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Best Sushi/Sashimi in Minneapolis/St. Paul?

Any suggestions for great places to get sushi/sashimi in the cities? I'm not an expert by any means but I'd love to find a few places where I could have some of the good stuff and learn more without feeling like an idiot for not knowing it all already. Oh, and a range of prices would be good...

Any recommendations?

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  1. This comes up fairly often as you might imagine. Origami and Midori's Floating World come up a lot. Not sure about prices.

    1. Sushi Tango was very good last time I was there. Located in Uptown. Moderate consumption cost me about $15.00/ person, not including drinks or tip. Great to sit at the bar, the bartenders are great help in selection.

      1. I don't have much time to answer this post as we're heading out to our honeymoon in Thailand in just a few hours :) but sushi is one of my passions and I believe we've tried every place in the Twin Cities metro. Here are a few highlights:

        Midori's - Definitely the freshest tasting sushi around. I also like that they go for substance over style, something that can't be said for many of the MSP sushi restaurants. I've heard people complain more and more recently about the service.

        Bagu - We've really been enjoying our new neighborhood sushi spot at 48th and Chicago. The quality is consistant, staff is friendly and they're willing to talk you through/modify any of their offerings.

        Sakura - We don't make it to St. Paul much but when looking for fancier yet still good sushi we go here.

        Origami - Service at the sushi bar redeems this restaurant. Don't even bother with getting a table, the staff is pretty incompetent.

        Nami - Your better option for swanky downtown sushi.

        We've had ho hum experiences at Fuji Ya, Sushi Tango, Tiger Sushi and Wasabi, and an absolutely terrible experience at Kikugawa. We enjoyed Saji Ya in St. Paul the first time we went but then went back last month and the waitress made several errors with our order and the sushi was not extremely impressive.

        I'm sure I'm missing places but those are the big ones I can think of. I'd love to hear what others think!

        2 Replies
        1. re: katebauer

          I noticed Midori doesn't get a lot of conversation anymore. In any case, my wife convinced me to go there for lunch today. Food was okay, but the service was appalling.

          We stood in the very small dining area for at least 5 minutes before the chef asked a waitress to come by. She wiped the table, left it very wet, than decided to put our napkins down on the wet surface. My wife had the good sense to use the napkin to wipe it dry. The waitress just stood there and watched. I was amazed that paying customers would be treated this way.

          There were more than a few slip ups with the order. Incredibly, it took a full 45 minutes from the time we placed the order until it arrived. That is, the salad arrived. Then everything came at once, except we were told that they were out of miso soup. (Note that this was 45 minutes after we placed order.) There was no offer made to substitute, no apology, no offer to reduce the check.

          By then, I probably would have eaten anything. The sushi was only fair, not as fresh as Origami or Fuji Ya. The tempura was well done - not greasy at all. Price was what you expected (assuming they had miso soup).

          I can't imagine ever going there again.

          Midori's Floating World Cafe
          2629 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55406

          Fuji Ya
          600 W Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55408

          1. re: discus

            That's unfortunate. I like Midori's sushi a lot, but the service can be glacial. I treat it a little different when it comes to speed of service as it's a mom and pop place with a very small staff. That said, the wait staff should still be proficient at their tasks.

            Their Unagi nigiri is the best bite of sushi I've had so far and I'll put up with quite a bit to get it.

        2. KB - congrats! & have a wonderful trip!

          Origami - I won't go back there ever - same issues as noted above. zero stars for service and the food didn't make up for it at all - it was average.

          Saji Ya - I've had one good meal there and many not so good ones - not recommended either.

          Sakura - best quality for this side of the river - however, I've heard from a longtime sakura fan that their service has been spotty as well!

          1. My experiences ...

            Origami -- best we've had in the Twin Cities. A large variety of traditional and wacky nigiri and rolls. A good non-sushi menu as well. I'm curious what problems people have had with service. We've always found it to be friendly and competent, but we aren't particularly challenging diners.

            Nami -- great room. Overpriced. Sushi was fine; non-sushi dishes we tried were offputtingly bad. We only went once and have no desire to return.

            Sushi Tango -- good sushi, seemed a bit pricy to me.

            Fuji-Ya -- my second choice, after Origami. Very good sushi, interesting menu. This place can be a zoo on weekend nights.

            Ba Gu -- takeout sushi was inexpensive, OK in quality, not great. We haven't dined in yet.

            Wasabi -- Metal chopsticks are definitely form over function. I haven't tried the sushi yet. Had a lunch tempura special which was cheap but left me hungry.

            1. Do you know whether many people at these restaurants speak Japanese? My fiance is fluent in Japanese and I think it would be fun to go places where he could talk to the waiters and owners.

              I know that they speak Japanese at Midori's. What about other places?

              4 Replies
              1. re: Reddyrat

                The elder sushi chef at Nami is from Japan. I forget his name.

                1. re: Reddyrat

                  Many of the employees at Kikugawa speak Japanese.

                  1. re: Reddyrat

                    I'm thinking most of the employees at Sakura speak Japanese.

                  2. I am pretty much in the same camp as Jordan. In Minneapolis I think the #1 option is Origami. I strongly recommend sitting at the sushi bar there. I think you get better quality fish (my opinion is it is the best fish in town). For a splurge, do the omikase and the sushi chefs will prepare a meal for you of mostly stuff that is not on the menu. You may want to specify a price you are willing to pay for the tasting menu upfront. I would also put Fuji Ya #2. Again I think it is stronger when you sit at the sushi bar. On a good night I would put their sushi up there with anywhere else in town. For the freshest stuff ask what the daily specials are. They do a Happy Hour on Sunday nights when you can get pretty good deals. My favorite in St. Paul is Sakura. Their sushi is very good. But what I really think makes them stand out is going there for Japanese tapas -- they have an extensive list of small plates many of which are excellent. I would put Sushi Tango and Anemoni a notch below these other three and they tend to be more expensive. I used to love Midori's, but have been disappointed my last couple trips there. Again I will agree with Jordan on his assessment of Nami.

                    1. THE BEST MEAL, PERIOD, that I've had in the TCs, sushi or otherwise, was a Friday nite @ Origami where we dropped all pretense and simply said "we have $200 to spend (5 people) on sushi...impress us." The Japanase term for this is "Omakase" which loosely translates as "I trust the chef". If your dining companions are fussy, this probably won't work, but if they can go with the flow, you will be AMAZED @ what this place can turn out. I generally agree that sitting @ the sushi bar in most of these places does give you greater likelihood of better service & food, but give this a try...you won't be disappointed.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: g rote

                        the key words in g_rote's post is "impress us" – otherwise they may not!
                        i once asked the omakase at Origami's sushi bar and the very young (and less experienced?) sushi man gave us regular, popular items from the menu - a couple of toro, hamachi, hotate (scallops), unagui (eel), a caterpillar roll... you get the picture! I had specifically said that i really wanted Uni (sea urchin) if it was fresh, and loved ikura (salmon eggs), and wanted to try things less popular... to no avail. anyway, left a fishy taste in my mouth, and i haven't been back (but I did have great omakase there before - with jelly fish, etc, so keep trying).
                        Our current favorite spot is the sushi bar at Fuji Ya, and we order omakase (“please include this-and-that from the blackboard’s daily specials”). Before we sit we look for the senior sushi man (John? Robert? I can’t remember his name now), or the Japanese lady with the magic hands – sit in front of them and tah-dah!... be “impressed” !

                      2. Agree that an omakase is a great adventure at any sushi joint, and really I think any of the sushi chefs in this town would happily take time to explain what they're serving - if you go on a relatively quiet night (not Friday or Saturday).

                        One overlooked gem for sushi downtown is Koyi Sushi. Not the flash-dazzle of Origami or the ultimo hip-trendy of Nami, but some of the best straightahead sushi in the 'hood. Their magic is in their selection and preparation of fish. Their fish has been consistently some of the best, freshest, and tastiest I've had in the twins. I've ever been disappointed by their white tuna (something that has happened more than once at Nami) and their hamachi is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I love all three places for their unique qualities, but mostly hang at Koyi. All three have very high quality fish. Ironically enough, Koyi is owned by the same people who brought us the abysmal chain-Thai experience of Sawatdee!

                        To sum up the warehouse district sushi options:
                        If you want adventure at a high price - Origami.
                        If you want atmosphere at a somewhat high price - Nami.
                        If you want a cozy but nice setting at more moderate prices - Koyi.

                        Agree with the post that Kikugawa sucks, but that's based on an experience of a couple of years ago. It was so bad I vowed not to go back. And with Origami, Nami, and Koyi, haven't had much reason to. The friend who took me to Kikugawa rapidly converted to Koyi upon trying it.

                        A recent post warned us to be on the lookout for a potential downhill slide at Midori. Hopefully that hasn't happened.

                        I need to get out more - there's a ton of sushi in this town.

                        1. I had an excellent experience at Wasabi Fusion on Friday night. Group of 6 at a hibachi table, with two bottles of wine, cocktails, the three "special" rolls and the traditional hibachi dinner went for $250 plus tip.

                          The sushi and sashimi was incredibly fresh, the tuna melted in the mouth, and for those who may be newer to sushi there was a very wide variety of sashimi, sushi and nigiri rolls. I was thoroughly impressed, especially with regards to the price. We will definitely go back and just do the sushi.

                          1. Fuji-Ya, Sushi Tango, Nami, Midori and Koyi all have happy hour specials, if you want an inexpensive way to try out a variety of sushi places. Of course, you will have a limited selection of options to choose from.

                            My current favorite is Koyi. The white tuna there is fabulous, and the prices are incredibly reasonable.

                            I've always had good experiences at Sakura in St. Paul too. I used to go there all the time. It's a great place to go to have sushi if you have non-sushi eaters in the group, the bento boxes are always well-done.

                            As previously mentioned, Origami and Nami tend to be more expensive, but usually pretty decent.

                            I like to go to Fuji-Ya and sit at the sushi bar, it's also a fun trendy place to bring people. Although, the last 2 times I went, I felt as if the fish wasn't as fresh. but those were probably just off days.

                            I thought Tiger Sushi was awful, but it always seems to be packed...maybe because of it's location?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: starburst

                              I've only eaten there a few times but honestly I've had excellent Sushi at Tiger every time I've been there. The fish was fresh and the service excellent. It's a MOA place so I' had pretty low expectations going in but having eaten sushi at every place listed on this page this ranks up pretty high for the experiences I've had. I'm on my way to Koyi as we speak which was good the last time I was there as well. Fuji Ya .. have the Winter roll.

                              Nami has been *very inconsistent for me. From the best Unagi I've ever had to something I wanted to drink bleach to get the taste out of my mouth. Happy hour specials are good but the ones at Fuji Ya are better.

                              1. re: starburst

                                Origami is my favorite for sure.

                                We tried Midori's Happy Hour last night.
                                Happy hour at Midori's: 5-6:30pm, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

                                It's not listed online, as far as I can tell, but they offer some basic rolls (spicy tuna, Philadelphia, dynamite, caterpillar) for $4-5. They also offer shrimp or veggie tempura for $4-5.

                                The last time I went to Midori's the service was slow and everything came out simultaneously. This time we received our rolls in about 15 minutes. The tempura and salad came out about 20 seconds after the rolls. We ate and were out in about 60 minutes.

                                By 7pm every table in the joint was full (on a Wednesday night).

                              2. Hi, Midwest Hounds:

                                I'm going to shake things up a bit. I live in New York, and have eaten lots of good sushi. I'd eat it twice a day, every day if I could.

                                My family and I were in Minneapolis this summer and we had dinner at...Ichiban! My 7-year-old daughter loved the hibachi experience, but I wanted sushi. And I had it, lots of it, and you know what...it was pretty damn good. Not the best, but quite respectable. I had sashimi and nigiri and a spicy scallop handroll (that was the only dicey piece, the scallops were cooked I think, weird).

                                I figure Ichiban is probably considered beneath the notice of a true Twin City afficionado, so I thought I'd add my two cents. I don't know that I'd go for the AYCE floating boats, but if you're hankering for sushi and in that part of town, don't be afraid.

                                Happy 2007!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: sushinsuch

                                  how neat that you would mention Ichiban. I was just invited to a post-new-years dinner at ichiban for sushi and I was scared, but now I am open to it. But why no to the floating boats, and what is AYCE?

                                2. AYCE usually stands for All You Care to Eat.

                                  1. I usually do not post on these sites, but JUST had to respond.
                                    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not go to Ichiban expecting anything remotely resembling Good, even close to decent sushi. Please.
                                    There are midwest palates who do consider Ichiban to have "good" sushi, but please do not believe the hype if you consider yourself to have anything other than a midwest palate.
                                    With that said, Origami in Warehouse District has consistently fresh and good sushi. Sakura in downtown St. Paul is also consistently fresh and good. If you're looking for more of the funky rolls and less tradition, then head to Saji Ya on Grand - they're pretty good and it's more of a fun atmosphere.
                                    As for Nami - heard it's good, haven't been there... because I always go to Origami because I've never been disappointed with the service or the quality of the food.
                                    Please, don't go to Ichiban expecting anything other than midwest palate sushi. If you're a serious sushi-er, then you know what I'm talking about.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: rviot

                                      "midwest palate"

                                      Is that an acquired disorder or do all midwesterns have a damaged chromosome somewhere? ;)

                                      While I will dismiss the absurdity that midwesterners are incapable of knowing what good food tastes like, I must concur that Ichiban is not generally a list-maker. The maki is passable but I would stear clear of nigiri or sashimi.

                                      Origami - My favorite, the only place that has blue fin toro, jutoro and/or otoro with any regularity. Terrific cuts, outstanding specialty rolls, great service at the bar and upstairs (though I have had questionable service in the downstairs dining room).

                                      Tango - Best bar in town IMO. Fish on par with Origami, great pace, and Tengo is hilarious when he is there (talk to him if you get a chance). Also very good non-sushi fish dishes.

                                      Nami - Very good service at the bar and the dining room. Nami will also do omakase with notice. I find though that the fish at Nami is sometimes kept too cold and arrives firmer because of this. Since I generally eat sashimi and nigiri, this can be annoying.

                                      Koyi - great price, very good fish. It can be rather slow at lunch but for dinner it is a quiet and very affordable place for a quick dinner.

                                      My feeble midwest palate ;) has found these places as good as if not better (on occasion) than Blue Ribbon and Masa in NYC and Ebisu is San Fran.

                                      Not on the list for a reason; Fuji-Ya (though the saki pairing menus at the bar are often very good), Saji-ya, and Kikugawa.

                                    2. Hi, it's me of the midwest palate (although I've been in the midwest probably a total of a week in my whole life), the lowly idiot who thought Ichiban was not so bad. I'm a lifelong NYer, an avid sushi appreciator, and my point was that I had extremely low expectations of Ichiban (think worse than supermarket sushi). I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the sushi there (except for the aforementioned weird handroll). I'm not saying that if I lived in Milwaukee it's a place I would frequent. I'm saying that I had a good experience, honestly related. How can you argue with that?


                                      1 Reply
                                      1. I love the people who post in ALL CAPS and say things like MIDWESTERN PALATE like all of us are idiots.

                                        Anyway, I just wanted to add that I had a great experience at Fuji Ya in downtown St. Paul last night. It was slamming busy around 6:30-7 and we still got seated after a short wait and they put in a happy hour order for us. We had a wide variety of rolls/sashimi/nigiri and all were very good.

                                        Each time I've been there the same three chefs have been working which, to me, is a good sign of stability if nothing else.

                                        The unagi, especially, was divine.


                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: justhans

                                          I work in downtown St. Paul, so Fuji Ya is a lunch staple for me. Great nigiri. Good rolls. And, not sushi, but excellent lunches like ramen and teriaki chicken.

                                        2. I can report for those interested, the Sushi Tango in Woodbury is open. Haven't been there yet, but it's in Tamarack Village off Radio Drive.

                                          1. King's restaurant and sushi bar in Fridley is a real sleeper. It is a Korean restaurant and karaoke bar in a strip mall that serves sushi. And they do damn fine job they will give anywhere else in the twin cities a run for their money.

                                            1. I think Origami is great Origami West (out in Minnetonka) is surprisingly good--I mean, it's in a mall! But it's very chic and makes me feel underdressed.

                                              Tango is fun and damn good. There's a strong party vibe there, and the patrons are real fans of the owner, so there's kind of a feedback loop and it's enjoyable to bask in the aura. The saba sashimi special where they serve you basically a whole mackerel cut into sashimi, then if you ask will deep fry the bones? That's one of most memorable experiences I've had.

                                              I want to defend Kikugawa. I know that it has a reputation, which may be earned. Kikugawa is one of the oldest Japanese restaurants in the state. If I had to guess, they probably got scorched by being a pioneer, with old school minneapolitans complaining about how tiny sushi is for the price--cuz their portions are Enormous.

                                              I work in the same building that houses Kikugawa and I have the need/opportunity to eat there very often (Here's a tip: they have a bento box special menu for workers in Riverplace for about $7 that is a staggering lunch). Over time I have seen a lot of variation in the food at Kikugawa. I don't know what it is, but I tend to blame a combo of bad timing luck on my part and possibly their purveyor(s). Three weeks ago I had unagi, sake, saba and a spicy tuna roll--the unagi was strong and fishy smelling and the consistency of the saba was dry and kinda...grainy. Unpleasant. Just last night I grabbed a little sushi snack on the way home from the office and the sake was smooth and silky-- like a firm salmon pudding-- the tamago was dense, sweet and smokey. The beni-toro deserves a poem. Their beni-toro makes me kind of wiggly inside. It's like eating sweet bacon from the sea, yes, soft unfried bacon! I said it! I used to sneak bites of raw bacon as a child! At least with beni-toro I don't fear trichinosis.

                                              I have had wonderful experiences sitting at the bar there. The younger sushi chef is friendly and kind. I've been there enough times that he makes me feel like a regular and He plopped a little unexpected unagi in front of me one time that was nearly perfect, sweet with a mix of textures that were beguiling. He's always Always been right when he suggests "such and such is really good today."

                                              But I know! I know! It's not a very fashionable place. They have ridiculous portions. The rest of the menu is expensive. Sometimes it's uneven. I don't know really what the deal is, but if I had to guess it'd be that perhaps it's too "midwesty," like those chow mein places that have been open for 45 years or the fact that every Asian place in town faces the "cream cheese dilemma" (http://citypages.com/databank/24/1168... ). Kikugawa is probably too modest or downbeat for the sashiminista set and it doesn't sell $12 cosmotinis or offer a "demon releaser" (that's awesome at Tango, by the way, do not hesitate to go there and order one tonight). But it's OUR Kikugawa, in a manner of speaking--MY Kikugawa--and I'm going to be loyal. My patience has been rewarded over time.

                                              I probably wouldn't take out of town friends from the coasts there. Unless they're Japanese baseball players. Judging by the photos in their lobby, I bet having a Japanese pro on your arm would be the secret key to unlock the magisterial wonders of that place. I mean, surely if Ichiro was in town to face the Twins, with all his millions of dollars could...like... afford to have the chefs at Origami and Tango dragged to his hotel suite, with the freshest possible fishes flown direct from both coasts and have tidbits shoveled into his gullet by exotic dancers. But there he is on Kiku's wall, smiling, his arm around the owner.

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: burnunit

                                                I've also seen the whole mackarel served that way at Oragami, also as a special. So, if you want it, ask for it.

                                                1. re: burnunit

                                                  burnunit - Thanks for your in depth description of Kikugawa. I personally won't return there. I've been there three times and have found the space unappealing (it smells musty) and the food of poor quality. I wish I were better because my husband also works next door. I personally don't need hip ambiance or cosmotinis to make a good sushi experience. I do however expect a pleasant atmosphere and high quality food. I like to speak with my wallet, and support places that are consistent, which Kikugawa is not.

                                                  1. re: burnunit

                                                    Have you tried any of the non-sushi food there?

                                                    My fiance lived several years in Japan and is looking for a place where he can have shabu shabu. Kikugawa is the only place in town where I've seen it on the menu.

                                                    1. re: Reddyrat

                                                      I believe Sakura in St. Paul has shabu shabu on their menu. The non-sushi food is actually quite good there as well as their sushi.

                                                      I've had shabu shabu at Kikugawa before (2 years ago?), it's essentiatlly a hot pot where you cook your own food, so it can't be too hard to screw up. As i recall it was fine, not particulalry memorable.

                                                    2. re: burnunit

                                                      Burnunit - Thank you! We live a couple blocks from Kikugawa and love sushi, but having had one bad experience there 5 or 6 years ago I had not gone back. I think with your recommendations and the fact that while running past it Monday, my wife suggested we go there for sushi soon, we'll definitely make a stop. Thanks again.

                                                      1. re: Foureyes137

                                                        Our first choice for sushi is Koyi when we're eating in the hood, but we do stop in at Kikugawa maybe once or twice a month if we're taking in a flick at St Anthony Main. Definitely worth keeping on the list as long as your expectations are in line. They haven't jumped on the extreme sushi bandwagon that Origami and Nami and a few other places might have, and yes some nights some of their fish may taste one day too old, but if you chat with the chef or waitstaff to see what's good, or go with a roll or two, it's still worth it. Especially if it means a nice stroll vs. having to drive somewhere.

                                                        And, as we CHers know, giving a place a second chance can be worth it. Note all the positive reviews of Tango in this thread. When I moved here almost four years ago, Tango sucked. It was a parody of sushi, and a parody of itself. With all this positive praise (assuming they are not ringers) I'll try it again.

                                                      2. re: burnunit

                                                        Props for sticking up for Kikugawa...I've loved that place for years. I think the sushi if fantastic and I've never had a bad experience. The sushi chefs are seasoned, friendly and masters at their job. The portion sizes for the sashimi is fabulous for the price and I prefer the more traditional atmosphere over thumping house music. I'm a fan....

                                                        1. re: Iver60271

                                                          that's where we went on our enagement night.. one of my most favorite places around (their sushi BOAT for a big crowd is phenomenal).

                                                          did you read on their menu that they provide the japanese meal for NWA flights to narita? i think that's pretty sweet that they get supported like that.. or at least they used to?

                                                      3. My vote is for Sushi Tango in Calhoun Square. I find it consistent and delicious. Their miso gets me every time. I agree with the other poster who recommended sitting at the bar. Bartenders are very friendly and knowledgeable and make a mean Tango-tini (mango martini with chambord -- AMAZING).
                                                        My second vote goes to Tanpopo. They make a different kind every day for appetizers and it's really really tasty.

                                                        1. My favorite sushi places are Origami (downtown Minneapolis), Nami and Sakura. I have not had the best service at Origami downtown, but I keep coming back because the sushi is so good. I stick to more of the traditional items maguro, toro, ikura and unagi. They have Blue Fin frequently- my favorite. I did recently have a bad experience at Origami Ridgedale where the ikura and uni were clearly past it's prime. I will probably not go back there and stick with Origami downtown. I also have come to enjoy Nami quite a bit. The quality of the fish has been really good and although, I tend to stray away from all of the rolls, I do love the Chino Loco Roll. It is a combination of fish, crab and pineapple. It tastes so fresh and wakes up the taste buds. Definitely a favorite. I have also had some really great sushi at Sakura, especially when they have Blue Fin. As for bad sushi. I would have to say the worst sushi I have had was at Wasabi. The freshness of the fish was not there nor was the artistry. I had nigiri the night that I was there and just looking at the sushi, one could see that an unskilled chef cut the fish- the sides were ragged and it did not have a clean shape and did not look appetizing. Very disappointing. I am not a sushi snob, but if a venue is going to serve sushi, the basics must be executed properly.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: BigSal

                                                            Make it a hat trick and try Koyi also. That gets you all three sushi bars in a three block radius. I like Origami and Nami, but my main choice of the three is Koyi specifically because the fish consistently seems to be fresher, tastier, and silkier.

                                                          2. Please check out Anemoni......When my wife and I moved here from NYC we lived 2 blocks from Origami -- and yes, it is very good.....actually very, very good. But we have fallen in love with Azia's sushi restaurant, Anemoni. The sushi is always top-notch and we always manage to shovel down at least a dozen superb oysters to start off the night. Great martinis, mojitos, beer, and service too!! I've a handful of poor experiences at both Sushi Tango & Fuji-ya.....my wife visited Nami before we moved here and said that it was good too-- I personally haven't had the chance to eat there yet because we end up back at Anemoni.

                                                            1. Origami is my favorite, but it's best to go when they aren't busy if you want better service. Always ask what's best.....their bluefin has been phenomenal, but from what I've been hearing about the ethics of bluefin I'm not sure I'll get it anymore. I've had good luck at both the downtown and the ridgedale locations, and the ridgedale location has the added advantage that the atmosphere is more kid-firendly if you've got nippers in tow and are from out-of-town. Non-sushi menu is extensive and good.

                                                              They are a bit pricey, though......

                                                              1. Oh brother. I just moved here from California and I am dying to find a decent sushi place. So far Origami (both locations) fits my needs, but I have yet to find a place that blows me out of the water. My experience at WASABI on washington was just horrendous. What a rude, clueless waitress. The place wasn't busy, but it took forever to get my drink; the waitress recommended a cocktail and I inquired about the price because I didn't want to order some special drink that costs $12. I got my miso soup and edamame first. When the waitress finally brought out the 'cough-syrup' martini, she took away my miso soup. I remember thinking "was I done with that yet?" Oh well. I couldn't find what I wanted on the menu, so I wanted to know if they offer any special rolls. The waitress recommended one enthusiastically, and I asked for it minus all the spicy sauce. A good hour later, the food finally came, drenched with spicy sauce throughout. I was so hungry, I ate it anyway, begrudgingly. I didn't want to wait another hour for them to correct it. The waitress didn't come around again for a very long time, until it was time to shoo us out. She slapped down the bill and I noticed something for $19. That's right, the special roll I ordered cost NINETEEN dollars. Now, it's probably my fault I didn't inquire about the price. I simply forgot. But with my drink/ price inquiry it seemed clear (to me at least) that price is an issue. Nothing else on the menu comes close to $19, so this was a real shock to me. The waitress disappeared for so long I had to get up myself and find someone to tell. Just then the waitress appeared, apron off (shift over, I guess). I told her I had been waitress for 10 years, and if I recommended something to a customer that costs well above everything else on the menu, I'd inform the customer. She was VERY unapologetic, "oh well, that's what it costs". I mentioned it had sauce all over it, "well, you ate it". True. I asked her if she could make an adjustment on the price. She grabbed the bill and marched off, and didn't return again , for (what seemed like) a long time. Seeing as she came back to the table with no apology or no price adjustment, I wonder what could have took her so long?! Anyway, with all the attitude and power a waitress can have, she slapped the bill back down. I asked to speak to a manager. "The manager is the one who won't allow an adjustment". It was clear nobody cared. Ok, ok, I ate the darn thing, sauce and all. But I couldn't believe how rude she was, how unwilling she was to resolve this for me, how no manager was in sight. I lost my cool a little and asked, "do you even want a tip tonight?" She snidely replied, "no, I don't". Ok then, dually noted. My friend and I paid our bill and left with our tail between our legs. Other employees (perhaps aware of our situation?) just sort of stared as we left, no 'thanks for your patronage", no "b-bye now", no "have a nice night", no "come again". Believe me, we won't.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: krissy704

                                                                  I know we're talking MSP/St Paul - but why hasn't anyone talked about Yumi in Excelsior? For those that are giving kudos to Origami - most everyone I know then head to Yumi and think the same, if not better sushi at Yumi. DELICIOUS STUFF.

                                                                  1. re: krissy704

                                                                    krissy, I would recommend adjusting your expectations. There just isn't the demand for places to stock the ingredients needed to produce inventive sushi here like out in CA. Even salmon roe is considered adventurous.

                                                                    My recommendation is to find the most competent chef at Origami or wherever you go and establish a relationship. That will at least open the door to a number of off-menu items.

                                                                    As for specific places, I really like Bagu, which is a little place in south Minneapolis (Chicago Ave between 47th and 48th). Paul does a very good job.

                                                                    1. re: krissy704

                                                                      I agree with the poor assessment of Wasabi. I went there tonight and definitely would not recommend it. I ordered my usual light meal of tea, miso soup, and two maki rolls. The special rolls on the menu were all egregiously expensive; I assumed they were probably large rolls for two but the poster above's experience seems to contradict that. My miso soup came first - it was pretty average, but I prefer when it's done properly - brought as a side with the main meal. The eight dollar spider roll I ordered was small and completely tasteless save for the generic sweet brown sauce drizzled all over it (and the plate - in that oh-so-American drizzle-everything style). I also got a vegetable tempura roll, which was decent enough except that the only vegetable in it was yam; call me crazy, but I would expect a "vegetable" tempura roll to have more than one kind of vegetable in it.

                                                                      In short, crappy, trendy, Americanized, and overpriced.

                                                                      1. re: krissy704

                                                                        Is the Wasabi on Washington related to the California chain of sushi places, or it is just an obvious name that coincidentally is the same?

                                                                        1. re: Loren3

                                                                          Well, Googling "Wasabi restaurant" turns up at least a dozen different Wasabis around the country. None of them seem to be related, including the Minneapolis one. I'd guess it's just a pretty common name.

                                                                      2. Here's my list, in order of Debbie popularity! (Note, I do eat sushi at least twice a week, call it an addiction.)

                                                                        1. Sakura, St. Paul: Not only is the quality of fish superb, their nigiri pieces are GIGANTIC! Only downside is dead downtown St. Paul.

                                                                        2. Origami, downtown: The fish is amazing. We've never experienced the bad service listed on the board.

                                                                        3. Nami: I know it's expensive, but I'm A.O.K. paying for a great meal. I do always feel uncool there though-talk about the skinny, Prada, all black wearing crowd!

                                                                        4. Bagu: I've only eaten here twice. Love the fish, hate the service.

                                                                        5. Fuji-ya, Uptown: This is probably tied with Bagu. And same comment at above, love the fish, hate the service.

                                                                        6. Tiger: No, this place doesn't have good fish. And no, I would never drive to the burbs for it. But if I'm at MOA, it definitely beats out all other food choices.

                                                                        Places I really, really don't like, in order of nastiness (#1 being the worst):

                                                                        1. Koyi: I've NEVER had good sushi there. The tuna tastes like it was rinsed in dirty dishwater before they serve it to you.

                                                                        2. Sushi Tango: I must be the only person on the board who really dislikes this place. Mushy fish, not good at all.

                                                                        3. Ichiban: Frozen fish anyone?

                                                                        4. Kikugawa: I can put up with bad service, but waiting an hour for food is beyond even me.

                                                                        5. Wasabi: Grocery store sushi at best. The only reason it didn't get rate higher on the nastier list is because they sell it dirt cheap.

                                                                        6. Martini Blu: I do love the Sunday all you can eat special, but you're basically paying for all you can eat grocery store sushi.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: debbie421

                                                                          I'm stunned by your opinion of Koyi. I live downtown, equidistant from Koyi, Nami, Origami, and Kikugawa. Of the four, Koyi has consistently and always had the best, freshest fish - buttery smooth with sublime flavor. Their white tuna is consistently the best I've had in this town - far better than Nami. The last time I had "white" tuna at Nami, it was yellowish and tasted like your dreaded dishwater. I like the hip ambiance of Nami, and the creative options of Origami, but Koyi is the everyday choice.

                                                                          I don't eat sushi twice a week, but do eat it once a week, and have had the pleasure of sushi on several continents and most major east and west coast cities. I compare Koyi favorably to most places I've tried (ok, maybe not Sydney Australia or Tokyo, but...)

                                                                          And one hint for faster service at Kikugawa is to tell them you're catching a movie at St. Anthony Main.

                                                                        2. I am going back home and want to take my niece for sushi for lunch on a friday (I'm from Chicago and eat a ton of sushi). I'm coming from Minnetonka so St.Paul is a bit far for me because there is a short window. Based on the posts, it looks like Nami is the best option that is open for lunch? Does that sound right? And would that place be appropriate for a 9 year old?

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: k8chi

                                                                            Nami or Origami would be my choices downtown. I have not been to Koyi, so can't say much about it.

                                                                              1. re: k8chi

                                                                                Origami would be my choice. There is also an outpost of Origami in Ridgedale Mall, so you've got it practically on your doorstep. It's perfectly appropriate for a child, assuming she likes Japanese food.

                                                                                1. re: k8chi

                                                                                  I would second Origami, either at Ridgedale or downtown. Nami might be a little too posh/businessy to be able to relax with a child at.

                                                                                2. I love, love, love sushi, sashimi, and nigiri... I find that I tend to have mood swings and switch favorites from time to time when it comes to my favorite sushi places, but my most current fave is Anemoni. I see that one other person posted about Anemoni, and I am going to second their opinion. They are one of the best. And an added plus, if you happen to be dining with someone who is down-right frightened (like my mom) by the thought of sushi, they offer the full menu of Azia (the two restaurants are connected) which should sastisfy the more sqeemish diners.

                                                                                  Also, if you have children who have not yet tried sushi, take them to Anemoni before the main dinner rush, sit at the bar with them, and sushi chef (is that the right terminology?) will cater to their every question and indulge them with whatever they want to taste... and when he's done, he'll make a boat out of a pineapple, sails included...

                                                                                  We live an hour from Anemoni and my kids (ages 11 and 15) beg me to take them there now.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Serenity_MN

                                                                                    Thanks for all the help!! I think I'll try Anemoni or Origami.

                                                                                    1. re: Serenity_MN

                                                                                      I am not sure when the last time you were at Anemoni was, but the beginning of this month they got a new sushi chef, and it was a terrible experience. Here is a link to my review. I will caveat this by saying that we were there at lunch, and I really hope in a month or two he will be better:


                                                                                    2. Has anyone been to Seven Sushi in Minneapolis? I see that they have a $30 AYCE special on Monday nights and I am curious what the choices/selections are for that.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: TDS1

                                                                                        I went to Seven - it was fine but nothing great. To be fair, we went within the first week open so I won't give a definite opinion. I would give it another chance but the room had a little too much of a hipster vibe for me. I'm not that hip.

                                                                                      2. I might have to reconsider my opinion of Anemonie. I was there last week, and it is different. They even changed the Miso soup. I haven't lost faith yet, but it wasn't nearly as good as it used to be.

                                                                                        I did find another sushi restaurant that I like though. It's south of the cities, in Apple Valley, Kami. It's a new restaurant, but the food was great. I was there on a Thursday evening between 6:30 and 8:30, and my one concern is that the restaurant was virtually empty. Not a bad thing if you don't want to wait to get a table, but also not a good sign for its future viability. I am hoping that its just that it's new, and the word hasn't got out yet. I certainly like having a sushi option that is closer to me then Minneapolis/St. Paul.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: Serenity_MN

                                                                                          It has been a good 2-3 months since I've been to Aenomni -- so I was surprised to read that they got a new chef.......I'm a bit nervous to go back, but will definitely check it out......it used to be fantastic. OK - no Aenomni -- Origami it is......

                                                                                        2. Has anyone been to Musashi? I just saw it downtown this weekend, but haven't heard anything about it yet. The awning over the windows say sushi...

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Serenity_MN

                                                                                            I've not been there, but others have posted that it's not the best... See this thread for more info: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/422073

                                                                                          2. Origami for sure...All the uptown places(Sushi Tango, Fugi-Ya, Chino) really don't compare. I always sit at the sushi bar and ask for a special rendition..they are pretty good at that. I've always found the service very accomodating, however maybe it's because I rarely get a table.
                                                                                            My second chocie would be Nami.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: andre5

                                                                                              I know it's an aside to your point, andre5, but Chino has sushi? I have to say, I've always avoided the place because I don't think the "scene" would appeal to me, but it's funny to me that a Chinese/Latin fusion place would ALSO offer sushi... Interesting, eh?


                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                They do have sushi, and it is pretty good. Some of it is purely kitchze (Drano Balls) but all-in-all well presented, assembled and fresh. Those looking for a traditional japanese approach would be disappointed, however to think sushi hasn't trascended tradition would be silly.

                                                                                                I generally dislike the crowd and noise level at Chino, however I have never been disappointed by the food or service. Yes it is campy and tacky but so is Roadhouse...and I love that movie.

                                                                                            2. I agree with everyone who said the service at Origami was awful. I was there with a few friends for the sushi happy hour, which btw, consists of about 6 rolls, two of which don't even have fish in them, and it took forever to get our food and even longer to get a second glass of wine. For the price there are better places. Sukura is great, ask for the MN Wild list. From what they told me a lot of the players visit there and request certain rolls which weren't on the menu and they made a special list of them. Saji Ya on Grand is probably where I go most often, parking is a nightmare most of the time but the sushi is great. I've never been dissappointed but I'm not that picky either. The new Woodbury sushi places score 2/3. Sushi Tango is okay, I like the selection but the atmosphere is nothing like the Uptown location. Giaponese was great (try the Lava Roll!) but the atmosphere was a little weird for a sushi restaurant. Very sterile-looking and bright. Akita was not good. I think they used Uncle Ben's instead of sushi rice and the rolls looked like they were assembled by a child. They didn't taste bad, but the quality was definitely not comparable to other places I've been to. Everything just pretty much tasted the same. Our server barely spoke English so the service was a bit challenging. It's a beautiful restaurant but unless they improve the quality and service soon it's going to be a beautiful, vacant restaurant.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Stillwater Girl

                                                                                                Yeah I've enjoyed Giaponese. I've been there a couple times and haven't been disappointed. So far I've only tried the rolls (lava roll was great) but I plan on trying some other things soon. Haven't been to Sushi Tango yet, but I've heard good things about the original one so I plan on going there soon too. I agree that Akita was not good. Beautiful place, but the food was very lackluster. The tuna roll I had smelled and tasted very fishy. I really didn't like the idea of eating it because I was concerned about the freshness.

                                                                                              2. Next time you are near Stillwater go to Murasaki. The difference in price might just make it worth the drive if you own a VW TDI or a Prius. http://www.murasakisushi.com/index.html

                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: flavorfreak

                                                                                                  I've been there many times, I live a few blocks away. The last time I was there the spicy tuna roll I ordered was greyish and super fishy. It was my first icky experience there and I will definitely go back, but more because it's convenient. If I didn't live in Stillwater I doubt I'd make the trip for that reason alone.

                                                                                                  1. re: Stillwater Girl

                                                                                                    I need to pick a spot for my birthday dinner for Saturday night. I've narrowed it down to Fuji Ya and Origami. Last year i went to Origami Ridgedale and was very dissapointed. I asked for Omakase and was hoping the chef would be adventerous but got a bunch of ho hum rolls. I was really looking for exotic seafood. I've always had good sushi at Fuji Ya but I'm looking for the place with the most adventerous and exotic seafood. Which would you suggest Origami downtown or Fuji Ya Uptown.

                                                                                                    1. re: dave43

                                                                                                      Unless you request/discuss specifics and/or the chef is familiar with you, you aren't going to get "adventurous and exotic" seafood in MSP just by sitting down and requesting omakase. MSP sushi joints aren't going to have live conger eels and blowfish hidden behind the bar.

                                                                                                      Sit at the bar, ask some leading questions (e.g. - "I really love jack mackerel sashimi...do you happen to have any?) and massage the conversation. They'll tell you what things they have that night that they don't ordinarily have. Or flat out say, "I'm looking to try some flavors I've never had before".

                                                                                                      I never hesitate to go to Origami downtown and they always seem to have several unique items/specials on a daily basis. But that's just me.

                                                                                                      1. re: dave43

                                                                                                        The Ridgedale Origami and Fuji Ya Uptown are my two personal favorites for sushi and sashimi. Origami gets the bulk of my business because it's only 10 minutes from my Wayzata office.

                                                                                                        Like you, I was disappointed with omakase at the Ridgedale Origami. The offerings were not really exotic, although we got a lot of food - so it was a great deal. Omakase at Fuji Ya Uptown was incredible. Wonderful, exciting fish and fish roe, very good deal.

                                                                                                        Fuji Ya
                                                                                                        600 W Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                                                                                                  2. Anyone who says Origami is still good needs to have their head examined. They do not know sushi/sashimi from third base. Used to be good like ten years ago.

                                                                                                    My picks for sushi/sashimi in the Twin Cities right now would be:

                                                                                                    Nami and Fuji Ya


                                                                                                    30 N 1st St Ste 1, Minneapolis, MN 55401

                                                                                                    Fuji Ya
                                                                                                    600 W Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                                                                                                    251 1st Ave N Ste 100, Minneapolis, MN 55401

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: Mr. Miyagi

                                                                                                      Mr.Miyagi - can you please elaborate on your comments? I'm curious to hear what lead you to not like Origami.

                                                                                                    2. Not ONE mention for Obento-Ya? Well, I suppose it's best to keep places like these the truly hidden gems of the city :-)

                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: greenidentity

                                                                                                        Obento-ya opened in 2007, after this thread got a little sleepy for awhile, and, so, got its own thread. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4132...

                                                                                                        If we all kept the hidden gems to ourselves, then this would be a whole board about mediocrity and what a waste of time our time that would be.


                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                          I have to say, sushi was the weakest part of my dinner at Obento-ya.

                                                                                                        2. re: greenidentity

                                                                                                          I love Obento-Ya and enjoy their sushi, but they aren't really a sushi restaurant and the sushi menu is quite limited. To put them into the same category as Origami or Nami might mislead someone looking of omakase or other traditional sushi pomp/accoutrement.

                                                                                                          I just wish it was more "hidden". I keep having to wait for a table.

                                                                                                          251 1st Ave N Ste 100, Minneapolis, MN 55401

                                                                                                          1. re: Foureyes137

                                                                                                            Giaponesse in Woodbury somehow always gets left out of these threads. I would rank it right up there and the owner is into the exotic offerings.

                                                                                                            Woodbury Cafe
                                                                                                            803 Bielenberg Dr, Saint Paul, MN 55125

                                                                                                            1. re: Foureyes137

                                                                                                              I hear that a lot, but I have never had to wait for one.I'm a sushi beginner, so I apologize if my sushi palette isn't as refined.

                                                                                                          2. I know it isn't Minneapolis/St. Paul, but I'd like to give props to Kobe in Plymouth. I've never had a disappointing dinner there ever. Their rolls are excellent. My favorites are the Scorpion, the Rainbow, and the Pink Lady. The Pink Lady is spicy crab, avocado, cucumber, panko, all wrapped in a pink soybean wrapper. Love it!!!

                                                                                                            Kobe Japansese Restaurant
                                                                                                            15555 34th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55447

                                                                                                            1. OK, you might not believe this, but some of the best sushi I've had lately came from Osaka, in Rosedale. It's in a strip mall with Byerlys on Snelling and County Road C. The fish was really fresh, they had a roll with no rice or nori, just thin sheets of cucumber. And the best negi toro I have ever had. Literally - chunks of tuna belly, not all minced up. The sushi chefs really seem to care about the quality of the fish they use. I highly recommend this place. I think it's part of a chain of teppanyaki/sushi places in the northern suburbs. I haven't had anything but sushi.

                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: dlgoldie

                                                                                                                I completely believe it because one of my favorite sushi experiences lately was at the Osaka in Bloomington (it's basically in the Target parking lot by Southtown mall) The best part was the Salmon Negiri I had... I've eaten sushi all over and that was probably the best Salmon I have eaten hands down. The rest of the sushi was good as well. Prepared well, quality fish and at lunch the prices are absolutely insane low... half off *Everything. Strongly recommend.

                                                                                                                1. re: matheus

                                                                                                                  You don't know good sushi if you think Osaka in Bloomington has good nigiri.

                                                                                                                  The fish is served too cold. The chefs' knife and sushi making skills are poor. The sushi isn't formed right. The half off everything brings their inflated prices down to about what they should be.

                                                                                                                  That being said, they are better than the 98 Pounds Buffet or supermarket sushi. The quality of the fish they use isn't bad, they just don't execute very well. I can think of half a dozen other places in MSP that do sushi better than Osaka. In no particular order; Fuji Ya, Sushi Tango, Origami, Ichiban, Akita, and Tiger Sushi are all better.

                                                                                                                  My standards are pretty high for sushi though. I lived in the Portland, OR area for two years. The best sushi I've had in MSP honestly doesn't compare to the worst places I frequented there.

                                                                                                                  Fuji Ya
                                                                                                                  600 W Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                                                                                                                  Sushi Tango
                                                                                                                  3001 Hennepin Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                                                                                                                  Tiger Sushi
                                                                                                                  222 W Market, Minneapolis, MN 55425

                                                                                                                  1. re: matheus

                                                                                                                    Yes, we happened upon it (Bloomington location) when I was visiting (from Los Angeles) in November. We both (my brother and I) were very pleased with the quality and price. Service was also wonderful. I would not hesitate to go there again.
                                                                                                                    However, when I visit again in May, my brother told me that he wants to go "back to that first place we went" which would be Origami. We did the happy hour upstairs and had a wonderful meal and had great service. This was about 4 years ago now. I found out about them by researching on this board. You always steer me in the right direction and for that I thank you!

                                                                                                                  2. re: dlgoldie

                                                                                                                    I don't believe it. Further more it seems like Osaka is a cheap ass chain.