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Where have I not had sushi in MSP?

katebauer Feb 5, 2007 12:46 PM

I need help, since the internets aren't always up to date it seems.

My husband and I have sushi on the 2nd Thursday of every month as our "date night" (our first date was at Origami on the 2nd Thursday of November, 2004). We are trying to hit every sushi restaurant in the MSP metro area. I feel like we're missing places, or new places have sprung up and I haven't heard about them. Here are the places we've been, tell me what we're missing:

Origami
Nami
Koyi
Fuji Ya in Minneapolis
Sushi Tango
Bagu
Midori's
Sakura
Saji Ya
Yumi (is that the name, in Excelcier (which I also can't spell)?)
Wasabi
Anemoni
King's (mostly Korean but has sushi)
Martini Blu
Kikugawa
Sushi place near Southdale Mall (closed now)

So, there's a new Fuji-Ya in St Paul? And I know there's at least one sushi place in Maple Grove that Dara reviewed recently - are there others? Did I read something about a new place in Roseville or Woodbury? And Katsu sushi doesn't exist anymore, right? Any suburban places we're missing (we've never been to Origami West - I guess we should go)? Would you consider Chino Latino a sushi restaurant?

We also have a gift certificate to Benihana so we'll be going there soon, much to my chagrin. We've been to Ichiban for tapanyaki and the place creeps me out, but I guess for the sake of purity we should go for sushi.

Thank you!

  1. d
    doogette Feb 5, 2007 01:30 PM

    Origami Ridgedale
    Tiger Sushi -Mall of america can't vouch for quality

    1 Reply
    1. re: doogette
      j
      jenniegirl Apr 15, 2008 04:07 PM

      Tiger Sushi at the Mall is actually very good...

    2. Jordan Feb 5, 2007 01:34 PM

      I'm impressed! You should be able to speak definitively about the best sushi in town, and put the debate to rest.

      I don't know if I'd call Chino Latino a sushi restaurant, but they do have it on their menu.

      I just noticed a new place across the parking lot from the Rainbow Foods just west of Southtown Mall (across Penn Ave., next to the Target). It's some kind of "Asian Buffet & Sushi." Try at your own peril.

      1. The Dairy Queen Feb 5, 2007 01:45 PM

        Ok, I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I've been eshewing sushi in the Twin Cities on the basis that I was really really picky about the sushi places I patronized when I was on the coast. I would only eat at the places that were reputed to have the freshest, highest quality fish and the very best handling techniques. I was certainly no expert, but I was always just very particular. I've been afraid to venture out here because I assume everything here has to sit on a plane from whereever just that much longer. I know this is a really piggish, snobbish attitude and I apologize in advance for it. I will also say that, in general, I try to enjoy what this region does best and what's prepared with local ingredients, which does also explain in part why I haven't been tempted by sushi. Not all of my aversion has been due to my extreme piggish attitude.

        Help me mend my ways, if you would.

        In general, what are the sources of the sushi fish in the Twin Cities? Can they be as fresh as I'm used to? (I'm sure at least one of you will tell me it's fresher here...and I'm open to hearing that, and the reason of course.) Of all the sushi places you've been to, which would you say has the freshest, most exceptional quality of fish and do you know what their source is?

        Embarrassed, but sincerely yours,

        ~TDQ

        1 Reply
        1. re: The Dairy Queen
          r
          Rawfish Aug 3, 2007 10:42 AM

          Coastal seafood is NOT a good sushi grade vendor. The Good fish comes from Chicago from true world foods. Only the cheap restaurants use local fish suppliers because the price is cheaper.

        2. d
          doogette Feb 5, 2007 01:56 PM

          Coastal Seafood is the best known fish distributor in the area.

          3 Replies
          1. re: doogette
            The Dairy Queen Feb 5, 2007 01:57 PM

            So, you're thinking that Coastal Seafoods is providing most of the sushi fish to restaurants in the area?

            ~TDQ

            1. re: The Dairy Queen
              s
              soupkitten Feb 12, 2007 09:32 AM

              no, the sushi places and the other seafood places fly in their own or go thru that distributor off of broadway/wash that picks up fish from MSP 3-4 times each day. very fresh fish. they only do fish. whatdaheckisthenameagain?

            2. re: doogette
              Foureyes137 Feb 7, 2007 11:43 AM

              Keep in mind too that the better sushi/seafood places in town also fly-in their own.

            3. d
              doogette Feb 5, 2007 02:07 PM

              It would be my first suspect. They have a lot of clients, a good rate and a high enough turn rate to have the freshest fish.

              1. s
                starburst Feb 5, 2007 02:17 PM

                Yup, there's a new Sushi Tango in Woodbury - same menu as the Uptown one
                wow, and I thought I'd been to most of the sushi restaurants in the area....

                What did you think of Wasabi? How does Bagu compared to Koyi (aren't the owned by the same people)?

                1. katebauer Feb 5, 2007 03:24 PM

                  Thanks KTFoley, you prompted me to search for that NY Times article and my memory was correct. It says that 50-60% of fish for sushi sold in the US has been frozen at some point. While the USDA requires that the fish is frozen, local health authorities are responsible for seeing that it's done, and sometimes it falls through the cracks. The big name sushi places, like Nobu, freeze their own fish while other restaurants rely on the wholesaler to freeze the fish. There are different methods of freezing fish, and obviously you can freeze fish immediately after its killed or after it's been transported places, and likely those variables lead to different impressions of freshness (that last 1/2 of sentence is my interpretation).

                  http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/08/nyr...

                  So, I guess the question becomes, is the fish in MSP restaurants frozen, who freezes it, and what care does the restaurant take to ensure the best quality fish, even if it has been frozen?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: katebauer
                    d
                    djohnson22 Feb 6, 2007 11:53 AM

                    MSP restaurants, assuming you are talking restaurants in general not specifically sushi places, are generally not using frozen fish. There will be some exceptions to that based on the restaurant's fish vendor if it is other than Coastal Seafoods. There are also some fish that always come frozen - Chilean Seabass, most tilapia filets, most red snapper filets. Halibut and wild salmon in the winter (out of season) comes in frozen (whole). In these cases the fish will have been frozen by the fishermen (frozen on boat) or by the processor who receives the fish when it is brought in by the fisherman. Obviously they are concerned about the quality of their product so are not going to wait around very long if they are going to freeze.
                    Unfortunately I do not know that much about the sushi-restaurant side of things, but as St. Paul Susie mentioned (below) the sushi places around town get their fish from different vendors. Could come in fresh/never frozen then frozen onsite to comply with health regulations, or brought in already frozen. Presumably, if it is brought in frozen it would have been frozen similarly as described above.
                    Regardless, once it is in the restaurants hands there is no real assurance that it will be handled properly apart from the belief that all restaurants want to provide the best possible product to their customers.

                    I don't know if that answers anything or is just totally confusing the issue of the original question, but there you are.

                  2. Abacus Feb 5, 2007 05:48 PM

                    Howdy. There are two places in Maple Grove that I am curious about - Mt. Fuji and ZushiYa - I haven't been to either but would love to hear if anyone else has had good experiences. I like to go to the AMC theatre in MG because I like the stadium seating and have not had an appetite for any of the chain restaurants in the vicinity.

                    While no-where as complete as Kate's all impressive list of sushi joints in town, my hands down favorite and place to match is Fuji Ya in Minneapolis. I enjoy more than Origami and much more than any other place I have yet to try.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Abacus
                      j
                      jenniegirl Apr 15, 2008 04:12 PM

                      I went to Mt. Fuji once, and it was not very good. I took my friend Sandy for her first sushi experience, and she has sworn it off. Trader Joe's is actually a lot better....

                    2. a
                      advicepig Feb 5, 2007 07:05 PM

                      Midori's Floating World is missing from your list. I love it. It's just off of Hiawatha and lake Street in Minneapolis. It's a cute neighborhood place and has great sushi and very little pretense.

                      1. r
                        rviot Feb 5, 2007 07:46 PM

                        I was just driving through downtown Excelsior and saw a sign for a sushi restaurant "quaint sushi joint" or something like that was listed in the window. ... didn't get the actual name. another place to add to your list of sushi places to try.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: rviot
                          Davydd Feb 10, 2007 07:57 AM

                          The place in Excelsior is Yumi's Sushi Bar next to the Dock Theatre. It appears to get pretty good reviews.

                          http://twincities.citysearch.com/prof...

                          1. re: Davydd
                            b
                            bullygirl Aug 24, 2007 08:04 AM

                            I've eaten at Yumi and would not recommend it. Both the roles and the sashimi were incredibly disapointing. The majority of the rolls feature tempura flakes that are overly greasy and the sashimi was flavorless. We ordered a sashimi entree for two and over half the plate was shellfish and octopus. We probably should have complained, but at that point just wanted to leave.

                        2. katebauer Feb 5, 2007 07:58 PM

                          Thanks advicepig - Midori's is on the list, it's one of our favorites.
                          rvoit - That must have been Yumi, it is a quaint sushi joint!

                          I updated my husband on the new places we'll have to hit. He tried to convince me that Maple Grove was not in the metro area therefore we wouldn't have to go there. He's wrong (and very averse to suburbs :)) but you gotta do what you gotta do.

                          1. k
                            KTFoley Feb 5, 2007 09:12 PM

                            And may I say, katebauer, that visiting all the spots on your list is one heck of an achievement. I salute you!!!

                            1. katebauer Feb 5, 2007 10:02 PM

                              Thanks! This Thursday will be our 27th sushi night, plus considering we get sushi 1-2 other times during the month it actually doesn't feel like we've been to that many places. We've certainly been to Origami and Midori's 5+ times. It will be very satisfying when we've hit all the restaurants, it seems like we have about 6 more, so maybe on our 3rd anniversary? :)

                              1. bluesman13 Feb 6, 2007 10:13 AM

                                An impressive list indeed! I've eaten at a place in Eden Prairie called "Little Sushi on the Prairie". It might be worth trying.

                                In reference to the debate about most sushi not being fresh because it's frozen to kill the parasites - I read that article as well, and thought that all fish served raw (as sushi or otherwise) had to be frozen to kill the parasites - in fact when you buy fish, it sometimes says "sushi grade" or "sashimi grade". I've always assumed that when it says that, it has nothing to do with the freshness of the fish, but that the fish has been frozen to the above mentioned FDA quidelines.

                                I always wonder when I read (on this board and over on Egullet as well) posts about how fresh (and better) the sushi is at this place or another that if the above is true, freshness of the fish doesn't have anything to do with it?

                                Also, it's good to know that since -33 below is required to kill parasites, all I have do is put the fish outdoors for a couple of days! :-))

                                1. s
                                  St Paul Susie Feb 6, 2007 10:42 AM

                                  Hmmm...

                                  I spoke to Coastal (since I go there a lot!) and they do not supply the fish for any Sushi places in the twin cites. They do however supply fish & seafood to a lot of other restaurants in the area.

                                  I will now be asking where my sushi came from!

                                  And I agree with TDQ - I have also had fish that I thought was not very fresh at local sushi spots.

                                  1. bluesman13 Feb 6, 2007 11:35 AM

                                    perhaps the taste of fish in sushi restaurants is based on quality of the fish, how it's handled once it's caught, and the skill of the chef?

                                    I know that occasionally when I've gone to a discount place, sometimes the fish is pre-cut and all they do is slap it onto the rice and serve. Sushi prepared this way, to my palate, has been especially dry and tasteless.

                                    I've asked at Coastal before, and while they may not provide fish to sushi restaurants, you can go there and buy "sushi-grade" fish to make at home.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: bluesman13
                                      d
                                      djohnson22 Feb 6, 2007 12:03 PM

                                      Yes, Coastal carries quite a bit of sushi/sashimi grade fish. Practically always available will be #1 Ahi (which you will pay a lot for), and the Organic Atlantic (from Scotland) salmon and Halibut. Whole fish will generally be sashimi grade, depending of course on the specific type of fish, but typically you can count on fluke/flounder, and the various varieties of snapper.
                                      The people at Coastal should always be able to point out what they have that is sushi/sashimi grade that they currently have in the cases when you go in, all you need do is ask.

                                    2. s
                                      snoboardbabe77 Feb 7, 2007 11:56 AM

                                      Wow. I think you have hit most of them....you missed Ichiban I think? Which I heard has horrible sushi, especially the all you can eat? If not, head over to twincitiesdiningguide.com and click on sushi. There you might another restaurant you have missed. However, bear in mind, it's not always 100% up to date -

                                      1. s
                                        snoboardbabe77 Feb 7, 2007 12:10 PM

                                        I apologize -when you go to twincitiesdininguide.com - you need to click Japanese, as apparently they do not have a sushi choice to click on. However, I did see that I think there were at least 8 that I saw that you did not have listed - mainly in outlying burbs like EP, Crystal (not sure if that is a mall place), Apple Valley, Savage, even Stillwater...have no idea if these are good-but seems like you and your husband will go and find out? Let us know!

                                        1. katebauer Feb 7, 2007 02:24 PM

                                          We're headed to the new Fuji Ya in St Paul tonight - I'm very excited, sounds like it's better than the Minneapolis location.

                                          1. katebauer Feb 7, 2007 06:21 PM

                                            Sorry to respond to myself but it seems you can't edit your posts after some time has passed. The St. Paul Fuji Ya was good, but I like Sakura much better. The space felt kind of dingy, like they'd only done 1/2 the renovations necessary to make it seem modern. Plus there was a terrible draft through the restaurant when the door was open. The sushi was quite good but the goyza dumplings we had as an appeitzer were more greasy than crispy.

                                            So we have a bit of a sushi restaurant mystery going on. Two weeks ago we were at Midori's and there was a black Expedition SUV parked outside with the engine running throughout our whole dinner. There wasn't anyone in the car. Tonight, that same SUV was in the parking lot of Fuji Ya, also with the engine running! I asked the host whether he knew anything about the car, or who might be at both restaurants, and he had no idea. When we finished dinner the car was gone. Very strange, huh?

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: katebauer
                                              AnneInMpls Feb 8, 2007 01:44 PM

                                              Hey, I've seen that SUV at Midori's, too! Months ago. Hmmm.....

                                              Anne

                                            2. s
                                              showercapcrazy Feb 7, 2007 08:09 PM

                                              Have you had the sushi at the MOA on the second level across from Napa Valley. I can't recomend it as compared to several other spots, and can't remember the name. Perhaps you already have. Just thought this might help you on your quest.

                                               
                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: showercapcrazy
                                                s
                                                St Paul Susie Feb 8, 2007 03:32 PM

                                                Tiger Sushi I think is the MOA one -

                                                I've had a few rolls there - its actually decent. Better than expected!

                                              2. r
                                                Raka Feb 9, 2007 02:11 PM

                                                What a great thread! You've got my favorite sushi places covered.

                                                If you haven't done so, I'd recommend checking out Tanpopo Noodle Shop in St. Paul. It's not a "sushi place", but they do have some sushi offerings, and lots of yummy noodles for those cold winter months (I crave sushi when it's blazing hot outside).

                                                1. The Chowhound Team Feb 13, 2007 11:44 AM

                                                  Folks, the goal of this board is to share tips on where to find great local chow. We've removed some off topic posts about freezing fish and FDA regulations. If you'd like to pursue that tangent, please start a new thread on the General Topics board. Thanks.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: The Chowhound Team
                                                    r
                                                    Rawfish Aug 3, 2007 10:45 AM

                                                    Fish at wasabi is not good. The chefs are not handling the fish right. Stick with Fujiya or oragami

                                                    1. re: Rawfish
                                                      k
                                                      KTFoley Aug 3, 2007 10:55 AM

                                                      "The chefs are not handling the fish right."

                                                      What does that mean, specifically? What are they not doing that they should? What are they doing that they should not?

                                                  2. m
                                                    Mill City Modern Feb 13, 2007 11:54 AM

                                                    Can anybody describe the quality of the food at Wasabi? Two friends of mine went there earlier this week and both described it as "terrible".

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Mill City Modern
                                                      n
                                                      Nathan_1118 Feb 14, 2007 05:46 AM

                                                      I was there in December. Had the hibachi and a few rolls for starters. The hibachi was outstanding, better than Saji-Ya, Benihana or Ichiban. The rolls were "seasonal" rolls. Weird, but imaginative and I rather enjoyed them.

                                                      I had a couple friends who were there a week after me and got a collection of sashimi and nigiri. They raved. Said the fish was incredibly fresh and plentiful.

                                                      I wold agree that many of their rolls are flash-fried to give them an interesting texture. However, that's just a selection. They also have many non-fried rolls. The best part about Wasabit is the creativity and ridiculously low prices for sashimi, nigiri and rolls.

                                                    2. katebauer Feb 13, 2007 12:02 PM

                                                      I was unimpressed with Wasabi, although I've heard people say otherwise. We got several rolls to share and without intending it, they all were huge, fried, and heavy - not light and delicate like you'd hope sushi would be. Perhaps we ordered wrong, and I wouldn't be unwilling to try again, I just wouldn't go out of my way to go back.

                                                      1. g rote Feb 14, 2007 06:01 AM

                                                        Nathan...do you mean hibachi as in little grill or hamachi as in yellowtail.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: g rote
                                                          n
                                                          Nathan_1118 Feb 14, 2007 07:51 AM

                                                          hibachi as in little grill, though apparently that's an Americanized term. They use the "hibachi" to refer to what many other places call Teppenyaki style cooking.

                                                        2. d
                                                          dlenz78 Feb 14, 2007 08:39 AM

                                                          Hi Kate,

                                                          I've been to Origami West a few times, most recently last weekend. I think their sushi is quality, despite the fact that the place is attached to a mall. I've also eaten at Mt. Fuji in Maple Grove several times, and for suburban sushi, I'm pretty impressed. I work in Maple Grove, so it's convenient, though. I'm not sure I would drive all the way out from somewhere else to eat there. Also, I've been to Tiger Sushi at the Mall of America once, with great trepidation. I was pretty surprised that the sushi was decent, and they had toro available. I'd say it was better than the floating moat sushi at Ichiban, which might not be saying much. All of these places seem to approach sushi from a very Americanized, midwestern point of view, though, or so it seems to me. I get the same vibe from Sushi Tango, which I've never tried. Is it any good? Also, I've never been to Midori's Floating World, but I heard that the sushi chef there left, and since then the sushi has been downhill. Is this just a crazy rumor? My favorite sushi place is probably Origami downtown, although the single best piece of sushi I have ever eaten was sake (salmon) nigiri at Kikugawa. I had a sushi lover from California with me, and he agreed that it was also the best piece of sushi he had ever eaten, too. But maybe we just got lucky, since everything else I've eaten there is simply on par with the rest (and maybe a little heavy with the wasabi).

                                                          Just my two cents. Glad to find more sushi lovers in Minneapolis! I don't seem to know many...

                                                          Danielle

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: dlenz78
                                                            m
                                                            Mill City Modern Feb 14, 2007 08:43 AM

                                                            dlenz,

                                                            I think the major complaint (well, my major complaint anyway) is that since the original sushi chef at Midori's left, the service has been quite slow. They seem to be aware of the problem now, and while it's still slow, it's better. The quality of the sushi has always been absolutely excellent, IMO. In addition, it's quite affordable.

                                                            I like Origami downtown if you can get a seat at the sushi bar, but the last three times I've sat at at table, the table service has been terrible.

                                                          2. d
                                                            dlenz78 Feb 14, 2007 09:01 AM

                                                            Mill City Modern,

                                                            Thanks for the info on Midori's. I've read rave reviews about it in the past, and I'd love to try it if the quality of the fish is still up to par. The sushi bar at Origami (downtown) always looks so fun, but unfortunately, I've never had the chance to sit there, because nobody I go there with will eat sushi (or anything other than an avocado or California roll, which, really, would be sort of insulting to solely order at the sushi bar). So I always order my sushi from the dining room. I haven't had a problem with the table service there yet, but I've heard many complaints from those who have.

                                                            Has anyone ever ordered omakase? If so, where, and how did you like it? Also, could you tell me how to pronounce omakase? I have never ordered it, because I just don't know how to pronounce it and don't want to look like an idiot to the chef (when I do sit at the sushi bar). Is it oh-mah-KAH-see?

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: dlenz78
                                                              Uisge Mar 14, 2007 08:47 AM

                                                              oh-ma-KAH-say is how I pronounced it. Ask when you arrive. Most places will offer it.

                                                              The best omakase I've ever had was in NJ at a place that is now closed. Transcendent.

                                                              I was pleased to discove that Sakura offers omakase based on how much you want to spend. I went with a group of 5 and we offered $35 a head and they brought us what the chef wanted to make. Turned out quite nice.

                                                              1. re: dlenz78
                                                                Foureyes137 Mar 14, 2007 08:59 AM

                                                                We have had omakase in Minneapolis at Nami and Origami.

                                                                We called ahead for both, and both did an excellent job. However, our service was a little slower and more expensive at Nami. Full disclosure: I tend to gobble-up sushi like a wolverine, hard to keep up...I'm lucky I still have fingers.

                                                                I highly recommend Origami as they presented preparations of jutoro and otoro as part of our omakase was were excellent.

                                                              2. katebauer Feb 14, 2007 09:09 AM

                                                                Thanks for the feedback on Mt. Fuji. We're headed to Zushiya in Maple Grove on Saturday with some friends, and hopefully will be back to hit Mt. Fuji.

                                                                Wow, we could be done with this effort soon! As far as I can tell we have Tiger Sushi (which I've been to alone), Origami West, and the new Sushi Tango in Woodbury left, if we're counting places where the majority of their menu is sushi.

                                                                Also, upthread someone mentioned Tanpopo, which is absolutely our favorite restaurant for non-sushi Japanese food.

                                                                1. d
                                                                  Danny Feb 14, 2007 11:46 AM

                                                                  Not mentioned here, and probably for good reason is Sushi of Tokyo in Minnetonka. It is a small mom and pop shop, I've never seen anyone other than the husband and wife working there. They have what I'd call "made to order supermarket sushi" - that is a very limited selection of fish, and nothing particularly special. The upside is that the owners are extremely friendly, and the prices are low. (The noodle soups are pretty decent too) It's one of our go-to places for mid-week dinners when we want to grab something quick, cheap, and not far from home.

                                                                  So, if you're going for completeness, check them out: http://www.sushioftokyo.com However, don't bring expectations of knock your socks off sushi. (They also do have a $18.95 "all you can eat" deal on Sunday nights from 4:30-8:00 - if you're into that sort of thing)

                                                                  1. katebauer Feb 14, 2007 11:53 AM

                                                                    Awesome! I was surprised that more suburban places that we hadn't heard of didn't turn up in this thread.

                                                                    We don't normally go out of our way for all you can eat, but if it's nothing special anyway you might as well do something to make it worth your while :)

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: katebauer
                                                                      d
                                                                      Danny Feb 16, 2007 09:52 AM

                                                                      We were at Sushi of Tokyo last night, and I asked about their Sunday deal. It is not a buffet, but rather made to order off of a subset of their menu. (It includes Miso (not bad, but not great) and all of the Nigiri are available, as are many of the rolls - the others are $1 extra.) The order slips note a one hour time limit, and a $1 per piece charge for not eating what you ordered.

                                                                      If you're going to be at the Chowdown, I'll bring along their regular menu and a Sunday "All You Can Eat" order sheet. (Given their prices - $3 for 2 pieces of Nigiri you might still be better off ordering from the menu than doing the AYCE thing.)

                                                                      1. re: Danny
                                                                        t
                                                                        TDS1 Feb 23, 2007 06:40 PM

                                                                        I would be very interested in knowing what was listed on the Sunday "All you can Eat" sheet at Sushi of Tokyo. Would you be willing to post it here? Thanks!

                                                                        1. re: TDS1
                                                                          d
                                                                          Danny Feb 25, 2007 10:58 AM

                                                                          Kate has the "menu" so she might be able to post the info - but it is all of the Nigiri, and some of the rolls. The rolls that aren't on the list are available for $1 extra (per order)

                                                                          Visit their website for the full menu.

                                                                          1. re: Danny
                                                                            katebauer Feb 25, 2007 01:10 PM

                                                                            I have it and will post soon, been crazy this weekend with hard drive failure :(

                                                                    2. AnneInMpls Feb 14, 2007 12:06 PM

                                                                      If you *really* want a complete list, there's a pre-made-sushi place in Stadium Village (University & Washington, Mpls) called Sushi Express. It's not that great, but it's convenient if you're rushing to a class at the U.

                                                                      And there's also grocery store sushi at Byerly's/Lund's, Kowalski's, and area co-ops (I see containers of sushi at Seward Co-op). It's decent for what it is - better than fast-food burgers - but y'all haven't been married that long yet. It'll take many years of marriage and multiple kids before this type of sushi seems like a treat!

                                                                      Anne

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: AnneInMpls
                                                                        bluesman13 Feb 15, 2007 11:55 AM

                                                                        Anne,

                                                                        I've been to Sushi Express - I work at the U. Is it just me, or is there a kind of "moldy" odor in there?

                                                                        1. re: bluesman13
                                                                          AnneInMpls Feb 15, 2007 01:25 PM

                                                                          I haven't been to Sushi Express for several years, when it was new. But I wouldn't be surprised if their roof leaks, or something - that strip mall doesn't seem like it was built to last.

                                                                          Anne

                                                                      2. m
                                                                        martaru Feb 15, 2007 09:07 AM

                                                                        A restaurant called Crave just opened up in Galleria in Edina. They've got a full-time sushi chef on board.

                                                                        1. katebauer Feb 15, 2007 01:27 PM

                                                                          Yea, I knew we'd have to hit Sushi Express one of these days, I was just avoiding it. The musty spell in Ichiban is so bad, I can't bear the thought of going to another sushi place with a similar problem.

                                                                          1. katebauer Feb 18, 2007 08:56 AM

                                                                            If anyone is still playing along, we went to Zushiya in Maple Grove last night. First thing, they lost our reservation. Then one hostess said we could sit at the sushi bar (8 people at the sushi bar, no way), then one minute later the other hostess said she could find a table for us. We ended up being seated about 10 minutes after our original reservation time, which was fine.

                                                                            Since the space is connected to Sawatdee, we were able to order off the Thai and sushi menus. We ended up ordering the Thai appetizer sampler, edamame, chicken red curry, pad see yew, and the sushi boat for 4 people. All the thai dishes were really mediocre - I've had better even at the Sawatdees in downtown Mpls. The fresh spring rolls were completely lettuce and rice noodles - no other veggies or shrimp or pork.

                                                                            Husband and I only got a few pieces of sushi because of all the sharing but what we got we were pleased with. The offerings on the boat seemed really meager - it seemed more like sushi for 2 than 4. Plus, a lot of rolls were hidden under garnish, which added to the initial disappointment.

                                                                            The most prevalent issue though was the bad service. They admitted to being completely overwhelmed by our party of 8, even though the restaurant was not at capacity for the majority of time we were there. There wasn't a good system to clear plates or even make sure that everyone had a plate. One of our friends ordered a dry martini and ended up with a mojito in a martini glass. Maybe if the food was fantastic we'd be more likely to go back, but overall it wasn't worth it. I'm looking forward to trying Mt. Fuji, which is down the block, to see if there's something better up there.

                                                                            1. bluesman13 Feb 25, 2007 09:30 AM

                                                                              kate,
                                                                              I'm still playing along and reading, as well. I thought I would report our latest experience at Fuji-Ya in Minneapolis. Someone upthread commented that it is their favorite sushi place in the Twin Cities. I'm sorry, but I disagree. Let me explain...

                                                                              <begin rant>
                                                                              After moving to MSP from Los Angeles in 1993, there was less than a handful of sushi restaurants here.. There was a place called Kabuki (on Flying Cloud Dr) in Eden Prairie, and maybe a couple of thers than I can't remember. We lamented about the lack of qaulity Japanese food here. Origami was the first "hip" place I remember going to not toolong after we arrived. I ate there, got take-out on another occasion, saw that they added a mandatory 15% chef tip into my take-out bill and never returned.

                                                                              Since then, things have really exploded sushi-wise here. And I am glad for it. I have tried many of the places around town, and find them to be more style than substance. And that would be my "complaint" about Fuji-Ya in MSP (I haven't tried the one in St. Paul).

                                                                              <end of rant sort of>

                                                                              We went to Fuji-Ya last night (to celebrate my daughters 16th birthday), and reserved one of those rooms for our meal (is it called a Tatami room?). Nothing was horrible, but it wasn't outstanding, and for the prices they charge, it should have been outstanding. We started with a soft shell crab appetizer, which was good, but it was over-fried and the oil they used didn't taste fresh. We all ordered sushi and shared. We had: salmon, yellowtail, and tuna sushi. The best of the lot was the yellowtail. I found the salmon and the tuna to not have much flavor. My wife had a couple of orders of uni, and she said it was good. All in all, a very nice relaxing atmosphere, and good service, but disappointing food-wise.

                                                                              I would gladly trade style for a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that serves a great delicious product (Los Angeles has great places for sushi on just about every corner). Names of restaurants are not that important to me, but who is preparing and cooking the food. Chefs move from place to place; reviews come out , and three months later you eat there and the chef who was there when the review came out is long gone - and that's why I love restaurnat that are locally owned and operated - like Tanpopo as an example, where I know that food is always good and consistent.

                                                                              1. s
                                                                                soupkitten Feb 26, 2007 09:34 AM

                                                                                okay, having just tried sakura in st paul off of these sushi recs i must agree it's way better than fuji-ya st paul (though i still say fuji-ya st paul is better than fuji-ya mpls). my only complaint was that the spicy tuna rolls didn't seem as fresh as they should have been. and what's up with the muzak station? it's weird to try to enjoy dining anywhere while "le vie en rose" played on the panpipes is thumpin'. led to some funny table antics though.
                                                                                love the sushi rec thread!

                                                                                1. katebauer Feb 26, 2007 09:42 AM

                                                                                  soupkitten - good to know someone else agrees with our St. Paul sushi rankings :)

                                                                                  We got takeout from Bagu last night. I tried to notice the overly vinegarred rice but it still didn't stand out to me. We got the 3 Wise Guys roll, which is 3 fishes in an inside out maki then covered with the tempura crunchies (we ask for no ponzu sauce, it's too sweet and distracting), a dynamite roll, and a futo roll. I love the futo - with lots of pickled veggies inside, it's so crunchy and fresh. The dynamite was a bit disappointing - it wasn't well constructed. I also ordered salmon nigiri and "upgraded" to the special salmon they had (husband ordered so I don't know what it was). It wasn't very good. I love salmon because of its smooth butteriness, this tasted more earthy, and didn't have the same smooth texture. Bagu is so close to our house, and I really want them to survive, but I'm not so impressed as of lately.

                                                                                  I'm hoping to convince my husband to hit the Minnetonka sushi this weekend, either for AYCE or not. I can't find their menu which Danny gave me (my life is a wreck this week - blown computer, lost my gym membership card and the menu, etc.) but I'll pick up a new one on Sunday.

                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: katebauer
                                                                                    t
                                                                                    TDS1 Feb 28, 2007 04:47 PM

                                                                                    I couldn't wait to try Sushi of Tokyo, so I decided to go on Sunday. The website gives a great idea what the atmosphere is like. It is basically a deli style counter and 6 tables. Extremely casual. I think it was mentioned above that it is the owner and his wife who work there. They were very friendly and I really enjoyed it despite it being ultra casual. Here is the All you can eat menu:

                                                                                    All you can eat $18.95 Limit 1 hour, no carry out.

                                                                                    Maki Sushi
                                                                                    California Roll, Eel Roll, Inari, Philadelphia Cream Cheese Roll, Salmon Roll, Spicy Tuna Roll, Snow Crab Roll, Tuna Roll, Vegetable Roll

                                                                                    Nigiri
                                                                                    Cooked Fresh Water Eel, Cooked Shrimp, Cooked Octopus, Egg, Salmon, Smelt Roe, Snapper, Squid, Surf Clam, Tuna

                                                                                    Additional $1 per order
                                                                                    Alaskan Roll, Caterpillar Roll, Dragon Roll, Hawaii, Rainbow, Shrimp Roll.

                                                                                    I really enjoyed it. It may not be the most exotic choices, but it tasted fresh, and for $18.95 it was well worth it. I will definitely be back. I stuck with the included stuff this time, but to add a specialy roll for a $1 is still a bargain. I doubt they enforce the 1 hour time limit but was plenty of time for me. Wish there were other places in town that did it. Anyone know of any?

                                                                                    1. re: TDS1
                                                                                      katebauer Feb 28, 2007 08:03 PM

                                                                                      By "did it" do you mean all you can eat? I actually haven't been to any but I believe Martini Blue, Ichiban and Koyi all have AYCE nights (Martini Blu is Sundays I think).

                                                                                      I've been to both Nami and Midori's for their happy hours and they're quite good deals. Nami's happy hour menu is a bit more limited than Midori's - more cooked food if I remember correctly.

                                                                                      I have to ask, did the Sushi of Tokyo charge you for uneaten pieces like they said they would on their menu?

                                                                                      1. re: katebauer
                                                                                        t
                                                                                        TDS1 Mar 1, 2007 05:42 PM

                                                                                        Yes, I did the All you can eat. The regular menu prices are very reasonable anyway, so if you only choose rolls, you probably won't get to 18.95 worth. I managed to eat what would have been $39 if ordered a la carte, so I felt it was well worth it. I am very careful about what I choose, and make sure that I can eat everything I order - so I don't know if they would actually charge if you had uneaten pieces...
                                                                                        I had heard of the Martini Blue and Ichiban AYCE. Both are $30, so they better be good at that price. I had read somewhere the Ichiban one was floating boats, so not as desirable to me as choose your own items. I wonder how the Martini Blue one works, and what the selection is.
                                                                                        I certainly wasn't aware that Koyi sushi did AYCE. I have been wanting to go there for a while, but it can be hard with a 2 year old at home to get there. It doesn't mention anything about it on their website. Does anyone have any details?

                                                                                        1. re: TDS1
                                                                                          katebauer Mar 1, 2007 06:26 PM

                                                                                          I just checked with husband and apparently I was misinformed. Koyi used to have a sushi club that had special member nights. I guess they don't have that, or AYCE, anymore.

                                                                                          $39 for $19 is fantastic - good eating!

                                                                                          1. re: katebauer
                                                                                            t
                                                                                            TDS1 Mar 1, 2007 07:01 PM

                                                                                            Too bad about Koyi. Well, if you go to Sushi of Tokyo, post your review. I am happy to have found it.
                                                                                            PS- The absolute ultimate AYCE order off the menu place I have been to is Koyi Sushi in Las Vegas. It is $25.95 and is outstanding. Found it recommended on Chowhound of course. If you are there be sure to check it out. I really enjoy the variety of the AYCE, and the made to order AYCE beats any sushi buffet. I hope more TC places give the concept a try.

                                                                                          2. re: TDS1
                                                                                            David_Minh Aug 15, 2007 12:56 PM

                                                                                            In response to your remarks about Ichiban's there are two things you must consider, if you go after 5 o clock, you have the "early bird special" which makes it only $25. The second thing you must consider is that although they do have their sushi on a moat (Which makes the sushi really bad if your the first one there, and having to eat the hour old sushi), you can go early (5 o clock) when nobody is there and ask for requests. I LOVE IT! They give you whatever you want, and you get free tempura, miso and ice cream as well. When I went there, I asked for hand rolls, special rolls, and anything else I wanted, it was great.

                                                                                    2. d
                                                                                      dave43 Mar 2, 2007 01:37 PM

                                                                                      Someone posted on another thread that sushi of tokyo takeout was half price after 7 p.m. Does anyone know more about this?

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: dave43
                                                                                        d
                                                                                        Danny Mar 2, 2007 02:42 PM

                                                                                        The pre-packed stuff in the display case is half price after 7:00. (The pickings are generally very, very slim if there are any at all.)

                                                                                        If you want it made to order, you have to pay full price.

                                                                                      2. s
                                                                                        soupkitten Mar 7, 2007 10:20 AM

                                                                                        here's one for you katebauer,
                                                                                        and tying into other threads about supporting Midtown Global Market:

                                                                                        chang bang does sushi, and i only had a taste of some tuna rolls, they were on the unspectacular side but tasted fresh and were just fine for a sushi jones at $7 for 8 pcs. some of the bigger rolls shipped to neighboring tables looked much more elaborate-- "cute" sushi-- dragon rolls, etc, but looked really good. i like the space a lot, got nice service, and imo chang bang's happy hour specials like $1 tap beers, $2 wine are definately among the best deals around that area. something to think about when meeting friends, i guess, or for a sit-down lunch stop while shopping the rest of the market.
                                                                                        i also like that the place buys locally grown produce from hmong farmers in the summer.

                                                                                        1. n
                                                                                          Nathan_1118 Mar 12, 2007 02:01 PM

                                                                                          I picked up a few rolls and nigiri at Tiger Sushi 10 days ago. It was okay, decent value, decent fish. Nothing to write home about. The portions however, seemed a little small. The nigiri was bite size, I don't think that's normal, is it?

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Nathan_1118
                                                                                            r
                                                                                            Rawfish Aug 3, 2007 10:46 AM

                                                                                            Nigiri is supposed to be bite sized

                                                                                          2. katebauer Mar 12, 2007 02:21 PM

                                                                                            We went to Tiger Sushi last week. We got edamame to start, then the dynamite roll, special tuna roll, winter roll (I think) and then salmon and mackerel nigiri. I found that the fish was very good quality, but the rolls were put together quite poorly. They were small, like Nathan mentioned, and several of them were difficult to eat without falling apart. I'd never make it a destination spot but would pop in again if I was at MOA and starving.

                                                                                            1. MN Hick Chowhound Mar 15, 2007 11:42 AM

                                                                                              Murasaki in Stillwater is quite good! Located at 1491 Stillwater Blvd. (Hwy 5 North of Hwy 36 ) Stillwater, just beside the Holiday gas station at the intersection of Orleans St. 651-439-1376

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: MN Hick Chowhound
                                                                                                katebauer Mar 15, 2007 02:30 PM

                                                                                                Great, I'm always looking for a reason to head out to Stillwater.

                                                                                              2. t
                                                                                                tart1 Aug 3, 2007 07:57 PM

                                                                                                Obento-Ya, the new Japanese Bistro on Como and 15th Ave. in Minneapolis.

                                                                                                1. The Dairy Queen Aug 22, 2007 02:59 PM

                                                                                                  Kate--one to add to your list. On Snelling a few blocks North of University on the East side of the streets, one of the Korean places has spiffed itself up (black paint, snappy red awnings--all new, I think, though it's hard for me to remember ) and put out some new signage "Coming soon: Sushi bar and Lunch buffet." It still has the "Korean Style BBQ" signs up so I don't know if the Korean BBQ is staying or going or what. I think this is the same place that used to be Shilla and is now Kum Gang San. I think the cross street is Van Buren.

                                                                                                  Anyone know anything about this?

                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                    katebauer Aug 22, 2007 03:12 PM

                                                                                                    Oh, fantastic. We love sushi plus Korean!

                                                                                                    1. re: katebauer
                                                                                                      bob s Aug 27, 2007 04:06 PM

                                                                                                      Please report back when you try. Kum Gang San has OK Korean food, but is very kid friendly and sometimes is easier for us to get to than King's. We may need to rethink our Korean options.

                                                                                                      1. re: bob s
                                                                                                        katebauer Aug 27, 2007 05:16 PM

                                                                                                        We actually went this Friday but just had Korean food. The sushi just wasn't appealing to me since restaurant was pretty empty and no one else was eating it. The Korean food was pretty unimpressive. We got a kim chi pancake that was really mushy. We then got pork and beef bulgogi, bi bim bap, and 2 different tofu stews. Everything was okay but nothing was great. The service was kind of clueless and not very friendly. We're definitely heading to Kings anytime we want Korean in the future.

                                                                                                        We did tonight get to Origami for sushi. We had two of the special rolls - Never Ending Summer and another that was two types of tuna. We love the Never Ending Summer roll - it has cilantro and some other interesting flavors. The tuna was pretty bland and uninteresting. As usual, the salmon, mackerel, and tamago nigiri were fantastic and the service was really friendly and fast. I think the key for Origami might be going right around 5:30 when they're pretty empty.

                                                                                                        1. re: katebauer
                                                                                                          bob s Aug 28, 2007 08:09 AM

                                                                                                          Thanks for the clarification that they are still serving Korean. I agree that Kings has better food, but the Snelling location often works better for us. (Even though there's probably less than 5 miles difference, somehow heading out to Fridley seems daunting sometimes...) We've always had good service, but that may be because they fawn over our kids.

                                                                                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                      The Dairy Queen Aug 24, 2007 07:03 AM

                                                                                                      The "Coming Soon" sign has been replaced by one that says "Now Open".

                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                    3. David_Minh Aug 28, 2007 08:32 PM

                                                                                                      I just had sushi at a place near the Eden Prairie Center called "Little Sushi". The sushi chef that runs the place used to run Yumi's, and was offered the job at the place that will open in september called Musashi's.

                                                                                                      The sushi was great, and the sushi chef, Billy, was very personable. We were talking about the relationships between a sushi chef and a customer and how that pertains to the quality of an omakase. We also ended up talking about AYCE sushi and he recommended Martini Blu's, has anyone had their AYCE compared to Ichiban's?

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: David_Minh
                                                                                                        t
                                                                                                        TDS1 Oct 14, 2007 03:16 PM

                                                                                                        I got the most recent City Paper and Kami Japanese ini Apply Valley is advertising all you can eat sushi for $24.95. It says restrictions apply. Anyone know any details of this?

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