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Aug 12, 2007 04:09 PM

Sushi in Columbus, OH?

I am new to Columbus and am looking for a good sushi place to take my visiting in-laws. Any suggestions?


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  1. The first place that I ever had sushi (long ago) was at Haiku -- in the Short North, and I still hear good things about it. More recently I was at a place in the Arena District, but I can't remember the name, and I'm not sure if it's still around. Perhaps some Columbus chowhounds can help out.

    1. Haiku, in the Short North, is quite good.
      Kooma is the one in the arena district that I think ClevelandRandy is talking about, but I haven't been in there personally. I have had warnings that the sushi is good, but the service is crap.
      Kikyo, over on Riverside Drive is both good and surprisingly cheap, which is a nice combo.

      The grand old men of Columbus Sushi are Otani, over by 161/71, and Shoku, on Grandville Ave. Unfortunately, they both know it, and charge about what you'd expect the biggest and oldest places in town to charge.

      The new kids on the block are "Zen Sushi and more!", a conveyor belt style place that looks pretty fun to try down on North High st., and Sushi Bistro Masa, which is being opened this month over in Dublin by the former owners of Restaurant Hama, which was an amazingly good place for Sushi while they owned it, and (IMHO) has suffered a quality drop since they left. SBM is going to only be open for dinner service at the moment, but it is supposed to expand out more soon. I'll probably go over at some point for a closer look at them and try to post a review. :D

      9 Replies
      1. re: BZArcher

        I would not call Shoku a "grand old man" of Columbus sushi - it has only been in business about 7 years, compared with Otani's 20+. Also, it's not a traditional sushi bar and is more of a trendy, Grandview-style sushi place. I have not had a good meal at Haiku, either.

        My 2 favorites are Otani (and I think the prices are very reasonable) and Akai Hana on Old Henderson (formerly Restaurant Japan). I worked for a Japanese company for a few years and these were the places we went as a group. Sushi Bistro Masa is good, too - I've been there twice and the fish is good and the service is also.

        1. re: Lauren in OH

          Also, Yoshi's on Frantz Road (near Bonefish Grill) is really good. It doesn't have much atmosphere, but the sushi is great and they have some interesting small places that other Japanese places don't. The scallops with asparagus and butter are wonderful.

          1. re: Lauren in OH

            Really? I thought they were more like 12 years - but that still makes them the 2nd oldest place in town, I believe.

            Thanks for the rec on SBM! I work over near Avery Rd. so I'll have to get in there soon.

            1. re: Lauren in OH

              just for the record: the japanese restaurant in the old house on high street just north of lane and osu at northwood and the north cloumbus/rt161 branch of the cleveland-based OTANI are the two grande dames of sushi restaurants in columbus -- we are talking pre-marysville honda factory.

              1. re: mrnyc

                25 years ago when I was in school, the "Japanese Oriental Restaurant" in the house on High St. had a limited Japanese menu and no sushi. The menu was mostly Korean and the place was owned and run by a Korean family. Haven't been there in ages - but they definitely had no sushi until well after Honda moved in.

                Haiku is just O.K. There's an Asian fusion place just east of the Drexel East, also, that's just O.K. (on a par with Haiku near the Drexel Grandview). We usually eat at Hama, only because it's convenient to our eastside commute, but I agree they're not as good as they used to be.

                1. re: fishandveggiesplease

                  i ate there over 25 yrs ago myself. and i lived right next to it on northwood 15yrs ago. i can say for sure they had sushi since at least the very early 80's, which is right there w/ honda's arrival in '82. i believe it was offered before that date, but am not so certain now. definately close to it at least.

                  it may be that OTANI came to town earlier tho or around the same time (they say they are the 1st to have sushi in cols).

                  regardless of exact dates, the point was that both of those offered the first sushi in the cols area.

                  1. re: mrnyc

                    For the record, Otani in Columbus is indeed the first restaurant to serve sushi in in Columbus by a wide margin; the year was 1984; and in fact, Otani in Mayfield Ohio was the first to serve sushi in Ohio and that was in 1978. This can be verified.

                    1. re: mrnyc

                      The owner of what is now known as Japanese Oriental Restaurant was a personal friend of mine, who sold it around 1986. He did sushi but wasn't very good at it. It eventually morphed into the current place, which doesn't do a bad job regarding sushi, and inexpensive. Otani has been around for ages, but has had some internal strife, with changing of several sushi chefs - several good ones left and now I rate it as just average. Especially disappointing was when the new ownership dropped the suki-yaki, which was a personal favorite. Sushi is just so - so there now and I can't vouch for the cleanliness. Check out how dirty the tables and benches are with the new owners.. Haiku is over-rated and expensive, but if you want speciality rolls, go there. Restaurant Japan has been around as long as Otani has, and still rates high in my book, but I haven't been in there since the name change to Aki-hana which is a chain.

                      However, you can't beat the prices of Tenusku market just across the walkway which is carry out sushi, but order ahead, a party tray, and it's definitely first rate. Fact is I'm about to call for a tray now, third time this month.

                      House of Japan in Polaris was expensive and not good. Kaya's on Reed is a Korean place that does sushi, but expensive. Ba Sho in Dublin used to be around 161 and Morse area, but moved. It was ok, when it was there and seems to be Japanese style sushi{more fish}, not Korean style{more rice}.

                      Cafe Shish Kebab off Bethel has the best Turkish-Persian food I've ever had.

              2. re: BZArcher

                Shoku is good, but as stated it's not a traditional style place. But there's usually a good crowd in there and if you're willing to pay the price it's a nice place to take guests.

                Stay away from Zen Sushi and More, at least for now. It seems the staff are a bit confused, and don't know what's going on. Plus, I've had some of ther conveyor belt stuff and some caryy-out, and both were room temperature, very mushy/slimy, and smelled overly fishy. I couldn't finish my order either time. I think they will be better once they get the kinks worked out, including when to throw out stuff already made.

                I've heard Haiku is great, with good food and atmosphere, so that would probably be a good choice.

              3. I live near Haiku and visit frequently. I highly recommend it. If the weather is nice, they have a large and well designed outdoor patio. If you plan to go on a Friday or Saturday evening, you should probably make a reservation. It can get very busy and very crowded.

                1. I probably hit Kikyo the most often. Haiku is great when it is on, but it can also be pretty crappy. There are some Korean owned restaurants that do a Korean/Chinese/sushi menu like the incorrectly named Japanese Oriental on High St just north of campus and Kaya at Henderson and Reed that can be quite good and are good places to go with a group of people. As far as some of the other places mentioned, I prefer Ake Hana to Shoku and Otani.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kura kura

                    Sushi-KO up near crosswoods is another Korean/Chinese/Sushi place. I've been in there and had a fantastic dinner a couple times, but there have been days where they didn't have half of the sushi menu available. (OTOH, I suppose it's better than they refuse to serve fish they don't think fit their quality standards than not.)

                  2. Thanks for all of the suggestions!!!! I will check them out.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: pcohen

                      My favorite sushi place are akai hana, Sushi En, and Basho. The rest are either not good or just too expensive, especially kooma (good food but too expensive and so so environment). Kikyo probably has the best korean side dishes in Columbus :D

                      1. re: Cmhfoodlvr

                        My roommate's Korean, and he refers to the stuff at Kikyo as "Not quite as good as Mom's...but good!" That's really high praise from him.

                        The Korean restaurant across the street from the Bethel Road MicroCenter (whose name I am totally blanking on) is also not bad.

                        I saw that a Korean Barbeque resaurant just opened on Reed Rd. near Alex's Bistro - anyone tried it?

                        1. re: BZArcher

                          I think its called Min-Ga, that place has good food but the price is too expensive -_-