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May 31, 2010 03:16 PM

Birmingham -- Chuck's Fish

I went to Chuck's Fish on Saturday for some sushi. I'll add it to Jinsei and Ginza as the better places to eat sushi in town.
The fish all was very fresh-tasting and well-prepared. I started with sashimi -- the appetizer that included tuna, salmon, yellowtail, conch and boiled octopus. All were very good, especially the salmon and conch.
Next was nigiri. Although I was told they were out of mackeral, one of the chefs brought me an order -- gratis -- after I had been served my nigiri.
A very good sushi chef once told me you can gauge the quality of a sushi bar by its mackeral, and this was very good. The marinade brought out the buttery qualities of the fatty mackeral, which wasn't fishy as it is at some places. Although it's not a fish many Americans like, the Japanese adore it -- and for good reason.
I was not impressed with the soft-shell crab roll, but the conch roll (called a Dharma roll, for their sister restaurant in Pensacola, Dharma Blue, which I like) was mighty tasty.
All that went well with the milky sweet cold unfiltered sake I ordered, plus a little lagninappe that the restaurant was pouring.
Chuck's is not quite as expensive as Jinsei, nor as intricate. It may not be as authentic -- nary a Japanese or Korean person behind the sushi bar -- as Ginzei. But it was a mighty enjoyable evening and I look forward to returning.
Chuck's is near Greystone, up on the hill. I think that's where the Prairie Fire Grill once was. Fans of the once-great (now closed) Kimono will recognize the plaza.

5291 Valleydale Rd Ste 101, Birmingham, AL 35242

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  1. Sounds great! I used to really enjoy the sushi at Taste of Thailand on Lorna Rd in Hoover but it's been so long there I really can't make a good recommendation. I've been to Jinsei but it didn't make a big impression one way or the other. These days, sushi at Surin in Crestline is making me happy.

    Thanks for mentioning that Kimono had gone out of business; I ate there a couple of years ago and didn't even realize they weren't around anymore.

    Got to love a sushi place called "Chuck's Fish" - I'll try to get over there this week or next, thanks to your nice review.

    3 Replies
    1. re: deepfriedkudzu

      The best time for sushi at Taste of Thailand was when they first started offering it in 2001. The original sushi chef is the guy who set up Surin (which is decent), and he made the best spicy tuna roll I'd ever had. He made his own eel sauce and taught me how to make seaweed salad.
      I may have had my best Japanese meals ever at Kimono, including an omakase that the chef, Leo, pulled out some of the stuff they only served Honda executives when they came to eat. I even loved the natto -- which is this really stinky fermented bean paste that is not suited to many Western tastes.
      Chuck's apparently is named for a white guy from Birmingham who spoke out against the 16th Street Bapatist Church bombing and later as a UA trained lawyer argued severallandmark civil rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

      1. re: deepfriedkudzu

        I wouldn't call Chuck's Fish a "sushi place" any more than I'd call Surin a "sushi place." It's a seafood restaurant that has sushi.

        Chuck's Fish
        508 Greensboro Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

        1. re: bovinekid

          Thanks for straightening that out, bovinekid.