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May 14, 2007 09:36 PM

Charleston, SC foodies, I need sushi!!

What are your recs. for the best places for sushi...specifically rolls, such as Pacific, shrimp tempura, since those are all the hubby really likes. We're planning something for this Friday, so all help would definitley help my cravings! We've tried some local Jap. steakhouses, but they never seem to do the trick...

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  1. Tsunami, on East Bay Street, has been a consistently good choice for us.

    16 Replies
    1. re: DavidA

      Thanks, David, we'll probably be there Friday...What are your favorites?

      1. re: charlestonfoodiegal

        All the basics are really good. My wife loves the softshell crab roll. There is also a tempura something or other roll that is delicious, but I can't remember any of the details right now! I hope it works out for you -- good luck on the parking.

        1. re: DavidA

          39 rue de jean, which is the best french restaurant in town, also happens to have the best sushi in town! also they are open late and they're a great place for beautiful people- watching

          1. re: rzadog

            I find that Rue de Jean has gone way downhill. Yes their sushi is very good, but the staff has gotten slack and snooty, it is incredibly loud and the rest of their food has become quite mediocre. Most people I know now actually avoid it.

            And, to get off topic, it cannot hold a candle to La Fourchette in terms of the best French food in Charleston.

            1. re: DavidA

              Rue de Jean is very loud, and very mediocre. Funny, my dad and I had this same conversation this past weekend...Thanks on your advice regarding Tsunami, I shall report back!

              1. re: DavidA

                Rue De Jean is terrible, and that includes sushi.
                I wish someone would update this discussion, there are more than 100 sushi places in Charleston, and I would like to go to one.

                1. re: observor

                  My favorite is Shi Ki, on East Bay St. It's a small, family-owned place, and everything is very fresh and tasty.

                  1. re: DoubleBaconVeggieBurger

                    I endorse your Shi Ki recommendation. I tried the sushi luncheon special today and it was very well done. The hamachi was amazing and the salmon wonderful, the restaurant itself very nice. I will definitely go back.

                  2. re: observor

                    We rarely eat sushi in Charleston. It's one of our favorite meals, but everything in and around Charleston seems way over priced and way under portioned. I've found that around here we either pay double or get half as much as we're used to. It's a shame, as we do love sashimi.

                    With that said, we have enjoyed sushi at Sushi Haru in Mt. Pleasant. We'll also do the tuna & avocado appetizer at Kim's Korean (but we sub salmon for the tuna).

                    Before we moved from NC (Jacksonville) I would regularly get an Omakase sashimi plate which came with 40...count them...FOURTY pieces of fish, soup & salad and a big bowl of rice for $24. I have yet to find anywhere in this area that offers half as much fish for that price. It's a serious shame.

                    1. re: JayL

                      I have had a similar experience here, though I am not too experienced with sushi...I thought that was typical to not get a lot and shell out money. I would love to find one of those Omakase you mentioned. Tsunami downtown was having a Tuesday evening special where it was dollar-a-piece sushi, don't know if they still do it.

                      1. re: observor

                        Ah...the old "dollar-a-piece" and "half price sushi" specials you see dotted around town!

                        From the two experiences we've had with indeed pay half price, but the sushi (usually nagiri when we order) is extremely small. We took for granted that you'd get a normal portion and pay half price. WRONG! Half price means half portions around here.

                        "Omakase" is a menu item you'll sometimes see. Typically, from the places I've seen it, it's a set variety of sashimi and/or sushi. Omakase actually means "Chef's choice" where you leave it up to him to feed you...whether that means a single platter or a full course of meals (from raw fish to cooked food to soups).

                        The Omakase platter I used to get came with five slices each of tuna, salmon, hamachi, white fish, ocotopus, mackerel, and squid, as well as some shrimp. I don't enjoy the shrimp or squid so I ask to double up on the salmon and hamachi (which the chef had no problem in doing as we are good tippers...besides, any sushi chef SHOULD have no problem with custom orders). This was a wonderful meal...albiet a big one. I did one of these every week for some time...and enjoyed every morsel.

                        The only Omakase I've seen around here had 12 pieces of fish (vs. the 40 I was used to getting) for the same price of $24. Talk about a reality check of Charleston pricing!

                        1. re: JayL

                          Did the Tsunami Tuesday special...16 pieces of sushi, 16 dollars. Of the type of sushi I have had i would say it is in the middling category...not very tender, or tasty, but not as bad as it might be. The best I have had was at Nakato in West Ashley, but they have no such specials.

                            1. re: Sue in Mt P

                              Primarily salmon, yellowtail, and tuna, my preferred fishes. The salmon at Nakato was stunning.

                      2. re: JayL

                        Charleston is not Jacksonvile. For that we can all be grateful.

                        1. re: Sue in Mt P

                          Very true statement, Sue. I will give props to J-ville for having the best Thai restaurant I've ever set foot in. I guess that's why I'm not impressed by Basil.

          2. Visited O-Ku, the new upscale sushi restaurant downtown on King St. Complementary valet? Uh-oh. It's getting paid for somehow.

            The interior is nice enough, all black contemporary, though sweeping fish murals sit disconcertingly on the back wall, a bit out of place. The sushi bar is regally at the back in front of the murals, while the large drinking bar commands the up front (the latter seeming to be the vastly more popular) Tables are scattered about liberally, and couches splay before the two picture windows at the front so passersby can know you are paying a shitload for some fish.

            I ate at the sushi bar, which I thought one would traditionally place orders directly with the chef, but a waitress took my order. I ordered the donburi ($18 Japanese rice bowl served with fish or meat, I got yellowtail, of which they had two kinds) and two pieces of nigiri salmon ($5), of which they had three kinds, including Tazmanian (?).

            The donburi seemed to have more decoration than substance. It came with all types of leaves poking out of it, which I never conclusively identified, but I would guess seaweed is among them. It also came with shredded hills of daikon, carrot, and another thing. On the side was a dab of pickled wasabi stem, which was delicious, and your typical splotches of wasabi paste and pickled ginger. I thought this was odd because it was my idea that the wasabi and ginger are meant to cleanse the palate between consumption of fishes, but I had a single fish. Finally I got to the heart of the dish, after much pawing, a mound of rice in a small indentation blanketed by seven slices of whitish fish with a reddish lining. The rice was nothing notable, no particular flavoring or tenderness, and the slices of hamachi were tender, but not exceptionally flavored. The salmon was tasty, as is the case with salmon, but also not that notable, and I have had better, more specifically at Nakato in West Ashley.

            Overall, I thought the food was worth around $15, instead of the $27. This should be no surprise, considering it is owned by the Oak Steakhouse people, who charge a ridiculous $18 for a very typical hamburger and are opening lots of restaurants, which one wonders how they are financing...perhaps overpriced food? I think so. Overall, a nice space, but I'm not perceiving that the fish is worth its upscale prices...I wouldn't even be surprised if they are using the same fish as Wasabi and Tsunami, and simply charging for the nicer surroundings.

            7 Replies
            1. re: observor

              Not surprising. I commented on one of the owners social networking pages about all the overpriced & mediocre sushi in this area...and that there was a serious lack of really good, simple sashimi. His comment was that his new place would be serving simple & affordable sushi. Ha!

              1. re: JayL

                Are you sure they were referring to O-Ku, because I think it characterizes itself as upscale. Anyway, it was neither simple nor affordable, which is why I think most people find themselves at the bar.

                1. re: observor

                  Hence the "HA!" at the end of my statement above. No one can do anything simple or cheap around here. LOL

                  1. re: JayL

                    Oh yeah they can. You just have to know where to look,lol!

              2. re: observor

                To get a book deal you must to two things: stop dropping you participles and do not ever end your sentence with a preposition. Trust me. I have an agent.

                1. re: Sue in Mt P

                  surprised no one has mentioned Sushi Hiro on King Street. Consistently great, fresh sushi for over 10years.

                  Sushi Hiro
                  298 King St, Charleston, SC 29401

                  1. re: Sue in Mt P

                    I have no desire for any input from you at all, food or something else.