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Finest japanese-style sushi in DFW- not interested in americanized rolls. Suggestions?

Hi everyone. I'm relocating to Dallas from NYC in a couple of months.

My neighborhood has GREAT, authentic Japanese sushi and I'm hoping to find the same in DFW.

First, I want to describe what I'm looking for in terms of recommendations. I'm looking for some very specific kinds of sushi restaurants.

I'm looking for places that serve:

1) Japanese style sushi, not fruity Americanized rolls with sauces that do nothing but cover up the fish,
2) Best fresh fish that can stand alone
3) Offers unusual or special seasonal fish when available (ex: fugu, teeny japanese fresh water crabs, fresh Californian uni, etc)
4) Ankimo

So what would be the best place in DFW for this where money is no object (for special occasions)? I'm also looking for a more casual place near Grapevine.

I've already dined at Sushi Zushi in Southlake while on a relocation trip. I had very low expectations but was VERY pleasantly surprised (they did have some traditional offerings and I had their Chirashi). I suspect while Sushi Zushi was good, there has got to be better out there.

I'm having a very tough time finding what I'm looking for on Yelp because most of the customers only comment on the americanized rolls and few reviewers have experience with traditional Japanese sushi and what the quality should be.

Thanks in advance for the recommendations.

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  1. Ahh, you'll want to eat at Sushi Sake in Richardson. Soda San and his wife Noriko have been serving some of the finest and freshest Japanese food in Dallas for many years. It's where you'll see all the Japanese businessmen eating when they're visiting Dallas. They have it all. Giant clam, Ankimo, Uni, Spanish Mackerel, and much more.

    Also, Mr. Max in Irving. It's like being in a little mom & pop restaurant on a side street in Tokyo serving pristine little dishes.

    I also like, Teppo and, Tei An for more inventive, up-market Japanese food designed for the more adventuresome diner.

    http://www.sushi-sake.com
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXHdtd... (Mr. Max
    http://www.teppo.com
    http://www.tei-an.com
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tXvtK...
    (Tei-an)

    3 Replies
    1. re: twinwillow

      Thank You!

      Holy izakaya, Batman, I think Mr. Max is what I'm looking for as far as casual goes. I'm looking at the yelp photos and the pictures of grilled mackerel, smelts and sardines are driving me crazy. If I could afford it I'd be a full time pescatarian- ok maybe not, because I love pork-belly too much which I'm also seeing in the yelp food porn for Mr. Max.

      If Sushi Sake has the rare, seasonal fish I will absolutely give it a try. Are you a regular there? Just curious since you know the owner's names.

      1. re: alkonost

        I've known Soda and Noriko for over 35 years!
        He is, the best! You can always call and ask what he has.
        He used to get fresh (farmed) abalone, too. But, he says it's too expensive now for most of his customers.
        I promise you won't be disappointed!

        1. re: twinwillow

          I've had fresh baby abalone still alive in the shell- one of the best things I've eaten- well worth the splurge too! But not something I see at sushi bars very often.

          Sushi Sake will be one of the first places my spouse and I try when we move to Grapevine. I'm really excited to try all these great places. I will sorely miss my regular sushi joint in my neighborhood, but I'm so glad that I'll be able to have great sushi in DFW as well.

    2. I'll second twinwillow's recommendations and add Yutaka (http://www.yutakasushibistro.com/) and Tei Tei (http://www.teiteirobata.com/) for upscale options.

      2 Replies
        1. re: hypemnd

          Awesome! Thanks so much! That makes a total of 6 great places to try when we move to DFW! Woo hoo!!!!

        2. Just thought I'd let you know, all this anticipation of delightful sushi gave me a wicked craving. So I had to go to my fave neighborhood sushi bar to tame myself. :)

          Now that I have a belly full of toro & kampachi I was wondering which particular dishes or fish varieties from the restaurants you've suggested are your favorites?

          1. Teppo has really good ankimo. Tomi (their sushi chef) gets interesting fish pretty frequently; changes all the time. Of course, get yakitori there as well.

            A drive to Keiichi up in Denton would be worth it for you too.

            10 Replies
            1. re: air

              I was in Denton a couple of years ago and I remember someone else recommending Keiichi- we were going to try it but we were running late and didn't have time to dine there. But it sticks in my memory somehow.

              I went to Teppo's website but found it under construction. I was hoping to see what they had on their yakitori menu, would you know if they happen to have beef tongue and chicken skin skewers?

              I really love ankimo, well, I love a lot of things but if I were on death row that would probably be on my last meal request :) My current neighborhood place doesn't serve Ankimo on a regular basis, it's been a few months since I've enjoyed it and it makes me sad!

              1. re: alkonost

                Their website's a little out of date, yeah. They do have both of those items. Try their facebook page as they do a better job keeping up with it.

                1. re: alkonost

                  They have beef tongue, but I don't remember chicken skin. The chicken liver yakitori is great.

                  If you like tongue, be sure to try the braised tongue at Tei-An, which is TDF.

                  1. re: foiegras

                    Do any places offer chicken tail yakitori?

                    1. re: demigodh

                      You might try Sharaku Sake Lounge. They also have chicken skin and gizzards.

                      1. re: demigodh

                        No harm in asking them for it the next time you come to Teppo.

                        1. re: air

                          And no harm in letting us know when you're going so we can watch.

                          1. re: foiegras

                            Haha, oddly enough I have asked at Teppo. No dice. I've only seen it once in NY but always ask if yakitori is on the menu.

                            1. re: demigodh

                              I've never tried chicken gizzards. How do they taste? Do they have a livery offal flavor or are they a tasty treat that gets overlooked... Like the oyster or the "pope's nose" (the chicken tail)?

                              1. re: alkonost

                                They're not soft like the liver. They're more tough and gristly with a slight, but not strong offal flavor.

                                Although, when I'm stewing or braising a large chicken, I'll throw them in the pan along with the liver, heart and neck, they'll be a lot more palatable after cooking for an hour or more depending on the size of the chicken. I wouldn't use them for frying, however.

                                Side note: I usually saute the chicken livers with a bit of shallot and garlic before cooking the chicken.
                                The chef's, amuse bouche!

                2. I have had good experiences at Sushiism in Carrollton. One of the few places that offered shirako when Dallas got any. They occasionally get Yellowtail belly (Buri Toro) and frequently have specials. Definitely ask for Masa! Danny (Vietnamese) is his apprentice and hammers out all the Americanized rolls but still nice to joke around with. Most of the dishes and sushi selection have been in line with the places mentioned above.

                  http://www.sushiism.com/sushiism/Main...

                  Shirako
                  http://www.thekitchn.com/the-stranges...

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                    Many thanks LH! I haven't tried Shirako yet, although I have been on the active hunt for it. There's an izakaya in a neighboring area from mine that has it when in season, but reservations were so tight I could never get a seat. It also seems I was never at the right restaurant at the right time- they were all sold out or the season had just ended. I'll certainly be relocated to Dallas by wintertime, so I can't wait check out Sushiism especially during shirako season. I love buri toro as well, so it looks like it will be a win/win situation :)

                    1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                      I went online to check on Sushiism's hours and discovered that it has closed :( Doh! Anyone know why the restaurant closed down?

                      1. re: alkonost

                        If I had to guess, I'd say their efforts were too sophisticated for the neighborhood.

                        1. re: alkonost

                          Yep it was just not a good location. it was really to bad that they closed.

                      2. Wanted to thank everyone again for all the GREAT recommendations on this thread and taking the time to answer all of my questions.

                        I can't wait to move to DFW, from the sound of it I will want for nothing when it comes to great sashimi and izakaya Japanese food.

                        This thread makes me so hungry I've been giving my fave neighborhood sushiya a lot of business as of late. I am really going to miss that place even when I move to DFW, so many great meals... Like crunchy deep fried Japanese aji bones... *DROOL*...

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: alkonost

                          Sushi Robata hasn't been mentioned yet, so you could also give them a shot. They had a big izakaya menu relative to other restaurants in the area, but they aren't a full-on izakaya type place like Mr. Max would be.

                          1. re: air

                            Sushi Robata is great. They have the small japanese crabs mentioned in the original post. I also really like their Chawanmushi (savory egg custard).

                            They also carry Calpico which I haven't seen anywhere else. It's a very different type of drink that's popular in Japan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calpis

                            Menu is quite large: http://www.sushirobatadallas.com/Kush...

                            1. re: Webra1

                              Thanks for reminding me. I haven't had chawanmushi
                              for ages. I love it and used to order it every time I ate at a sushi bar.

                              1. re: Webra1

                                Yeah, Robata's chawanmushi is very good. Hey Webra, FYI on that drink, Shop Minoya in Plano keeps that in stock. I think there are off-brand versions at the various Asian markets too.

                                1. re: air

                                  You can find Calpico at most Asian grocery stores. What you can't find, and I have been looking for years, is the carbonated Calpico (yoghurt flavor) which is amazing and seems to only be available in Thailand. I would be eternally grateful if somebody knew where to get that. Has to be carbonated version though, the non-carbonated one is readily available.

                            2. re: alkonost

                              I generally agree with the recs so far but - there is a little shop on markville (right off 635) called Kazy's. They mostly wholesale fish to restaurants in town but they have a sushi bar and japanese grocery in there too. Very small. The sushi however is the most like what I've had in Japan of anywhere I've been in DFW.

                              1. re: marsapalto

                                Most of us here are probably familiar with Kazy's. Kazy, the original owner, died a few years ago. I haven't been back since. I do remember him having good sushi of the "standard" variety. And best of all, it was very inexpensive!

                                It's also a good Japanese market for non-food items. I still have some lovely bowls and plates from there.

                                1. re: twinwillow

                                  Oooh plates and bowls! Good to know, I will need those since I'm not taking any dish-ware with me from NY.

                                  Natto... Check...
                                  Sushi... Check...
                                  Kewpie mayo.... check...
                                  Dishes... Check!!!!

                                  Do they happen to carry studmuffin tofu or johnny tofu?

                                2. re: marsapalto

                                  I heard about Kazy's being a great store. I will be stopping by to stock up on a few things once I've moved in and am ready to supply my pantry. Can't wait to try the sushi, I'm always looking for an excuse to eat some.

                              2. I'll add as well Teppo. I've been going for many years and have never been disappointed. Tommy does the omakase and it is amazing. Tei An is good as well. The owner there "Teach" used to own Teppo but started up Tei An and left it in the hands of Masa. (Also, I might have spelled these names wrong. I'm not sure how to spell Teach's real name but he just goes by Teach).

                                1. I'm headed to Dallas tomorrow :)

                                  With regret I won't be able to try all of these places, but I will be sure to report back on the ones I'm able to try. I'll make a push to visit Mr. Max and Sushi-Sake, but I get the feeling hubs is going to want to eat at Sushi Zushi again because it's right by the hotel... Oye... Not that it was bad, i just want to branch out :)

                                  While I'm tempted to try and eat nothing but Japanese food during this trip, I'm sure you've noticed the tex mex thread of mine, I'll be checking out some recommended tex-mex and mexican food as well.

                                  Although my hubs and I have made it a tradition that our first lunch in DFW be Chick-fli-a.... I wish we had them in NYC.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: alkonost

                                    ....... Looking forward to your reports.

                                      1. re: twinwillow

                                        Yay! This means I can twist hubby's arm into going somewhere else!

                                        1. re: alkonost

                                          Sushi Zushi is one of the better sushi places in town in my opinion - it has both more traditional and crazy americanized stuff. But basically, the quality of the fish is good and consistent - it is definitely not Sushi Sake but for in town it's one of the better options, alas. I especially like their chirashi. In fact that's about the only thing I usually get there (and ume shiso rolls which hardly anyone has on the menu, though you can ask of course). Plus they deliver. That story (above in twinwillow's post) is crazy - I do they open back up!

                                          1. re: marsapalto

                                            It's funny you mention the chirashi, that's what I ordered when hubs and I dined there a few months ago during our last visit to DFW. I was pleasantly surprised with how good it was, the fish quality was on par with good mid- price range sushi restaurants in NYC. When we first scoped out the menu, we didn't have high expectations because of all the american style rolls, but that changed when we tasted the fish and hubs was pleased with the Sake menu as well. We thought Sushi Zushi was very good, and hubs was a bummed-out about their temporary closing coinciding with our visit.

                                            I was on the hunt for more authentic Japanese style restaurants, especially since I'm on a lookout to replace our current favorite neighborhood sushiya (with a former Masa itamae at the helm) with an equivalent in DFW once we move from NYC.

                                    1. Well I'm back, my trip was a bit disappointing because hubs vehemently objected to driving outside of Grapevine and Southlake for Japanese food. Since he was the one driving most of the time, he had veto power.. grrrr...

                                      I want to reiterate how disappointed I was that I didn't get to try any of the recommended places. But I'll be back in October when I move into my apartment!!! woo hoo!

                                      1. Mr. Sushi in Addison is my go-to, but someone on here will flame me for it, so allow me to explain:

                                        They have excellent fish, seasonal variety, ankimo (in season), great uni, etc. BUT they treat regulars and newbies very differently. If you've been going there for less than 5 years, you probably get the shaft. YMMV, but I'm on year 15th and I have rarely had better.

                                        Since you love Japanese, you MUST go to Tei-An in One Arts Plaza in downtown Dallas. It's a soba house, but they do have excellent pressed sushi and omakase. The food is out of this world. This place has no business being in Dallas at all, but we are very lucky to have them. They make their own soba as well. Try the fried snapper head with shishito peppers. It's last meal good. AND they occassionally have things like grilled chicken hearts, so you might be in luck with the gizzards!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: tonybites

                                          I already mentioned the braised tongue above ... the other dish I think is really great at Tei-An is the green soba with braised BBQ beef. I really like their extensive specials + extensive menu (even so, I've had both of these multiple times). Oh, the buckwheat risotto with mushrooms and I believe bacon is pretty fabulous as well. And the buckwheat tea ... monastic yet luxurious due to the great tea cups.

                                        2. A couple nights ago hubs and I went to Mr. Max.

                                          We haven’t been too dazzled with the Japanese restaurants in Grapevine/Southlake/Hurst area (some experiences were good but not great) due to that I think my spouse was setting his expectations too low for Mr. Max. He expressed some trepidation upon first glance and was hesitant to order anything after being seated, so I took over and handled the ordering for the two of us.

                                          Takowasabi (raw baby octopus in a slightly sweet/hot wasabi sauce)
                                          Shishamo (grilled whole smelts)
                                          Tanshio (grilled beef tongue with salt)
                                          Burikama (grilled buri collar with salt)
                                          Sanma (grilled mackerel pike with salt)
                                          Kaki Fry (fried oysters)
                                          Oyakodon (egg and chicken over rice)
                                          Hotaruika shiokara* (small whole squid fermented with viscera)
                                          Beer & Shochu (sadly not for me, I was driving!)

                                          First up was the takowasabi. While my husband found a piece that hadn’t thawed completely, it was otherwise very good. I’m not a fan of tako in general, but my spouse enjoyed it very much (despite finding a small piece of octopus that was still slightly frozen) and I preferred this preparation to the cooked tako I’ve eaten at other sushi bars. The raw baby octopus was softer than cooked tako while retaining a pleasant amount of chew and jelly-like texture. The sauce was slightly sweet with some red pepper and a strong amount of wasabi.

                                          The shishamo was just a touch dry, but the roe inside was a pleasant treat and we’d gladly order this again. We gobbled these up, including the heads and tails.

                                          Tanshio- wonderful earthy beef-tongue flavor, but sadly a teeny bit overcooked making it a bit tougher than expected.

                                          Burikama- I was happy to see this on the menu. In NYC we usually see hamachikama (same fish, younger age) available instead, which means less meat to share between 2 people. The larger burikama meant that I didn’t have to fight my husband to the death over a few morsels. This was grilled perfectly: it had the right amount of salt and char from the grill, and the meat was deliciously fatty.

                                          Sanma- I’d only enjoyed it raw in the past so I was looking forward to eating it salt-grilled. Like the burikama it was prepared very well, but I was unaware that the intestines inside would ooze so much bitterness into the meat so I didn’t remove enough of the flesh from the bones before those bitter juices seeped into the cooked flesh- lesson learned for me. The flavor of the meat that had gotten saturated was too strong for me, otherwise it was great and hubs and I each ate an eye.

                                          Kaki fry- Very crispy, not too oily, but the oyster type (gulf) isn’t our favorite. Nevertheless this was a good fried oyster, better than we’ve had at local seafood restaurants in Grapevine.

                                          Oyakodon- I was in the mood for comfort food and it delivered. The eggs were very nicely cooked (soft, very slightly runny which is how I like it).

                                          *Shiokara- The owner behind the sushi bar notice that we gobbled up the takowasabi, and he very kindly offered us a small dish of shiokara (on the special Japanese menu). While I’m familiar with it I’ve never ordered it since seafood fermented in guts is skirting the edge of my comfort zone. But I’ll try anything once, and I trust that Itamae would not lead me astray. The good: I loved the texture- slippery, silken, almost like overcooked cartilage just before it dissolves. I was surprised by the flavor, the gastric juices weren’t as dominant as I expected, but you do get a livery and pepsid-like finish. The bad: none really, I enjoyed it and would eat it again although I wouldn’t say it’s a new favorite. I’m very grateful I had the chance to try something new.

                                          In summary: we loved Mr. Max, and found it to be very authentic. I was elated that there were no California rolls to be found on the menu. Other than some issues with thin cuts of meat and smaller fish items being prone to slight overcooking, the flavors of our dishes were very good or excellent. As for the slightly frozen piece of octopus in the takowasabi, that’s not a big deal for us (if we were at a fancier place at a higher price point we might nit-pick). Unless you’re right by the coast we expect some of the seafood to be frozen.

                                          My only complaint is that the specials menu is only in Japanese (I was expecting that from what I've been told), though the waitress was happy to translate for us.

                                          Many thanks for the recommendation for Mr. Max. We enjoyed it very much and we'll be returning. It reminded us of some of the small/local Izakayas in NYC. In time we'll be trying more of the other recommended places. Next weekend we might be headed to the zoo, I'm going to see if I can swing by Teppo.