Trying Sushi in MSP
I'm planning on going out for sushi on my birthday in a couple weeks. I've never had it before, but want the best possible experience both because it's my first time trying it and because it's for my birthday. It will just be me and one other person and I would like to go to a place where I can sit at the bar and watch my food be prepared. I'm also interested in omakase (chef's choice) based on a dollar amount. Any sushi restaurant recommendations?
Yumi Sushi in Excelsior. . .it's worth the drive to the burbs. By far, the best sushi I've had in the metro. I've been to Fuji Ya, Origami, Wakame, Sushi Tango, Tiger Sushi (uptown), Bagu, and Raku.
600 W Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55408
3001 Hennepin Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408
222 W Market, Minneapolis, MN 55425
I have been to both locations many times and they have a different atmosphere in terms of sushi bar (both dining rooms are pretty similar, with the Minneapolis dining room feeling perhaps more upscale). Both places produce similar and consistent sushi. I find the St. Paul bar to have more of a cozy, warmer feel while the Fuijiya bar in Minneapolis has a more downtown feel with the concrete floor and industrial decor. It's just a bit more contemporary, I think, but both places usually have a busy sushi bar and friendly, competent chef.
In all honesty, if location doesn't matter and you choose to go to Fujiya, I'd say go to the Minneapolis location, simply because it has more of a "out to celebrate a birthday" sort of vibe. This is also where I first tried sushi! :)
I also suggest that you try the winter roll, if you go to Fujiya. It is by far my favorite roll. It isn't one designed to showcase the ingredients' outright flavor, but has a very interesting flavor and plays with the textures in a delicious sort of way!
Happy trying sushi!
I've recently had a "Super Winter Roll" at the St. P location, it was blue fin, buri, and I think mutsu wrapped around the usual suspects.
My biggest recommendation would to sit at the bar wherever you choose and say, "It's my birthday and this is my first sushi experience", and either let them steer you in the right direction or do all the driving for you.
My favorite is Midori floating World Cafe on lake and Minnehaha. Great food, and options for sitting at the counter and watch.
Midori's Floating World Cafe
2629 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55406
If you're doing omakase; Origami.
Fun, good fish, clean: Tango.
Simple, with other great things to try: Obento Ya
I've been to:
Sushi Tango Uptown
Fuji-Ya St. Paul
Midori's Floating World
Sushi Tango has a really nice happy hour with some great deals on sushi. They will do omakase for a given dollar amount (although I'd imagine you should do at least $25 - 30 worth). Whenever I want to go off the beaten path, they seem to be out of the special / market price stuff. I've been probably 4 times and all were good experiences.
I went to Tiger Sushi Uptown once on the back of a daily deal site certificate. It was a good experience, the sushi was good, and their drink pour was very generous. I don't recall too many specifics besides eating too much.
Midori's is a nice mom n' pop place. The service can be slow, but the food is great. Their Unagi is my favorite bite of sushi in the cities. It's huge and melts in your mouth.
Saji-Ya feels like the Applebee's of sushi. It's just - there. There is nothing remarkably good or bad about it. Well, except maybe the plastic chairs.
Fuji-Ya in St. Paul is my go-to sushi joint. I've been sitting at the bar the last 6 or so visits and I'm now a regular. I get great suggestions, surprises, and service. Their daily special rolls, while expensive at $20, are gigantic in comparison to any others, 10 large pieces, and packed with top shelf stuff. It's also the only place I've had Buri, a bigger, fattier variant of Hamachi (if memory serves), which is a personal favorite. I once had 30 day aged Blue Fin there. I investigated omakase here, but it was just a menu item, for 2, for $85 I believe. Not what I was looking for.
Tha Shanghai Bistro place used be called Giapponese, and it now appears to be Chinese food with a sushi bar? They were voted Best Sushi by City Pages, but they are way out in Woodbury with a confusion business model, located basically in a parking lot to a condo building. It's all very odd.
In Minneapolis, my recommendation for omakase would be Origami. I think they have the most knowledgeable chefs. With 2 people it won't be a problem to get a seat at the bar. If you want a more "hip" atmosphere, I would go to Nami, but I still say the quality of the eating experience will be better at Origami.
Fuji-Ya in downown St. Paul would be my east side recommendation.
251 1st Ave N Ste 100, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Thanks for all the help everyone!
At this point I'm leaning towards either Fuji Ya, Mpls (because it's near where I live) or Origami...
(This is off topic, but I have to share...My boyfriend just booked a couples massage for us to get before going to dinner. Awesome.)
600 W Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55408