Just curious where the best sushi is- I know about Jensi in Homewood- but it's expensive- and I've read about Ginza on Valleydale -is there anywhere that you chowhounds like in Oveer the Mountain area- My teen daughter and BF really like sushi and have gotten me trying it more and more- Thanks
I really like Maki Fresh and Surin West for sushi. I've not been to the Surin on 280 so I can't speak for that location.
And also, surprisingly, UAB Hospital has started offering Tsunami sushi in the North Pavilion food court. There is some prepackaged stuff, but there's a sushi chef if you want it super fresh or something's that's not on display. They even have rolls with brown sticky rice which ups the fiber quotient. The tuna and salmon have always tasted fresh. Very tasty, IMHO. While it's certainly not destination fare, it's a great alternative to cafeteria-style hospital food.
I disagree that Jinsei is that expensive. If memory serves me, their most expensive rolls top out at $15, which is only around $2-3 more per roll than what you will pay at Surin and most other places. Plus, you are getting high-quality fish for the money. Also, all rolls are only $8 on Sundays, and on Mondays the Kadoma Tuna (best item on the menu) is only $8.
Where Jinsei can get expensive is with drinks/wine, especially the Champagne which I have a real weakness for.
Good beer can go very well with sushi as well. It's a shame that there isn't a single restaurant in town serving sushi that has discovered this. A nice wheat beer of almost any style or maybe a Left Hand Juju Ginger would go awesome with sushi, but there isn't a restaurant in town willing to go beyond the rice-based swill that's the Asian equivalent of Budweiser.
I've had sushi at several different Surin restaurants (B'ham and Huntsville) and it's always been wonderful. I'm quite comfortable recommending them.
I don't get to Birmingham as often as I'd like but there is one place about which I can give a non-recommendation: Sekisui Pacific Rim Sushi. I don't know if they're even still in business but I went there two years ago and it was not a good experience. I wrote about it then and my mini-review (edited for here) is below:
The seaweed salad there was nice but the teriyaki my dining companion ordered was not. We laughingly called it teriyucky. All savory and no sweet does not a teriyaki make. I planned my sushi attack carefully. Light flavors first, stronger flavors later, and a bite of volcano roll at the end was my plan. I decided to have the toro first. I'd never had it before but have been looking forward to it since reading about it on the web. Prepared to be amazed, I took a bite. I was apathetic. It wasn't cold. It wasn't even cool. It was kind of room temperature and the room was kind of muggy - like they were trying to save on the utility bill. Muggy sushi, especially muggy raw sushi makes me nervous. Ever adventurous, I moved forward. I tried the albacore. Albawarm. Spicy tuna? Spicy tepid. The volcano roll was tasty but certainly not traditional. As I told my companion, it made me think, "Funnel cake sushi."
The service was fair, if a bit slow for the crowd. However, our server earned her more than 20% when she noticed which sushi had been left on the plate and I told her that warm raw sushi made me nervous. She went over and talked to the sushi chef. I wasn't trying to avoid paying for our food and think I made that clear. If it had been enough of a problem, I would have sent it back.
All in all, I'd love to have had that particular server anywhere else. Normally, I like to give a restaurant more than one chance but not this time. There are too many fantastic places to eat in Birmingham and there wasn't anything spectacular enough about Sekisui for me to be willing to go back and risk such a mediocre-to-bad meal.
Caveat: If a fellow CHer were to give it a glowing recommendation, I might consider giving it one more try.