The history of Japanese sushi dates back to the 700s when farmers used to ferment meat with salt and rice. The utilized rice was regarded as useless and discarded. This was the main method of preserving perishable products without using modern means such as refrigeration. Japanese started to use the rice in the original recipe of sushi, only starting from the 1300s, during the period of Muromachi. They served raw fish wrapped with rice that later became one of the icons of Japanese cuisine.
Firstly, sushi as a complete dish has been introduced to the Western world only in the 1900s, with the Japanese migration flow. However, Western people weren't eager to eat raw fish. Japanese food's tendency became increasingly popular in the US only after World War II. Firstly, sushi bars and small eateries started to serve national food for Japanese travelers and businessmen.
Today, more than 25.000 Japanese restaurants in the US serve not only sushi but also other Westernized varieties. Let's have a look at the best sushi spots that we have found across America.
Akiko’s (San Francisco, California)
Akiko’s restaurant, located near Union Square in San Francisco, offers traditional Japanese cuisine. This is not a restaurant but a small eatery with a relaxed ambiance. Akiko's serves a wide variety of Japanese seafood dishes, including sushi, sashimi, and omakase options. If you are looking for fresh food for a traditional Japanese experience, Akiko’s restaurant is a must-visit place. But remember, coming earlier or making a reservation is always a good idea not to wait for a long time for a vacant seat.
Bamboo Sushi (Portland, Oregon)
Bamboo Sushi is a Japanese restaurant featuring both traditional and modern types of Eastern fare. The menu offers not only classic sushi or nigiri but a wide range of classic Japanese food, such as ramen soup and octopus sashimi, that will definitely baffle your taste buds. The restaurant's interior presentation, along with the freshest seafood flavors, makes a real sense of Japan.
Cafe Sushi (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
At first glance, Cafe Sushi is not a place that specializes in Japanese cuisine. However, don't hurry to judge the book by its cover as this fine restaurant offers seriously good food at a reasonable price. Cafe Sushi is a tasty Bento for raw seafood lovers, featuring an impressive selection of tempura roll, omakase, and nigiri. Located near Harvard Square, Cafe Sushi is a good option to give a taste of traditional Eastern food far from Japan.
Hashiri (San Francisco, California)
Hashiri is a casual spot for sushi in San Francisco featuring modern Japanese cuisine. The restaurant serves three different options for omakase, ranging from $175 up to $500. Traditionally, the omakase is known as the transfer of choice when the customer leaves the choice up to the chef. Apart from traditional Japanese flavors, you can also add some exceptional hints like sturgeon caviar or truffles. This restaurant is not a cheap one, but you are highly recommended to experience food served at this Michelin star-worthy restaurant if you have a thick wallet.
Kai Zan (Chicago, Illinois)
Chicago’s Kai Zan, founded by twin brothers, Melvin and Carlo, is a seafood eatery offering an entirely exceptional sushi experience. Aside from common omakase deals, you can get absolutely amazing features of creativity, such as angry crab, scallop wrapped in salmon, and polenta bites. The good quality of the food and service justifies the Bib Gourmand award honored by Michelin. The enthusiasm of two brothers has grown into an inspiring sushi experience that is one of the best across Chicago.
Masa (New York, New York)
Masa restaurant is known as one of the most expensive spots for seafood in New York. More than $500 for one person, this is the approximate cost you need to pay for omakase at the Masa restaurant. This is a place to get acquainted with Japanese cuisine and culinary discipline, but also a chance to get a trip to a traditional art gallery. Masa is a three Michelin-starred eatery that is worth a special journey once you are in New York City. Remember to make a reservation in advance to have a table available at a restaurant.
Mizumi (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Looking for creative Japanese fare and comfort food in Las Vegas? Mizumi, located in Wynn and Encore, may be a great option to start your food adventure. The menu offers relatively higher prices, but multi-course menus and chef's tasting menu, it's going to be all worth it. This culinary dream, created by Steve Wynn, is a good spot to taste some sushi and experience an imaginative and authentic Japanese cuisine at the same time. Overlooking Mizumi and Tryst waterfalls, Mizumi restaurant stands as a unique spot for dining opportunities in the land of the rising sun.
Morimoto (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Masaharu Morimoto, well-known as an Iron Chef, is one of the iconic faces of traditional Japanese cuisine. His restaurant, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, called Morimoto, is one of the best proofs of his proficiency.
Morimoto is the right place to go for Japanese inspired dishes, such as Udon, Ramen, Wagyu Carpaccio, including impressive selections of sushi and fresh seafood. You will definitely be a fan of their menu. But in case you don't want your own journey, the omakase menu would go over so well. Don't miss out on yellowtail tartare, as it's one of the best in this restaurant.
Morio's Sushi Bistro (Honolulu, Hawaii)
If you are looking for the best of relaxed and comfy places in the US, you need to visit Honolulu, Hawaii. This is not the place to look for fancy and luxury spots to dine in; all you can get is carefully prepared food made of fresh and quality ingredients. Morio’s Sushi Bistro is a good dining place with a humble interior that offers to enjoy freshly made sushi with cold sake. You will be impressed by the taste of homemade dishes, plus you will get an exquisite sushi experience for a reasonable price.
O Ya (Boston, Massachusetts)
Words “Boston” and “sushi” seem pretty unusual when you put them together. However, don't hurry to exclude this location from the list of seafood spots as the restaurant O Ya may cardinally change your mind. If you want to get more than a traditional sushi experience, this restaurant is a must-visit-place. They add some artistic spins using fresh ingredients that can ever be found. White truffle nigiri, nigiri de foie gras, Japanese Barracuda nigiri, these are all exotic dishes you can get in this restaurant. Whether you prefer to choose your own seafood adventure or decide to go for omakase, you will have the best of traditional Japanese fare.