Where is the best sushi in Phoenix area?
I started doing a search and came up with a ton of posts!
So I will start another one. Where is the best place for sushi in Phoenix area? The last place I really enjoyed is Ayako at the Biltmore and they closed. :( I did enjoy Shimagamo on Warner.
So, what are your picks??
I've been to Hana seven times and it has been terrific each time. Koji-san presents the sashimi and nigiri very well, but the fish is the star. He frequently offers big-eye and even bluefin maguro rather than the standard yellowfin available in most joints. Hana could easily pass off this tuna as toro, which was sold out the last time I was in. When aji is served, one is presented with not just the standard set but an artistically rendered fish body, perhaps posed as if surfacing or jumping. [I've enjoyed the kama/cheeks of the aji as a bonus.] Hamachi kama is regularly available and is not only delicious -- rich, a little crispy around the edges -- but a screaming good deal. Sets of nigiri sometimes come as three rather than two, and it's not to compensate for the quality of the fish, which is unsurpassed in this area.
Where else in town can you get trigger fish? ... The mirugai I've had is some of the best I've had anywhere, fresh,crisp ... close your eyes and the ocean is yours. The tako/octopus I had on my last visit was sweet, clean and unusally tender.
There are a variety of small, kind jestures -- almost always an amuse bouche, maybe a poke chip one time, a few noodles another, pickled wasabi, a delicious dessert offered gratis ... the best one was one of Mom's favorites, featuring aloe vera juice and chunks.
Hana's vibe is growing, too. There's a good feeling and passion among the folks there that makes for a fun, friendly experience. I believe Hana is the best sushi restaurant in the state. I look forward to trying the regular menu, which is very promising, someday soon.
well, a few things. the chefs at kampai warm up to you. over MANY years :) for instance, certain dishes have been removed from the sushi menu because they take too long. if the chef is in the right mood, he'll make them for people he knows.
there are a certain few secrets i won't share for fear of never getting them again myself... but...
spicy scallops? you won't find better in the valley. agedashu tofu? hands down, can't be beat. soft shell crab roll is amazing....
kampai isn't going to give you rolls named after baseball players or anything involving cream cheese, so if by frilly you mean that, no, this isn't the place. but when someone says "no frills", i think of places like ayako.. where really all you got was really good sushi, sashimi, but very basic. kampai is much more authentic than most of the places around but still offers some american friendly sushi fare.
my advice at kampai is to pay attention to the specials board, sit at the sushi bar, and chat up the chefs. don't sit in front of the new kid (new kid changes every few months). look at what other people are ordering, ask about it. show appreciation, come back often. soon, you'll be in the fold.
To the excellent recommendations above, let me add an endorsement for Sushi Eye at Elliot and Kyrene in Tempe.
I also like Stingray in Old Town Scottsdale. I think it gets lumped in with the Ra / Kona Grill / Blue Wasabi scene, but it's really quite good.
Here are a few more for the list:
SeaSaw...this years James Beard Award Winner
Don't miss Nobuo's Foie Gras Sushi to compliment the meal!
Hiro Sushi in Scotsdale, 90th st and Shea always fresh and Creative.
Sakana Sushi, Large portions, great sashimi 4 Valley locations
We tried to go to Hana last night but they were having a large party coming in so we decided to go to Stingray...I think it's unfair to lump it in to the "scene" restaurant category. After a minor seating dilemma in the bar (thanks to a sake-bombing, obnoxious group next to us), the situation was handled professionally and we were moved to the dining room. The lack of toro was a little annoying, but the Fire Dragon Roll (unagi, krab, cucumber, topped w/spicy tuna and eel sauce) more than made up for it - spicy tuna may be cliche, but who cares when it's so buttery. Since I was with my unadventurous family, we stuck to the standards - california roll w/masago, spider roll, shrimp tempura roll, unagi nigiri - all very good. While it's a little pricier than most, I think it gets an unfair rap sometimes and shouldn't be written off as more style than substance.
We hit Kampai last night and had a great meal, as per usual. Had the baby & our 3 year old one so we sat at a table (which always loses a bit in comparison to sitting at the bar - in our opinion). Nonetheless, it was still great. The very cool thing is that our little one has jumped fully on board so no need to order special for her any longer - though ordering hamachi kama is never a chore. : )
As were we, she was a big fan of the ankimo, the albacore sushi (with Yuki-san's garlic ponzu), and the flounder. The flounder, a daily special, was awesome. Yuki-san served it with shiso, some green onion, radish & either a drizzle of lemon juice or ponzu. Would totally recommend it if a visit is imminent. As with last time, he also had bluefin toro and bluefin maguro on special so we had to get some. He served the bluefin toro also with shiso (as he knows my wife is a shiso freak) which was excellent. Pretty much everything was great as always...cured salmon, yellowtail belly, amaebi, agedashi tofu, hiyayaki (tofu). Yuki-san also sent out a deep fried halibut skelton which was absolutly yummy.
We definitely need to try Hana. And one other that hasn't been mentioned in this thread that we've heard great things about that is on our radar is Yasu Sushi Bistro.
My current favorite is Sushi Ken, on Chandler Blvd east of 40th Street. The interior is nothing fancy; just simple, clean, and somehow more Japanese looking than restaurants that spent fifty times Sushi Ken's decorating budget. The sushi is delicious all around, and the menu items are rock solid too. Prices are an absolute steal.
A few options --
Akaihana (formerly Mr. Sushi) -- a solid standby for almost 20 years, once was the best in town, still serving good sushi and an excellent value -- Northern Ave., just east of the 17 at 24th. Ave.
Kampai -- traditional sushi restaurant, neeighborhood place run by an exacting Japanese chef with high standards. Great food, reasonable prices, Bell Rd. near 29th St.
Sushi Ko -- Scottsdale, Shea at 92nd St. -- Excellent sushi, often offers some relatively hard-to-come-by specials at good prices, neighborhood feel, just a tad more expensive than the above.
Dozo -- downtown Scottsdale, Miller & 6th Ave. Superb fish, talented chef, comfortable surroundings, reasonably priced, well-presented, smaller portions, friendly attentive staff, should be busier than it is, hope they make it, go there, it's great!
Sakura -- multiple locations, including Hayden at Indian Bend and 51st St. and Elliot in Ahwatukee, which I have frequented many times. Decent quality, large portions, poorly presented, reasonable prices.
Sushi on Shea -- Shea at 70th St., venerable, around since the early-to-mid-90s, high quality fish, high prices, indifferent service, shrunken customer base, may not be around a whole lot longer.
Fish Market -- Camelback at about 17th St. -- good fish, high prices, not much art, not worth a long drive.
Zen 32 -- better fish than you would expect, little craftsmanship, slightly cheaper than expected but not cheap, many seats at the bar, okay in a pinch if you live in the neighborhood.
Mishima -- 56th and Thomas -- hole in the wall, family run, been around awhile. Limited menu, good quality, inexpensive, a good place to mix a little sushi with emphasis on another entree.
Shogun -- Tatum near Cactus -- okay, but a little disappointing -- a decent neighborhood option, but not that cheap and nothing in particular to recommend it.
Kyoto -- downtown Scottsdale -- one of the first, a bastion -- I haven't been there in many years -- there used to be a long line to get in -- big place -- based on other reviews posted here, it'st still viable, overlooked. So many other places where the folks brush their hair and talk on the phone while they wait for a seat -- used to be Kyoto, yet they are still there.
I at at a Ra in Scottsdale once about 8 years ago. It was okay, but the music was much too loud. Haven't visited Sapporo or the other newer emporiums to sprout in north Scottsdale in recent times. Apololgies to all the worthy places on the west and southeast sides I haven't patronized -- I live in north central PHX, Biltmore/Squaw Peak area, have to hit my faves plus all the other food out there and at home, too many choices, not enough meals, money, time ... Still looking forward to trying the new place in the hood, Hana ... still looking for the initial euphoria to level off ...
Re: Sakana (as you mention down below, it's Sakana, not Sakura): Last time I went to the one on Elliot in Ahwatukee, my eel was past its prime, cooked to a char and drowning in sticky, cloying sauce. The shabby interior is in dire need of a makeover, too. I don't understand why there's always a line there when Sushi Eye is just a couple of miles up the road, unless it's the prices, as you mention. This is an example of "you get what you pay for."
im a fan of hana, on 7th avenue and missouri..the chef is great, and he'll recommend things for you..on a recent trip he got a delivery of the hugest whole tuna i've ever seen..the whole place jumped to the sushi bar, camera phone in hand..it was kind of cool :D
its pretty new, and still working on their beer/wine license...not sure if their hours or anything have changed recently, but i think they are open til 10 during the week??? i think?? :D