Since returning home from four years in the land of sushi (LA), I've tried most of the highly recommended sushi bars in Nashville and can recommend only Koto. The new location on Union Street between 4th and 5th is spectacular. While the variety of fish is sometimes more limited than other sushi bars, it is only because Haji-san serves only the freshest, best-tasting fish. If it's gone off, he won't serve it, honest, and I'll take his fresh fish over the lengthiest list of cream cheese-loaded, mayonnaise-covered, surimi-filled rolls at the other sushi bars mentioned here any day, and I live just three blocks away from one of them. Remember that over-sauced sushi generally is a mask for not-so-fresh fish and good luck!
I like Ichiban, too, but it might be kind of slammed this week/weekend due to CMA Fest doing on downtown.
I'm also a fan of Samurai Sushi on Elliston Place. And, as was mentioned by someone in these forums recently, Sonobana on White Bridge Road is really good, too.
2209 Elliston Pl, Nashville, TN 37203
Sonobana Japanese Restaurant
40 White Bridge Rd, Nashville, TN 37205
2 great options: PM Cafe on Belmont has great sushi, and also other items on the menu for non-sushi eaters (different asian entrees, a burger that was voted best in Nashville by the folks at the Scene, etc.) It also has a relaxed neighborhood envirnoment with a nice patio.
Second -- and I know some of the comments on the boards comment on it being a little on the pretentious side -- is Virago. Time and time again I hear people comment that it is their favorite sushi in Nashville. The owner has done away with a lot of the happy hour specials, etc. that made more of a "scene" and it hasn't been so crazy lately. The fire crunch (spicy cruncy shrimp roll), yellowjacket (mango with yellowfin tuna) are delicious. Like PM, they also have lots of non-sushi items on the menu like great salads, appetizers, fish/steak entrees that you would like as well. It's definitely more of a "hip" atmosphere than anything else, but it really is good and fun if you're in the mood for it.
Tenno on West End has been good lately too; it's a traditional sushi/Japanese restaurant -- not much atmosphere but good food.
Let us know where you end up!
My ex was a manager at Virago before the big remodel a few years ago. Do they still have the Yum Yum roll? Tempura fried sushi with ponzu -- it really fit its name!
I will second the recommendation for Samurai. The joint is tiny, but the sushi is really excellent. A lot of the house specials involve mango and strawberries, and the sushi chefs tend to be very creative.
I only went there once (during an off-time at that), so it may not be consistent, but I had a really great meal at Sushiyobi on Demonbreun.
I second Tenno -- easier to park than Samurai, the people are so nice, the sushi is phenomenally fresh - the freshest I've had in Nashville. (It's still no San Francisco, though). In there last month, though, and their liquor license had been suspended (probably caught serving minors). So if you want sake with the sushi, call ahead to check.
Samurai is also good, but there are only 4 tables, it can be a challenge to park unless you know the area very well, and theres nothing on the menu but sushi. Funnily enough, the owners are Korean and dislike sushi! They run another resto in town, a Korean place in Antioch.