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Jan 23, 2009 01:18 PM

Sushi in CT--let's talk about our favorite places

The last thread I read on this topic dated back to '05. I'd like to start a new one to see where everyone's chopsticks are in '09. ;)

Is everyone still hot on Wasabi in Orange? I love Wild Ginger in Orange and don't mind taking a ride for a good meal. Their salad madness is oh so tasty. The name doesn't do it justice--it's spicy tuna and avocado with mango sauce drizzled over it (photo here):

As a Middletown resident, I also love Mikado. Their sushi is fresh and they have some very creative rolls--I like Shogun a lot (king crab roll), Red Sox Roll (spicy scallops inside, spicy tuna outside) among many others. I am also a fan of their tuna tartare (two different kinds) and tuna carpaccio when they've featured it as a special. They recently remodeled and look great--very Manhattanesque. My only complaint is that my coat/clothes smell musty after a visit there (kinda like a basement) sometimes I prefer Oyama in Cromwell (almost as good as Mikado, not much in the way of ambience, but at least I won't smell like the restaurant after a meal). I do NOT like Osaka in downtown Middletown as much--I find their sushi to be kinda fishy so I end up ordering chicken tempura rolls or spicy kani if I go there...or lately I've just been avoiding it altogether.

When I worked in downtown Hartford, I preferred Feng over Koji. It's been a year or more, so I can't provide a recent update, but I used to enjoy both places for lunch.

How about you? Where are you going for sushi and what are your favorite things there? Domo arigato.

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  1. While I was living/working in Middletown, Oyama was my favorite. Their "mini godzilla" was amazing - I don't know if it's around anymore. (was never on the menu, and the godzilla-something that is on the menu is different)

    I only went to Mikado once, long ago. I think my issue was that they were playing country music, which just somehow made everything... less than it should have been. So I honestly can't recall the sushi.

    Higashi in South Windsor has yet to disappoint me, and is my regular choice nowadays. It consistently has the melt-in-your mouth appeal, and the salad dressing (one of my criteria) is excellent.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dugbee

      I haven't tried Oyama in Cromwell, but they have a place in Enfield as well. I have eaten there several times but the last two times were awful! The last time I ate there, I seriously thought I could end up ill. Too bad because it's very close to us and we liked it for a while.

    2. My favorite in the New Haven area has long been East in Orange (never been to Wild Ginger -- if I was going to Orange, no need :-). But I read on another board that East has recently (and quietly) changed ownership, with bad consequences for the food. Any confirmation? Maybe next time I'm in the area I WILL need to go to Wild Ginger.

      8 Replies
      1. re: linguist

        I didn't get any more news about East, so I went there on Friday to check. Yes, it has apparently changed hands: the guys behind the sushi counter are new (and look like they're still in high school, but they seemed to know how to cut fish), and most of the familiar faces were gone -- except one, puzzlingly, but then maybe he's the new owner. I didn't ask.

        Anyway, I'm afraid East is no longer as great as it was. Most things look the same: newly printed menu, but since I don't order off the menu, I didn't check the details. Everything I had was perfectly OK, but not wonderful. Jalapeno kanpachi nicely presented, acceptable, but not spectacular fish. The uni, usually a good gauge of sushi/sashimi, was fresh and firm but without much of the special iodine taste you hope for. Other fish was all above average -- but not as far above average as East used to be. Even the green tea seemed to have changed, and not for the better (East's green tea was so good my wife got them to sell her a 1 Kilo bag of it).

        I guess overall that it's time for me to check out Wild Ginger....

        1. re: linguist

          Have you been to Wasabi in Orange? The old thread had lots of positive feedback about it. I've never been and would like to check it out next time I'm in the neighborhood. I do like Wild Ginger, but was curious about Wasabi since I had read quite a bit of buzz about it.

          1. re: kattyeyes

            Wasabi is nothing if not consistently fresh & good. Since you've probably last been there, they've added fresh wasabi as an option for $1. Be sure to try it if you've never had it before. Absolutely nothing like the usual green paste you've become accustomed to. It has, yes, a delicate nuance that's completely lacking from the horseradish powder you usually get. You can also get any dish or roll with brown rice instead of the usual sushi rice, and I haven't tried this yet (I can't imagine how brown rice can work in a maki roll, but I'm confident in Tom's abilities). The sushi specials menu is always changing, always creative and always worth a try.

            1. re: rbailin

              Thank you so much for the update--it is on my list to get to Wasabi in Orange and I'll definitely try the fresh wasabi. Your last sentence makes me want to get there that much sooner! :) That and the snippet from the restaurant review on their site that says they like to call it "the poor man's Nobu."

              350 Boston Post Rd, Orange, CT 06477

          2. re: linguist

            Over the past few weeks, I've had the opportunity to visit both Wasabi and Wild Ginger as alternatives to East, and while both were quite good, I have to give the nod to Wild Ginger.
            I do like real wasabi (and have ordered the genuine article -- whole roots to grate yourself) from some places on the west coast occasionally. What I had at Wasabi didn't make me homesick for Tokyo (where the fresh roots are a supermarket staple), but it was ok. And Wasabi clearly has the advantage in terms of complex constructed rolls, a category that's pretty weak at Wild Ginger. But the fish at Wild Ginger was all fantastic, while the fish itself (I mostly order sashimi, not sushi, except for unagi and the occasional roll) was ... OK. And that is the point, after all.
            I would add that neither place has much of a sake list, though the junmai ginjo at Wild Ginger was considerably better than the corresponding sake at Wasabi.
            I still regret the old, celestial East. But I won't be sorry to go back to Wild Ginger.

            1. re: linguist

              I'm so glad you posted. Wild Ginger is truly one of my favorites and it's odd to consider it used to be some sort of fast food joint (Burger King, maybe?). Agree that the fish itself has to be the focus. I've been wanting to try Wasabi for quite some time, but it's a ride for me...and sounds like I made the right choice in that neighborhood after all. One of my Wild Ginger top picks is salad madness (silly name, great dish!). Look for it next time you go--spicy tuna tartare with layers of avocado, cucumber, tempura crunch served with a mango sauce and, as my dining companion calls it, a little crispy noodle "fence" on top.

              1. re: kattyeyes

                Wild Ginger used to be the late and sometimes lamented Kenny Rogers Roasters. I remember it vividly even today because of the strange aftereffects of dining there: It was as though the chicken was marinated in coffee grounds instead of being hickory smoked. Hours later it felt as if I had consumed 4 cups of coffee and couldn't sleep to save my life. I did enjoy the meals there, and I was quite surprised that the chain is still going strong and is very popular in the Philippines.

                1. re: rbailin

                  Thanks for clarifying. I've always wondered what Wild Ginger used to be before its "transformation" into the sushi spot I love today. :) Your description of the strange aftereffects from back when reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when Jerry couldn't sleep because of the light from Kenny Rogers Roasters!

        2. Toshi in Simsbury/Avon without a doubt. I live in MA now but still crave that place.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Teraesa22

            I was not overly impressed with Wild Ginger, but having heard good things will give it another try. My favorite is Daiko (jery sans) on Derby Ave in West Haven

            1. re: Teraesa22

              Tera22, if you are ever in the Sudbury area, try Fugakyu on Rt. 20. Bright, clean, consistently delicious and great service. I live in CT now and have not yet found anything even close. But I'm encouraged by some of the suggestions here!

              1. re: katcraig

                Is the Sudury Fugakyu connected to the Brookline Fugakyu?

                  1. re: katcraig

                    I ate at the Brookline Fugakyu a lot in college (though it was still called Kaya for most of my college days). Even though Boston of course had many options for higher quality sushi, I always felt Fugakyu presented the better meal, as a whole.
                    While it is not quite as good, Sushi on Chapel is a similar sort of place. The major difference, for me, comes down to two things. Sushi on Chapel is fairly new, and did not come in to the business at a great time, so they still have kinks to work out. Also, the miso soup is good, but not as good as Fugakyu's. Everything else is, I would say, on par.

            2. I've only been to a couple places in CT, but Mahzu in Norwich is my favorite. They're clean, consistent, and the food and service are both excellent. I go on Sundays for their all-you-can-eat special for $17.99. There are a couple exclusions (red snapper and couple of their special rolls), but it's a phenomenal deal. The only drawback is the's kind of stuck in the side of a grocery store. When I give people directions there, they look at me like I'm nuts, but if you can get past that, it's absolutely worth it.

              5 Replies
              1. re: theferlyone

                Which grocery store? I'd love to find another place closer to home. We live in the area, and for sushi our go-to place is Peking Tokyo in Mystic. A new find is Thai Basil in Danielson - we've only been there once, but the place was packed. Sushi was good, as were the tropical cocktails (try the sake margarita, it's surprisingly good!). We had a few other nibbles but didn't delve completely into the thai food.

                1. re: bakinggirl

                  Have you ever tried Bangkok City on Captain's Walk in New London, down the street from Garde Arts? For the past several years, they're two restaurants under one roof--Little Tokyo and Bangkok City. I love their Thai food (it's among my favorites in CT and has been since the early 90s), but it's a nice bonus to be able to order from both menus, so you can have a little sushi plus all your Thai favorites...especially their tom ka and the chicken with hot chili peppers (is that pad prig sod?). Fabulous!

                  1. re: kattyeyes

                    I haven't been there in ages - for some reason, every time we're in NL around dinnertime my husband has an Irish pub attack...or we head over the bridge to Ortega's for down-home Mexican.

                  2. re: bakinggirl

                    It's on the side of Shop Rite, right on the main drag in Norwich.

                  3. re: theferlyone

                    I'm so happy to have this recommendation! Had no idea there was decent sushi close to the Quiet Corner.

                  4. Three favorite places:

                    Ginza - Bloomfield
                    Maeda - Simsbury
                    Min Ghung - Glastonbury

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Meesch70

                      Agreed with's my favorite too.