The times in the California roll are numbered. Do you really desire to eat a run-of-the-mill maki roll filled with flimsy strands of tasteless cucumber, dried-out imitation crab, and mushy avocado? Ordering one at any respectable sushi restaurants near me is like asking for buttered pasta with a four-star Italian restaurant.
Today, the American palate is more sophisticated than before, and for that reason, sushi’s popularity consistently soar. Ingredients once considered too hard to find are now commonplace at sushi restaurants from Manhattan to Minneapolis. Just one peek with the recent documentary Jiro Hopes for Sushi, which follows one of the most respected sushi masters, and it’s clear why diners love eating everything from raw clams to rice topped with precious caviar. Sushi is not merely healthy, it’s also the cuisine preferred by Hollywood celebrities. Our variety of seafood has never been better.
But it wasn’t always in this way, says Tim Zagat, who together with his wife, Nina, founded the Zagat Restaurant Survey during the 1980s. What was once considered exotic is already everyday fare for small children. Zagat included the ratings of 34 Japanese restaurants over the country in 1990, these days there are actually 221 in that category.
“The notion of eating raw fish? The majority of people thought that would be a fraternity prank,” says Zagat. “Now there’s a sushi bar on every corner.”
At Brushstroke in New York City, chef David Bouley collaborated with all the Tsuji Culinary Institute in Osaka, Japan, to produce tasting menus that let diners experience a variety of flavors. One moment you might take bites coming from a chirashi bowl, a mound of rice topped with shimmering components of sashimi, as well as the next you’ll dip a tender lobster tail into white miso sauce.
Our list of the most effective sushi restaurants includes a selection of options. In Atlanta, the popular spot Tomo serves simple Japanese snapper with shiso and a squeeze of lemon, or for those who aren’t purists, a well known spicy scallop roll is essential order. Another favorite of ours includes Urasawa in La, where dining experience is equal parts theater and art.
As the price can be steep to have several of the country’s best sushi, up to $500 for lunch, our list below is geared towards all budgets, with each experience worth the trip.
Tough to believe there is ever a period when mainstream America recoiled at the idea of ingesting raw fish. Today, while even heartland supermarket delis stock salmon rolls, informed diners belly around Japanese bars for omakase-not just from the best sushi restaurants in L.A. and best sushi restaurants in New York, but all over the country-putting themselves within their chef’s hands to enjoy an interactive, often open-ended feast. Where once date night might have meant getting cozy spanning a pepperoni pie (“It’s the best pizza in America,” he said because he wiped some cheese from his chin), today it might mean settling set for a night of non-stop, Edomae-style nigiri (emphasizing local species and warm vinegared rice) fueled by junmai daiginjo. If you’re especially lucky, it will probably be at one of those extraordinary shrines towards the art of Japanese seafood. Follow Time Out USA on Facebook; join time Out USA newsletter
Best sushi restaurants in America
Uchi/Uchiko, Austin, TX
Tyson Cole swears he didn’t set out to transform the Austin dining scene when he opened Uchi in the 1920s bungalow 12 years ago; he simply wanted the “creative freedom to acquire other people as dependent on Japanese food because i was.” But he did both, becoming the 1st American itamae to acquire a James Beard Award for the best Chef and opening a greater but no less warmly chic spinoff, Uchiko, in the process. In spite of the expansion, there’s no 85devxpky for pretension: for all his technical mastery and cutting-edge proclivities, Cole’s menus change often and range widely enough to appeal to novices along with connoisseurs, that can compare, say, three different kinds of sea urchin while their warier companions sample tempura-fried Brie alongside “clean, crisp, light” sakes and white wines.
Photograph: Courtesy Uchi/Erica Wilkins
Sushi Nakazawa, New York City
Last we saw Daisuke Nakazawa, he was toiling over egg custard as being the modest apprentice within the film Jiro Dreams of Sushi, humbled through the rigors of the 11-year stint underneath the world’s most distinguished sushi chef, Jiro Ono. The pupil has emerged as the teacher at the sleek West Village sushi bar. Whereas his master was stoic, Nakazawa can be a jokester who places a live squirming shrimp on the plate just for a laugh. But his pranks don’t undercut the seriousness of his nigiri, like pike mackerel, having a gentle brininess that gives way to unctuous maritime fat while you chew, and wild yellowtail from Hokkaido, with fatty tails that tantalizingly overhang rice so tenderly packed, it would fall to pieces if you investigated it funny. Occasionally, delicately flavored creatures like scallops or fluke are outstripped by pungent wasabi or yuzu. Although the meal at Sushi Nakazawa is sort of a wave, its gentle lulls rendering the crests all the more thrilling.
O Ya, Boston, MA
Though Boston was hardly without Japanese restaurants in 2007, it had never seen anything that can compare with the arrival of this rustic-industrial Leather District hideaway. From needlefish sashimi served using the deep-fried head and backbone to tomalley aioli-topped lobster-caviar nigiri, every last luxury presented by chef Tim Cushman was as exquisite since it was exotic (as were the beverage pairings his wife Nancy, as the city’s first sake sommelier, oversaw). And so they remain. At 17-20 courses, omakase at O Ya fetches a small fortune, but while you marvel towards you through striped horse mackerel in leche de tigre or perhaps the famous foie gras with chocolate-balsamic kabayaki and raisin-cocoa pulp, the tab will shrink as compared to the blissful memories being made.
Nodoguro, Portland, OR
Nodoguro is open Thursday through Sunday for lunch only, excepting the occasional Wednesday. There’s just one seating per evening down the chef’s counter, with room for 14 patrons at most of the. The “regular” yet ever-changing farm-to-fork Japanese menu-built around such whimsical themes as Twin Peaks (sample course for David Lynch devotees: “Cod inside the Dashi Percolator”)-runs 9 to 11 courses; on even-more-freewheeling http://locationsnearmenow.net/sushi-restaurants-near-me/, the quantity rises to just about 20. Just doing the math provides you with a feeling of how truly special itamae Ryan Roadhouse’s tiny yet mighty pop-up-turned-permanent sensation is. But only a taste of his sesame-pressed trout sashimi or uni-salmon roe hand rolls, coupled with premium sake or cool local boutique wines, can definitely drive the purpose home.
Photograph: Courtesy Nodoguro/Ilana Hamilton
Shuko, New York City
At the 20-seat sushi counter from rock-star chefs Jimmy Lau and Nick Kim-formerly of Neta-a cool $135 prompts an omakase (chef’s selection) of exceptionally made edomaezushi served in its purest form, each lightly lacquered with soy and nestled atop a slip of warm, loosely packed rice. Luscious, marbled toro, a usually late-in-the-game cut affectionately referred to as the kobe beef of your sea, boldly arrives first, before sweet Spanish mackerel with barely-there shreds of young ginger or sea bream dabbed with plummy ume shiso. The cocksure shuffling, though initially jarring, is actually a kick hiccup for your usual omakase beat, a winking reminder that, despite having the price hike, Shuko’s Lau and Kim haven’t completely shed their subtle sushi-dogma subversions.