Is sushi as American as apple pie? Not quite. But American sushi is a very different ball of rice than its traditional Japanese counterpart. In American restaurants, sushi chefs tend to use a more eclectic range of ingredients going way beyond fish: you won’t find the Philly Roll (cream cheese and smoked salmon), the Baja Roll (yellowtail, jalapeño peppers and mustard), or the Memphis roll (barbecued pork) on a Tokyo menu any time soon. The rice is also sweeter, and the individual portions, larger.
The good news is that there are some great sushi bars in the United States, where you can find both traditional Japanese pieces as well as pieces informed by the more fanciful American palate. But you have to know where to find them.
Sushi restaurant in New York
Bond Street Sushi – In trendy NoHo, you might expect flair to win out over substance, but Bond Street has both: a stylish sushi bar housed on the top floor of a townhouse where you can sample pieces made with exotic varieties of fish like amberjack and Japanese red snapper. American influences evince themselves subtly as fusion cuisine on the main menu: pan-seared foie gras with miso sauce, anybody? As you might expect, dining here will set you back a bit – but that’s why it’s a special occasion.
BONDST Restaurant – 6 Bond Street, New York, NY 10012, United States
(212) 777-2500 – bondstrestaurant.com
Sushi restaurant in Chicago
Blue Fin Sushi Bar Restaurant – Wicker Park – where you’ll find Blue Fin – is pretty far away from the ocean, which doubtless accounts for the more than occasional use of frozen fish in their menu. Plus this place is expensive. Nevertheless, if you’re jonesing for sushi in Chicago, it’s the place to go. You’ll find all your favorites along with house specialties like the Hot Night: shrimp tempura, spicy tuna and tempura crumbs, drizzled with a sweet, spicy sauce.
Blue Fin Sushi Bar – 1952 West North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622-1318, United States
(773) 394-7373 bluefinsushibar.com
Sushi restaurant in Los Angeles
Asanebo – Who would expect to find a world-class sushi restaurant in a Studio City strip mall? Asenebo uses only the finest and freshest ingredients in its surprisingly sophisticated menu – just one of the reasons why Angeleno gourmets have made it the new trendy place to grab lunch. (The other is its relatively affordable prices.) Sushi is only one part of the menu: you can also order such exotic delicacies as chopped sea eel, monkfish liver and giant clam.
Asanebo Corporation – 11941 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City, CA 91604-2607, United States
Sushi restaurant in San Francisco
Sebo – Hayes Valley is San Francisco’s best kept fine dining secret, and Sebo is a prime example of why. It’s a tiny place with minimalist décor, and it’s all about the food – an exquisite selection of seasonal raw fish. No wonder culinary superstar Anthony Bourdain showcased this restaurant on his No Reservations show. The mostly traditional Japanese menu is relatively simple and small, so you have to trust the sushi chef to take you where he wants you to go. Try the Striped shimaaji, the bluefin honmaguro or the "scallop ravioli” – a raw scallop stuffed with unagi and uni, topped with a slice of black truffle. And if the mention of “truffle” didn’t clue you in already, Sebo is going to set you back more than a few dollars.
Sebo – 517 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94102, United States(415) 864-2181