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Aug 28, 2006 07:05 PM

Southside Richmond Sushi Review

I am an absolute fanatic about sushi with standards that are nearly impossible to reach in Richmond, but I think I have found a real gem on the Southside. It is called Soya and it is located in the strip mall across from the Commonwealth Theaters at the intersection of Rt 288 and Hull Street. The owner is an experienced sushi chef who previously ran a place with partners in Tidewaters and has staked out his own place. He is very proud of his little place and has proved to be very careful in his selection of fish. He buys mostly whole fish or loins and sometimes doesn't offer well-known fish if he isn't pleased with the quality he can get. When he gets in Giant Clam or other specials on the board, go out of your way to try them. The tuna tartare is a particular speciality, with an outstanding sesame oil flavor that livens up this standard. The shumai are also particularly good. Grab a seat at the bar and ask him to choose a roll for you. We've probably been there 20 times and I haven't had the same one twice. Obviously, if you've had sushi in a major city, you've probably had a wider selection -- but I don't think you will find more carefully selected or prepared sushi in town. Oh yeah, what he calls "White Tuna" to try to sell the less adventurous folks is actually Black Marlin, usually caught of the Carolina coast. It is good stuff. If you come in on a Friday, we'll probably see you at the bar!

In the interest of completeness, we also tried Wasabi (my second choice), Yamato (not suggested) and Kabuto (a health code violation waiting to happen). Kabuto used to be good, two sushi chefs ago. It is now stunningly bad.

My whole sushi search was undertaken after I had my third or fourth subpar experience at Hana Zushi. I am still a big fan of Sticky Rice, but I don't really consider what they do to be sushi, exactly. More like fusion or Nobu Lite.

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  1. Is he open for lunch? I work near Brandermill and would love some good sushi for lunch some days.

    1. I believe that he is. You could call up at 622-9887 and confirm. I'm never in the area at lunchtime.

      1. Thanks for telling me what white tuna is...I had no idea and waitress had said it was a different cut as opposed to a different type of tuna. I was very impressed when I ate lunch at Soya a few months ago and loved the silkiness of the white tuna. Unfortunately I am unable to eat sushi for 6 more painful months.

        1. The waitress is not the highlight of the place. The waiter who stands at the podium most of the time is pretty helpful. Your best bet (at all sushi places, actually) is to sit at the bar and talk to the chef directly. We became "regulars" in two visits and get treats from K.C. all the time now.

          1 Reply
          1. re: SouthernGent

            I just thought I was going crazy, the food is great but the waitress is awful. I order take out just so I don't have to tip her.

          2. I'm afraid I have to withdraw my recommendation of this spot. They changed owners a while back, but maintained most of the same staff and the quality remained pretty high. Recently, they have also changed sushi chefs and I am no longer able to endorse this sushi option. I guess I'll have to put Ichiban at the top of my list for RIchmond right now, although its not terribly special. I'm going to try the newish Moshi Moshi tonight, maybe that will fit the bill.