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Aug 11, 2012 10:54 AM

Sushi Island - new converts

Three of us went to SI last night. Sat at table, ordered omakase sushi-sashimi assortment, requested focus on the specials. We were completely wowed. Yes, everything was fresh and high quality, but the thing that made it stand out was the composition. How each one-bite combination of fish, dressing, and rice blended so perfectly. Standouts included marinated tuna, marinated and torched sablefish, chopped and dressed aji. Everything at just the right temperature, not too cold, which is especially important with fattier fishes. All very light and clean, yet certain bites had a very intense savory flavor, for which I give the rice much credit.

This is an unflashy, very restrained style, and each bite is on the small side. We were still hungry after we'd finished the sushi and ordered some kitchen specials. Fried spicy octopus, and whiting tempura, both delicious.

We are experienced sushi eaters, generally disappointed with the level available in the Boston area, and were totally raving about this place. The suburban location probably prejudiced me, but I really was not expecting SI to live up to the reviews, and it most certainly did. Total bill with sake $224 before tip, quite reasonable.

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    1 Reply
    1. HOOrah, hoo rah! Living in the great food hinterlands north of boston, this is the only 'better than boston' place we have out here,imo, and we do cherish it. It has some weaknesses (crummy age dashi tofu, rare slips) and occasionally a sushi aficianado will not like it, but for the most part, it gets raves. And we feel wicked lucky. So glad you enjoyed yourselves.

      4 Replies
      1. re: opinionatedchef

        excellent but better than oishi, uni, o ya. That may be stretching it.

        1. re: cambridgedoctpr

          I don't think considering Sushi Island better than the places in Boston is a stretch at all. Junji is a true shokunin. O Ya and Uni aren't traditional sushi places, so there really isn't a comparison to be made (Uni is the pits anyway). I would say Sushi Island is on par with Oishii Chestnut Hill. If I had equal access to both I would alternate between the two.

          1. re: Gabatta

            Exactly. (I like Uni just fine, but it's not a sushi place.)

            1. re: jajjguy

              Sushi Island on a Friday night- Some live jazz, a cold beer, expertly prepared sushi....ahhh.......

      2. Went to Sushi Island last and had another wonderful sushi experience. I started with a nightly special of Aji Tataki which was served in the traditional Japanese method. The whole small mackerel was filleted, the filets were coarsely chopped and mixed with chopped scallions and a bit of ginger. This was all placed on the body of the fish and served. Beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. I followed this with Kenji-san's selection of sashimi which included Toro, exquisitly fresh Uni and Iwashi (Sardine). Followed this with a Negi-Toro Temaki (hand roll) and a Natto Temaki (Fermented Soy Bean hand roll). Drank a small carafe of Momoyama sake. Overall an excellent and authentic dinner and another confirmation that S. I. is one of the best Japanese restaurants in the Boston area.

        1 Reply
        1. re: RoyRon

          i didn't know about that tataki info; I have always special ordered a (no rice)maki filled w/ aji, chopped w/ ginger and scallion and tobiko, as one of my fav maki.(first had 30 yrs ago at Tatsukichi? on State St.)yummo and nice change from other sushi . Ron, i think SI's bread and butter is likely people who don't have the sushi knowledge that you do, so I bet Kenji san is wicked happy when you walk in the door! (though being as reserved as he is, one might not detect that by looking at him.)

        2. The next time you are at S. I. you should ask if the Aji Tataki is available. I am a total traditionalist when it comes to Japanese food and sushi in particular. I avoid the so called sushi bars that feature "designer maki" and other things that you would be hard pressed to find at sushi places in Japan. I really have enjoyed the times I have eaten at O-Ya and Oishii and the Fusion sushi they tend to do there but when I get a craving for sushi I prefer the traditional places like S. I. I have been going to S. I. for years and have brought many Asian clients and friends with me. Many have told me that it is as good as many places in Japan. I hope people continue to go to S. I. so places like it can survive in these difficult times.