The character-filled venue was one of the first omakase-style sushi bars in town. The raw cement walls are adorned with illustrations while the low wooden ceiling gives the impression of a gabled roof. The food focuses firmly on sushi, which is served in rounds (mostly on the hour), with diners at the counter's six seats forced to eat with their hands. Prices for 10-15 piece sets depend on market rates.
Sousaku says a lot about Bangkok’s Japanese restaurant scene. One of the owners of the trendy noodle shop Tiew Hur, Chati Vinotai, decided to make this his dream omakase-style bar, where the chef decides your dinner. Chati was even hoping to introduce Thais to the full experience of eating sushi by even planning on banning chopsticks at the bar. His dream was not to be. The place is so popular that walk-ins are told to wait for a phone call in 30 minutes, which never comes. On our last visit, once seated it took over 45 minutes for the first dish to arrive, with subsequent dishes taking 10-15 minutes each. Disappointingly, there was no omakase going on either—it’s been put on hold due the crowds swarming the place, Chati told us. What is going on is three Thai chefs struggling to crank out plate after plate of mixed sushi and rolls, and watching them deal with this feeding frenzy is not very appetizing: passing around boxes of frozen scallops, stuffing balls of rice into their mouths to sustain themselves through it all, dividing labor (you make the sushi, I’ll blow-torch them) to increase efficiency. So why is Sousaku too popular for its own good? Because instead of raising the bar for sushi it ends up delivering exactly what Bangkok’s yuppies want: cheap prices and decent produce. It’s in the sweet spot, as opposed to the top tier. Once you revise your expectations to reflect that, it is a solid proposition. The Sousaku Sashimi Grand is a mere B1,1,50 for 16 massive chunks of fish and a little cup of salmon roe. You’d also do well do order the Aburi Signature (B699), just like everyone else in the restaurant. With lightly blow-torched salmon, fatty tuna, mackerel and eel, it’s a rich and flavorful experience. Weirdly, the beef set isn’t nearly as umami, and while B349 for six pieces makes it ridiculously cheap, the tough, bland, locally-sourced Ko Khun beef is also a far cry from its Japanese competition. Sousaku is a pocket-friendly (sake starts from B180 for 200ml and umeshu from B180) and happening spot in a neighborhood known for being more style than substance, it delivers just the opposite—but it’s not quite the Tokyo dream we were sold when it first opened.