Some people become downright fanatical about their sushi. With good reason, though, since well-prepared sushi provides a healthy indulgence that’s beautiful to look at. The combination of flavors and textures in your mouth – crunchy cumbers, spicy sauce, the crunch and saltiness of seaweed – give the tiny packages a big payoff. For elitists, some of the best sushi is also expensive – one restaurant in Los Angles runs $1,000 for two diners.

East Coast

  • Soto, New York City: If you’re looking for a hidden treasure, Soto in the West Village fits the bill. For one, no sign denotes the restaurant’s front door. For another, the dining room seats only 42 people. However, the proprietor, Sotohiro Kosugi, is a third-generation sushi chef. He hails from a northern-Japanese village that he boasts features “more fish than people.” Soto serves fresh sushi specialties Monday through Saturday and offers a wide variety of artisanal sakes. 357 Sixth Ave., 212-414-3088
  • Makoto, Washington, DC: Diners looking for
  • an authentic experience should head over to Makoto in Georgetown. Guests of the 25-seat establishment exchange shoes for slippers in the foyer and make few choices in the chef-designed 10-course menu. No cellphone calls are allowed, and strong cologne and shorts are likewise banned. With soft jazz playing in the corner, this is a classy sushi bar. 4822 MacArthur Blvd. NW, 202-298-6866


  • Tomo, Atlanta: Chef-owner Tomohiro Naito recently moved his restaurant from an Atlanta strip mall to the glamorous Ritz-Carlton Residences. The sushi restaurant, which achieved cult status in the strip mall, continues its tradition of fine culinary techniques not only Japanese but Italian and French as well. Naito, who worked for years at the prestigious Nobu in Las Vegas, serves peak-fresh fish over puffs of perfect rice as well as several creative examples of fusion cuisine. 3630 Peachtree Rd. #140, 404-835-2708
  • Makoto, Miami: Makoto Okuwa is a sushi chef for celebrities, though foodies are very welcome in his Bar Harbour restaurant. Okuwa mentored under Iron Chef Morimoto, of Food Network fame, and even appeared next to him on the show. He brings 20 years of experience to his restaurant. Besides using ultra-fresh local fish, Okuwa also receives shipments straight from Japan. The star chef even offers beginners’ lessons on proper sashimi enjoyment . 9700 Collins Ave., 305-864-8600


  • Nobu, Las Vegas: This iconic sushi restaurant is featured at The Hard Rock Hotel and a new venue at Caesars Palace. Nobu at The Hard Rock Hotel is the more homey of the two, offering tasting menus geared towards master chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa’s specialties. Yet both restaurants offer fine dining with traditionally austere décor and pristinely-prepared seafood. Besides immaculate, beautiful sushi, Nobu offers a surprising fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine. 4455 Paradise Road (inside the Hard Rock Hotel), 702-693-5090
  • Sushi Sasa, Denver: Another disciple of Iron Chef Morimoto, Sushi Sasa chef Wayne Conwell has managed to beat longtime Denver favorite Sushi Den for top marks. Sushi Sasa offers spot-on creations of omakase tasting menus, highlighting both modern and traditional dishes. Conwell’s sushi is a true work of art, with every piece given scrupulous attention to maximize the fish, flavors and textures. 2401 15th St., 303-433-7272

West Coast

  • Sushi Ran, San Francisco: This Sausalito staple of 25 years offers the freshest fish, handpicked from a Japanese fish market or caught locally. Sushi Ran’s cult following includes over 1,000 members in its sushi lover’s club. Chef Scott Whitman creates a top-notch array of sushi and rolls. Whitman also cooks traditional Japanese dishes and not-so-traditionally Japanese desserts such as Bananas Foster and crème brûlée. 107 Caledonia St., 415-332-3620
  • Urasawa, Los Angeles: While dining at the traditional Urasawa in Beverly Hills might be cheaper than flying to Japan for sushi, the experience is an indulgent one. The sushi bar seats only ten diners who remain up to five hours. Omakase and other menus cost hundreds of dollars per guest, but fans swear the artistic, personally-prepared meals are worth every penny. Chef Hiroyuki Urasawa flies in rare, organic ingredients from Japan and around the world then prepares the delicacies right in front of patrons. 218 North Rodeo Dr., 310247-8939

No matter which part of America you are in, fresh, delicious sushi is within reach. Try one of the popular spots named here, or ask the locals for a recommendation. Fanatical sushi lovers are well-informed, and don’t mind sharing their knowledge.

Featured images:

-Brandon’s a travel writer working with the Hard Rock Hotel.

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