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Why so much SUSHI in Northampton??

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  • Vinny Clams Sep 28, 2002 09:59 AM

What is the story with all of the sushi in Northampton? In this town of 30,000 souls there are 6 (count 'em, SIX) japanese/sushi restaurants! And, there is yet another one scheduled to open above Fire and Water on Main Street soon to make it SEVEN!

I don't get it..is there something I don't know about the insatiable hunger for raw fish with 18-25 year olds?

In the meantime, we have no credible chinese restaurants (all are your basic kung pao chicken spots..) and we have no vietnamese, korean, portugese, spanish, french, latin, or seafood restaurants.

It's getting a little weird out here, chow-wise. Any thoughts?
-Vinny

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  1. I once spent three summers going to school in Northampton with a bunch who darned near lived on sushi. My impression was that Northampton is full of self-involved poseurs and that eating sushi kind of fits the image they like to project. When I went to a restaurant with my classmates I used to have to squelch a mad desire to order a baloney sandwich on Wonder Bread and a glass of red Kool-Aid. Sounds as if Northampton hasn't changed much.

    1 Reply
    1. re: N Tocus

      Ooo-kay...nice generalization, and constructive too -- thanks!!

      To the OP, I would say that Great Wall in Florence goes beyond kung pao chicken (order off the "other" menu). While not *in* Northampton, Go Hyang on Route 9 in Hadley is pretty good Korean.

      "French," I'm not sure really what that is anymore, but for bistro food, Circa and Green Street are good. And it's hard-pressed to find a Portuguese restaurant just about anywhere, although I believe there is something down near Chicopee.

      I am continually whining about the lack of a good seafood restaurant. That would indeed be nice to see. Re sushi, I pretty much only go to Osaka, although for delivery, in a pinch, Teapot is decent.

    2. Because sushi is the food of the gods.

      1. Are the 6 currently open places any good? I'm a huge sushi fan but haven't found a place that I "need" to revisit. I also haven't tried any of the sushi places in the Noho area either, so if there's a standout of the bunch let us know.

        My guess is that since restaurants are *such* risky ventures to begin with that people are going for a type of food that will draw a crowd and, hopefully, keep it. People who love sushi, eat it pretty often when they find a good place.

        Not everyone in NE is an adventurous eater and a Vietnamese, Portugese or even Spanish restaurant might seem, to financial backers, like a far bigger risk if you don't have a known market or customer base.

        1. Also many non-japanese asian restaurant owners will opt to open a sushi place, or offer sushi as part of the menu along with their native cuisine, because japanese food commands a higher price. people will drop 20+ on sushi without a thought, but getting them to pay more than $12 for chinese/thai/korean is tough.

          1. But there is Tibetan! NOT common in the area!

            Seriously, as a very regular visitor to visit my sister in town, I agree that there does seem to be a bit of a skew to things re sushi. Unlike others here, I have no good wisdom to impart as to why. But I must say that I usually eat very well in Noho, be it upscale Americano/Euro or more ethnically casual. And there is the greater area, with some good stuff on the way to and in Amherst (Route 9 corridor) for one.

            Heck, go to the International Store out on Route 9 (on your left soon after going over the bridge from Noho) and get something out of the huge frozen foods selection. I found a fabulous veggie gyoza brand, and they have everything from India to Cambodia in that place. My ramen-type noodle jones is being served by things from about five different countries. Really, that store is insane and that is a major compliment!

            As the original post was from 2002, I hope that Vinny found good luck. The Tibetan only opened last year, for one.

            1. Wow, can't believe yet another sushi place is coming to town.
              What I would do for Ethiopian or Vietnamese!
              Moshi Moshi and Osaka are your best bets for sushi.

              3 Replies
              1. re: caughtstars

                I admittedly failed to realize this was an old thread...so they might have been talking about Moshi Moshi, possibly?

                Vietnamese *would* be great, though!

                1. re: hollerhither

                  Hey, hollerhither! When you come out west to the Berkshires in mud season, enjoy your cider doughnuts at Bartlett's early in the day so you can go in the evening to Kim's Dragon, reopening after winter break sometime in March. Their spring rolls are fantastic, two to an order. The Shaken Beef (?) is great, the big family pancake thing ditto (and feeds plenty). Soups good also. Don't know how extensively Vietnamese it is (no Pottery Pot, for example) but the family really is from Vietnam, has been here for ages. Zero ambiance, takes a while becuz everything's cooked to order, enjoy a Tsing Tsao or something like that while you wait. On Route 20 going west from P'field and before you come to Hancock Shaker Village. For my part, when the snows at last are over (about 5 inches so far tonight and counting) we'll be off east to the Great Wall! NO Chinese to speak of here in the Berkshires. I can only shake my head sadly over this thread; I'd ADORE some more Asian out this way.

                  1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                    Awesome, thanks! I've been looking forward to making my way west. Ambiance is definitely not an issue when we're talking about good food, made to order. There is Vietnamese down in Springfield but otherwise I haven't found anything else along the 91 corridor, so this is great.

                    I hope Great Wall lives up to expectations. It's quirky, not a lot of ambiance, in a rundown strip mall off Florence Center, but everything is fresh, and the weekend dim sum, which varies from week to week, is abundant and tasty, as are the unique selections on the "other" menu (there are two, one is more American Chinese standards, the other is probably more authentic to a region in China). I bet I mentioned this in another thread, but they have a pork belly braised dish that's unlike anything I've ever had -- salty, earthy. Yum.

              2. In the name of diversity, I wish we could just keep Great Wall, Osaka or Moshimoshi, and Soo Ra, close the rest of the pan-Asian places that don't do any particular cuisine, and open places in their stead that do one particular cuisine and do it well.

                And in general, I think we have too many Asian restaurants here. I count 10 (Great Wall, Taipei and Tokyo, Zen, Teapot, Moshimoshi, Osaka, Thai Garden, Siam Square, Soo Ra, Hunan Gourmet). Far too much redundancy thanks to the pan-Asian thing most have going.

                2 Replies
                1. re: fame da lupo

                  Hunan Gourmet closed. So that's one down.

                  I really wanted to like Soo Ra, but it just doesn't hold up against Go Hyang. I'd rather make the drive over to Hadley.

                  1. re: hollerhither

                    I liked the bulgogi and the various fried appetizers (they manage to keep it non greasy, and the pasta housing is always thin, which I like) at Soo Ra. I've had some bland stuff there though, in particular the black bean sauce and a supposedly spicey seafood dish (I cant recall what it was). I do wish they'd just focus on Korean.