Sushi bars and restaurants have become some of the most successful restaurants in the United States. Offering some of the world’s top cuisine, sushi joints now number above 4,000, according to the most recent statistics from IBIS World. While it is undoubtedly a good thing that local sushi restaurants have become so ubiquitous, their prevalence makes it extremely difficult to tell the best sushi restaurants apart from the rest. If you’re inundated by what appear to be fine sushi restaurants all around you, here are three ways you’ll know if your local restaurants are deserving of being counted among the best sushi restaurants in the country.
How to Tell the Best Sushi Restaurants from the Worst
- Look at the Menu
- The Restaurant Doesn’t Smell Like Fish
- The Best Sushi Restaurants Put Rice First
For Tofugu, a popular Japanese culture and language website, one of the simplest ways to tell whether you should bother with a sushi restaurant is by looking at the menu. If the word “teriyaki” appears a little too liberally or the restaurant offers any burger with a Japanese name slapped onto it, chances are you’re at a bottom tier sushi place.
As My Sushi Set, one of the web’s most popular guides to making sushi at home, suggests, the best sushi restaurants don’t smell like fish. Why? Fresh fish doesn’t smell like fish, it smells like the ocean. If you do walk into a sushi bar that stinks of seafood, your stomach will thank you for walking in the opposite direction in a hurry.
One of the biggest misconceptions about sushi is that fish is the central ingredient. However, as the popular Japanese culture blog They Call Me an Egg writes, sushi is actually all about the rice. That’s why thin slices of meat or fish are called sashimi and not sushi — they have no rice. That being the case, the best sushi restaurants will go through a lot of effort to prepare rice that has the perfect texture and the perfect balance of sour and sweet flavors.
Does your local sushi restaurant live up to these standards? What other ways can you tell that your favorite place is one of the best around? Let us know in the comments below. More like this blog.