If you have been on every “best of” list like Boston’s O Ya restaurant, can things get any better? From being named the number one restaurant in the country by the New York Times to receiving accolades for being one of the world’s 10 best new restaurants by Food & Wine Magazine, the praise is well deserved. This cozy little gem serves up contemporary Japanese fare, including nigiri, sashimi and Wagyu beef. Don’t miss the chilled homemade soba noodles, which can be perfectly paired with some sake. Be sure to call ahead and make a reservation as this Leather District hot spot fills up easily and waits can be long at the intimately lit O Ya tavern, which is located in a former firehouse. Valet parking is available at the corner of South and East Streets in Les Zygomates.
Insider’s Tip: O Ya is expensive, with some entrees running up to $60, but nearly all diners leave happy, saying every bite was worth every penny. Visit oyarestaurantboston.com for more information.
In its first year Douzo Restaurant & Sushi was named “Boston’s Best Sushi” by the Improper Bostonian and has become a hot spot for sushi lovers ever since. Located in Back Bay, the restaurant offers an inventive twist on traditional sushi favorites. You will still find the usual suspects on the menu such as Tuna Tartar, Raw Oysters and Kobe Beef Carpaccio, but you can also uncover some surprises, including Monkfish Pate, Torched Style Yellowtail and an Eel Avocado Roll.
If you’re feeling a little daring, try the Omakase special, which is the chef’s choice from the sushi bar. Entrees include Lightly Battered Shrimp Tempura, Sirloin Steak with Black Pepper Sauce, Thinly Sliced Prime Rib in a Sukiyaki Sauce, Black Cod Misoyaki and Grilled Duck with Cranberry Teriyaki Sauce.
Douzo (which means “please come in”) offers its modern Japanese cuisine in a modern setting, with sleek white and dark contrasts to ceiling fixtures and walls and large tables for all the sushi plates. Douzo has a varied wine list, including a red, white or sake flight and a good array of cocktails like the Lychee Martini and a Tokyo Cosmo to get your night started right after dinner. Visit douzosushi.com for more information.
For a chic evening out, head to SEI – the Japanese-inspired hotspot known for its creative cocktails, unexpected sushi rolls and delicious Asian-fusion cuisine. With fresh whitewashed walls and ultra modern artistic touches, SEI sets the mood for the perfect city-chic dining experience.
As one of Michelle Obama’s favorite spots (so much so that she had SEI cater a White House gathering), it’s safe to say that SEI’s inventive cuisine is sure to please even the most prestigious politico’s palate. Pair a tangy Japanese Whisky Sour (egg white, fresh lemon, 5 spice-infused syrup) with a humor-infused roll or two – sushi favorites include the Fish & Chips roll (flounder, malt vinegar, French fries, wasabi tartar sauce) or the Let Us Roll (romaine, carrots, Caesar dressing). For those looking for a more substantial dish, try the Mini Kobe Sliders with tomato jam and tempura onion rings. For a sweet finish, dig into some Miso Orange Bread Pudding with soy ice cream.
The city has finally introduced its first modern Japanese brasserie known as Basho. Located near Fenway Park, Basho is the latest from Jack Huang, owner of the popular Douzo in the Back Bay. The restaurant offers an innovative interpretation of modern Japanese cuisine using Western styles, methods and ingredients with signature dishes, like flavored Sushi and Sashimi (traditional Japanese flavors added directly to the seafood), lobster miso bouillabaisse and foie gras teriyaki.
Basho (Japanese for “a place where things happen”) also offers a variety of cocktails – think house infusions and homemade simple syrups using fresh, local herbs- along with traditional Japanese sake, wine and beer. The interior boasts soaring ceilings with a minimalist vibe set in a relaxed, yet chic scene. If you are feeling social, grab a seat at one of the communal tables, or for more private dining there are intimate corners. Basho also has an outdoor patio with retractable awnings as well as a sushi bar, raw bar and sleek, wraparound liquor bar. Visit bashosushi.com for more information.
Attention, fishheads! It may be land-locked, but Sushi Den can swim with the best of ’em. That’s because owners Yasu and Toshi Kizaki have been in the business for 25 years and counting, importing seafood from Japan to the United States and turning out some of the best nigiri, sashimi, and maki in town.
The ambiance is chic yet casual, luring dates and families alike—a lot of them: since reservations are only accepted for parties of five or more on weeknights, the crowd is constantly spilling out on to the sidewalk, day and night, enduring 90-minute waits for a taste of the action. But when you finally get in, your every fish wish will be granted, from all the usual suspects like maguro and unagi to the excellent Rocky Mountain Roll with smoked trout and the famous broiled miso cod.
There are only two contenders for Denver’s best sushi—and they’re polar opposites. One is Sushi Den, a dark and rollicking madhouse on Old South Pearl. The other is Sushi Sasa. Opened by former Sushi Den employee Wayne Conwell just north of downtown, it’s spare and serene, all pale hues and hushed conversations—the ideal setting for precise, pristine pieces of toro, needlefish, Spanish mackerel, and more. But then, that’s to be expected: order omakase, and you’ll be treated to all sorts of stunning surprises from the kitchen as well—think sea bass in black bean sauce and wasabi cheesecake.
It’s those contemporary global influences that so distinguish Sushi Sasa and compel its clientele of sophisticates to crowd in constantly; reservations are strongly recommended.
Someone forgot to tell the proprietors of Yoshi’s that sushi and jazz are cultural opposites. Of course its founder and namesake, Yoshie Akiba, is also a fascinating mix. Orphaned in Japan during WWII, Yoshie came to Berkeley as a student and opened Yoshi’s with her two best friends.
Thirty years later, in its new $10 million setting in the Fillmore District (the “Harlem of the West”), Yoshi’s has earned a reputation as one of the world’s finest jazz venues featuring jazz legends like Dizzy Gillespie, Diana Krall, Max Roach, and Harry Connick Jr.
Yoshi’s is also an award-winning restaurant, with Chef Shotaro Kamio presenting modern sushi that he describes as “seasonal, simple, surprise.” You can make dinner reservations in the separate restaurant before the show or enjoy small tapas-style sushi and sake cocktails in the club. Prices are higher than average, but you’ll appreciate that Yoshi’s serves fresh and thoughtful Japanese cuisine rather than greasy quesadillas and mozzarella sticks.
Tickets range from $13 – $100 depending on the performer, and the club seats 420 in its warmly lit acoustic cavern. The custom sound system, complete with a resident Steinway grand piano, is clear and allows artists to truly be the center of attention. So feel free to jazz it up with flapper outfits and tailcoats.
Uni Sashimi Bar, located inside The Eliot Hotel and adjacent to the famed Clio restaurant of chef/owner Ken Oringer, offers some of the best sushi in town. At this tiny Back Bay bar which opened in 2002, you will see sushi chefs hard at work preparing rolls and sashimi. Sip on a Japanese scorpion bowl for two or their popular spicy Enter the Dragon cocktail, while noshing on sushi flown in from around the world. The menu here changes daily, but you can typically find Scottish salmon, Japanese fish and yellowfin tuna. Since the restaurant is next to Clio, you can also order off its Asian-inspired dessert menu, which includes miso dark chocolate cremeux, rhubarb shortcakes and a sweet mascarpone beignet. Check out the website at unisashimibar.com.
Insider Tip: Don’t miss the popular all-you-can-eat Maki Mondays for $32 and four-course sake bomb Tuesdays for $35.
Oh. My. God. Almost always the three words uttered by anyone trying their first White Dragon roll at Coast Sushi in Wicker Park or now, it’s newer location in the South Loop. The roll is so good it feels like it should be illegal. Order it as your starter roll and you can kiss goodbye trying anything else on the menu – you’ll just keep ordering more White Dragons until you can barely get yourself out of the door.
Flattering lighting and a cozy feel, Coast masters the Japanese chic of interior design, but who really notices when the food is so good? As for drinks, it’s BYOB so indulge in as much or as little as you want, you won’t feel it when the bill comes.
Aside from the White Dragon, Coast features all the standard rolls, sashimi and nigiri, plenty of entrees, salads and all that jazz. But, if you don’t order sushi, you’re making a mistake. As for the White Dragon – what is it that causes it to create an instantaneous reaction of pure and utter bliss? The ingredients admitted are: shrimp tempura, wasabi tobiko, cream cheese, avocado, scallion spicy sauce, wasabi dessing, eel sauce and tempura crumbs — and a little bit of Oh. My. God.
Strategically located off the ultra-luxurious lobby of Hotel Crescent Court, and smack in the heart of Uptown, sits one of Dallas’ sexiest Japanese hotspots. But this isn’t your average sushi joint; this is Nobu Dallas.
A testament to the parking lot full of Bentleys, Maseratis, and Porsches outside, Nobu is prone to frequent visits from VIP guests of the hotel, as well as repeat offenders of pretty much any Dallas sports team from the Cowboys to Mavericks to Stars. And speaking of stars, A-list celebrities and Dallas elite have also been known to frequent their favorite tables, servers, and dishes right here at good ol’ Nobu Dallas.
Nobu offers something delicious for every palate- even those who tend to run from raw fish. Nobu also offers a variety of hearty fare; most notably the Wagyu beef (think Kobe or Washu), their very famous Black Cod with miso glaze, or Lobster Tempura for those with bigger appetites. And just say Omakase! if you have no idea what to order to let your knowledgable server map out your meal. Despite the reputation of most Japanese restaurants, we would suggest saving room for the desserts here.
This Thai/Japanese restaurant certainly doesn’t suffer for its unconventional location in the heart of Little Havana. With a chic interior- stark white tables against crimson walls- and a buzzing, hip clientele, Mr. Yum is known for providing great service and delicious food. Every meal begins with a fancy amuse bouche and highlights include a special Pad Thai, Panang Curry and an incredible, creative sushi bar that’s as beautiful to look at as it is to eat.
Satisfy sushi cravings at this breakthrough contemporary Japanese restaurant. Home to the famous square sushi, Chefs Gunawan Wibisono and Sam Ho are masters of flavorful and innovative fare and Zagat swears by its roll specials and bento boxes. The intimate setting makes this eating enclave one of downtown Philadelphia’s foodie destinations.
Executive chef Rodelio Aglibot brings a tasty twist to traditional dishes from Japan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and other Southeast Asian islands. Sunda is a creation of Billy Dec, Brad Young, and Arturo Gomez: the trio behind Chicago hot spots Rockit Bar & Grill and The Underground. And Executive Chef Rodelio Aglibot brings an extensive background in Asian cuisine and culture, recognized by several media outlets as the “Food Buddha.” With cuisine that is accessible, comfortable and fresh, you’re bound to rub your belly after a meal at Sunda.
Modern Appealing Clothing offers an unexpected quality of high fashion clothing. The MAC shop has exposed brick, high ceilings, and funhouse mirrors offered by the sister-brother-mother team of owners. Handsome English-cut suits for men and spartan dresses for women hang with a mix of local and international modern jewelry. Best known as a source for clothing from Belgian designers like Dries van Noten and Martin Marjiela, they also carry an extensive sampling of Japanese designers.
Tucked in the Highland Area lies a restaurant that could only be described as the perfect juxtaposition between Denver’s art district and the Japenese Orient. View local modern art while the masters prepare your meal. Sushi Hai uses only the freshest ingredients to deliver the top-notch sushi to satisfy your cravings. Sip on hot sake or premium saketinis with friends in the Hai Bar. The atmosphere is perfect for an intimate evening.
A trendy sushi spot where the crowd is fresh and the fish, flown in daily, is fresher. The upstairs sake lounge is always buzzing with guests downing fruity cocktails like the signature Red One Martini. From akami (tuna) to salmon, this is the place for Japanese food that stands out.
The Kitano New York offers a Japanese tradition of exceptional personal service and simple elegance to discerning travelers from around the world. If here on business, you’ll appreciate the close proximity to the major business and banking centers. On vacation? Located in Murray Hill, the hotel is within walking distance of the Chrysler Building, the New York Public Library, the Empire State Building, Fifth Avenue shopping, the United Nations, Broadway theaters and Times Square.