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Sushi/Japanese recs in NE Ohio?

Hi, all. Looking for a good place to enjoy some high quality Japanese food in NE Ohio. Mostly looking for really good sushi, but also things like nabeyaki udon, good teriyaki and tempura, takoyaki, and shabu shabu.

I'm not terribly impressed with Sushi Rock (failed to cut up my chicken breast and send along teriyaki sauce on a take out order) or Pacific East (nigiri by the individual piece rather than pairs? and treating an individual diner like some sort of hastle), though I know these are the two most rec'ed places. I'm pretty much willing to travel as far west as Elyria, east as Mentor, and south as Cuyahoga Falls.

Thanks!

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  1. If you ever make it down to Columbus, some of the best Sushi I've ever had is SushiKo at Crosswoods -- I-270 & 23. It's back in a funny strip wedged between a BW3 wings place and Panera. Right by the movie theater. Great date night -- SushiKo and a movie. Everything is so fresh -- yumm!

    1. It is not a Japanese restaurant, but Parallax in Tremont has a very high quality sushi bar.

      1. I've heard good things about a couple other restaurants in Columbus. Sushi Hama is one. And I've heard good things about a place near Toledo called Japan West.

        In Cleveland, I've always liked Pacific East. I'm a pretty good customer but I've never seen them be anything but polite to anyone else either. I frequently see individual diners at the sushi bar which is where I prefer to sit in any case. I enjoy talking to Freeman. Individual pieces of nigiri make it easier to mix and match. It's been so long since I've eaten anywhere else that I've forgotten how annoying paired nigiri was. It's also the practice at the new Sasa Matsu on Shaker Square. I think it my be common at pricier Japanese restaurants. I stay away from most of the cooked Japanese food but I liked the curry chicken and I love all of the cooked Malaysian food. Anyway, Pacific East is the only restaurant I've been to that is consistently fresh. They make it seem so easy that I don't understand why they're the only ones. It may be worth it to give them a second chance.

        That said, you might enjoy Sasa Matsu. I was pretty happy with my tonkatsu but I was disappointed in a couple other things including the sashimi and the fries they're so proud of. There's also Shuhei. They were my pick for best sushi before Pacific East. I never ventured into the cooked food very far but I had their signature steak a few times and it was always (grislty but) delicious.

        Aside from that there are some more restaurants that I haven't tried or that will be opening soon. Fujiyama on the West side. Ariyoshi will be opening "in December" near Cedar-Lee. I remember specifically reading that they'll have shabu shabu. As far as I know, they'll be the only restaurant in Cleveland. I'm looking forward to trying it as I've never had it. Also opened recently (soon?) is Flying Cranes on Larchmere near Shaker Square. They will have British and Japanese food. Interesting mix. It's a small, small space so I don't know how extensive their menu will be. The last time I stopped by I was expecting them to be open already but they weren't. They said they were shooting for Thanksgiving so they should be open by now.

        3 Replies
        1. re: stuart

          Howdy Stuart,

          Do you know who is opening Ariyoshi?

          1. re: luckygirl

            Don Park, the owner of Daishin. "Diners can expect sushi, Japanese and Korean specialties, and tabletop items such as shabu-shabu and bulgogi. He's shooting for a December opening."

            http://www.freetimes.com/stories/15/2...

            That space was where Shujiro used to be. I never ate there but I guess it's a significant piece of sushi history in Cleveland. It's also were Cena Copa used to be. I only ate there once. It's the earliest meal that I can still remember. Calimari and steak. Since then I've been something of a Michael Herschman groupie. I never got a chance to eat at Lockkeeper's while he was in charge though.

            I never ate at Daishin either so I can't really factor that into my expectations. I'm looking forward to trying Ariyoshi. I've never had shabu shabu and there's not much local competition in either Korean food or non-sushi Japanese food.

            1. re: stuart

              stuart re shabu-shabu: go on a cold day, its great for that, but prepare to be underwhelmed.

              CENA COPA, now there is a blast from the past.

        2. so how's ohio's original sushi restaurant doing these days? yes i am talking about OTANI. anyone been there lately?

          1 Reply
          1. re: mrnyc

            Otani's is just as good as you remember it, maybe better!!

          2. If you're going to be on the west side of Cleveland, I'd recommend Ohashi in North Olmsted. The focus there is almost entirely sushi, and I've always had very high-quality fresh fish there. Downtown, I like Ginza. It gets neglected in favor of hipper, glitzier spots like Sushi Rock and Sunset Lounge, but I've never had a bad meal there, and it has a very comfortable atmosphere. I also agree with everyone who recommended Pacific East.