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What are the top places to eat sushi in Boston?

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  1. Are you more interested in top-quality fish presented simply (ie. Nigiri and Sashimi) or in creative rolls (maki)? My recs are more based on the former.

    For high end, O Ya and Oiishi South End. Both have top quality fish which can be presented simply, but both offer very creative flavor combinations as well.

    For great nigiri/shashimi at (somewhat) more reasonable prices, I'd highly recommend Cafe Sushi in Cambridge.

    For even cheaper Toraya in Arlington or you can always go Sakanaya in Allston and buy fish to make your own.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Klunco

      i also like Uni which is nearly as expensive as O Ya.

      Yoshi at Sakayana will make good sushi/sashimi for you; I like that better than Cafe Sushi, and Sakanaya is cheaper.

      You can also buy sushi quality fish from New Deal.

      1. re: Klunco

        Good group of recs, Klunco. Have you been to Duozo? . I haven't, but I've been to all your recs and agree with them, and have heard good things about Duozo from posters who seem to share your tastes.
        In particular, I think Cafe Sushi is a really great option that doesn't get enough love on CH.

        1. re: justbeingpolite

          Funny you should mention Duozo; another poster recently recommended it in a recent sushi thread. Since I've never heard anything about it, I did a search and most comments about it aren't that positive, granted they are several years old. Has anyone else tried Duozo recently?

          Cafe Sushi has been our go-to for several years now and it's been interesting to watch their transition. I don't think I would send an everything but the kitchen sink maki lover there, but I find the nigiri and sashimi, fresh, and well presented/prepared. I appreciate that they've started making their own tsuekemono and tomago and that they have started offering a variety of kama (fish collar), even if we've had mixed experiences with it, when it's on its on.

          1. re: justbeingpolite

            I agree Cafe Sushi is a very good option (particularly as it is walkable in less then 5 min for me). Since revisiting CS earlier this year, it is in my regular rotation, especially for lunch. I was at first hesitant at the mention of special sauces accompanying the fish. However the very fresh fish and expertly cut fish is featured with the preparations being very minimal and complementary. A photo of a (partially eaten) recent chef's special sashimi sampler is attached (l-r; smoked sake, madai, maguro, sawara, hamachi). Other specials this week included suzuki, mutsu (bluefish) and santa barbara uni among others). While I think some of the best of Boston claims may be over exuberant, I rarely go to Toraya for lunch anymore with CS right nearby. The chef's special sashimi lunch for $18 is enough to satisfy, however not nearly as much food as Oishii Chestnut Hill's sashimi lunchbox for the same price.

            As far as Douzo is concerned, the fish is generally fresh enough, however we almost never go there or Basho any more. Maybe our tastes have changed a bit, or perhaps it just got to expensive to be of any value. I'd rather spend a few more $ and hit Oishii South End for a truly memorable meal. It's an excellent option to accommodate groups made up of people with both more traditional and americanized tastes. I'm not a big maki eater, and I do enjoy some of their rolls. Still I'd rather go to Fugakyu and get one of their great private rooms for this type of party. Douzo/Basho's surcharge for thinly slicing their sashimi is a constant piss off. If I am spending $100+ on dinner for two, they should do that for free.

             
            1. re: Gabatta

              I need to retract and apologize for my above comment “I think some of the best of Boston claims may be over exuberant”. We recently went to Cafe Sushi for a traditional omakase dinner at the sushi bar, and it more than holds its own with anywhere else Boston. At $70 it shames the omakase from a place like Uni which is nearly double the price. The dinner omakase is really on a different level from the Chef’s Special I normally order at lunch. The fish was all impeccable, and the soft spoken chef Seizi is a true master of his craft.

              I don’t have pictures of everything as I was too busy eating and kept forgetting to take discrete phone snaps when possible, but some photos are attached. The omakase included everything on the specials menu (photo attached), plus a few other courses peppered in. After an amuse, the first dish was a true standout: local scallops paired with Santa Barbara uni in a dashi broth. What followed was a seemingly endless courses of sashimi and nigiri, interrupted only for a bit of delicious madai bone broth with a fried fish head on the side. We were pleasantly full and thought the meal was over, when the coup de grace came out consisting of a trio of ankimo preparations, including one face melting sous vide piece.

              We were honestly a bit overfull when we left, and shaking our heads that this place was right around the corner and we had never done the dinner omakase. It will probably be a monthly occurrence now. We’ll get back before a visit to NYC next month so we can have Cafe Sushi fresh in our minds to compare to our current Manhattan benchmark for traditional omakase (15 East). There was a line out the door when we left on a Friday evening, at least half of whom were Japanese.

              I’ll pay better attention to better to the progression of dishes next time.

               
               
               
               
               
               
               
              1. re: Gabatta

                I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed your meal there. I was curious though how it shamed the omkase from Uni per se.

                From my own experiences with both I don't see how they are the same type of establishment.

                1. re: retrofabulousity

                  Cafe Sushi had a much broader selection of fish, some I had never eaten before (and all delicious). The flavors and progression made much more sense than what I have had at Uni, and there wasn't one "miss" in the entire meal. I found the overall knife work and preparation of the fish superior at Cafe Sushi. Our last omakase st Uni was extremely disapointing (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8565...). Cafe Sushi was superior in just about every way except for physical atmosphere. In general is was a superior meal at half the price. I'm just comparing the omakase offerings, not the overall establishments.

                2. re: Gabatta

                  Thanks to this wonderful post from Gabatta a friend and I had the dinner omakase at Café Sushi the other night. It was pretty mind-blowing, and to my mind an excellent value at $70. We too had everything on the specials board, including a couple of things I had never had before (barracuda is the only one I remember) and they did a wonderful job of catering to my shellfish allergy while giving my DC some lovely shellfish (bay scallops, uni 3 ways, at least one other thing). The pacing and progression were perfect, and the service gracious in the extreme. Toraya is our local place and we will always feel loyal to Shinji-san there, but I can imagine a monthly trip to Café Sushi will be irresistible.

                  1. re: GretchenS

                    It's so exciting to see Cafe Sushi getting more love on this board lately!

          2. I go to Douzo all the time for lunch and like it very much. It's not in o ya or Oiishi's league, though.

            1. I still think Zen is the best price point/quality sushi in the City

              1. went to Basho last night, first time since the winter, and boy have they dumbed down the menu. Instead of the multipage menu with a sheet of specials, it's just a single tall sheet (with drinks on the back). No more grill, no more Hokayaki, many of the special rolls are gone. Manager told me "we still have those as daily specials, call us", but really, I'm not going to call to see what the daily specials are. They sure weren't interesting last night.

                Service was great, the food we got was great, but we found ourselves quite limited by the options.

                Ah well, still ok with a great Groupon, but not worth coming in from the suburbs for otherwise.