes in a way that was both enticing and informative.

He was always in the area to accommodate our two tables of eight. By doing this, Brad made our evening very enjoyable.

Going out to dinner should be special. The staff should not be the deciding factor for whether or not you would return. Sadly, many times that is the case. Today was not one of those times.

With the hype behind Baba Sushi being built up in my mind for so long, I was hoping for the sushi, service, atmosphere and everything to be out of this world. With such high expectations, it is understandable that I would be slightly disappointed. The sushi was delicious and the experience was nice. It’s probably some of the best that you can find west of Boston.

I would not have guessed that such a creative menu could be found in a small converted house on Park Ave. With countless sushi creations on the menu left for me to try, I would love to return for a follow-up visit. I bet once I find a handful of sushi rolls I thoroughly enjoy, I will become a regular.