Let’s talk raw fish. Yes, we may be in a landlocked state in the middle of the country, but, Jackson’s sushi game is on! Where once there was only one option for the sushi-seeking, there are now several scattered around our valley.
Sisters: Sudachi and Suda
New on the sushi scene, but no amateur, is Suda, the sister restaurant to its long-standing older sibling Sudachi. The gem of West Bank dining, the team behind Sudachi was welcomed to downtown with the installation of Suda, an Izakaya restaurant, which is a traditional Japanese pub style restaurant. Although one is not actually seated upon tatami floor mats or low dining tables, the décor and vibe of the restaurant does have some serious authenticity. Suda’s ancient eastern Japanese philosophy is simple: drink first, eat second. Their wines, creative cocktails, Japanese beers and real-deal sake and alcohol-free “mocktails” are served first and with pride. A few sips and one is primed for the onslaught of options of fish, local meat and veggie offerings I can only classify as “Jackonese.” Suda will surprise you with the versatility and creativity they use to fuse ingredients, cultures and styles. In recent weeks, Suda has added a full sushi bar to the dining room and will be offering all traditional sushi items as well as some specialty rolls, and sashimi as well. This winter, Suda will be offering the Bubba specialty roll, which is filed with crab, tempura jumbo shrimp and cucumber, and topped with tombo tuna, avocado, sweet garlic/ginger soy and crispy shallots. This is Japan town in our downtown, and if you dine in before they close for short break November 10-18, they’re offering buy-one-get-one-free entrees.
Noodle Kitchen, the stylish and casual establishment run by Blue Collar Restaurant Group, is the perfect spot when you have a craving for sushi but don’t yearn to spend all your yen. With a full sushi menu, cocktails made with hand-pressed juice, and a very jolly happy hour, Noodle Kitchen offers humble, hometown satisfaction. Serving sashimi and a variety of both traditional and house rolls, Noodle Kitchen has something to please everyone, even those vegetarian sushi lovers. The Brookie Roll– their specialty vegetarian roll, is filled with cucumber, lemon and cilantro, and topped with avocado, ginger jalapeno pesto and sesame seeds. One would never know it relies only on the might of its non-piscatorial or -carnivorous ingredients to steal the show. But if one is having a craving of the meat or fish kind, the Surf and Turf roll is your friend for life: filled with tempura shrimp, avocado and topped with seared wagyu beef, sesame seeds, truffled sweet soy, tobiko and greens. By land or by sea, this roll brings the best of everything.
Located in a renovated historic log cabin that was previously Jackson’s first espresso bar, King Sushi serves up royal fare. The King covers the waterfront when it comes to variety, and prepares and serves its fish offerings with a sophisticated flair. On any given day, this small and homey space is filled to the brim with locals and tourists lucky enough to find a seat in this log cabin. King Sushi’s seasoned chef- aptly named Jason King, is highly-trained and has the skill and passion of a Sushi Master. Here, you will find some of the best and freshest fish in our valley, resulting in a menu full of beautifully curated house rolls, sashimi and Japanese-style street food. Every roll on the menu is a uniquely crafted, Umami dream. A King Sushi original and fan favorite is the Crouching Tiger roll: filled with avocado, tempura asparagus, wild salmon, spicy tuna and topped with wasabi aioli, fried shallot, yuzu tobiko, micro greens and sweet soy. It’s a mouthful just to describe but wait until you fill your mouth with it!
So if ever one tells you there is no good sushi to be had in the west, take them to one of these places and I assure you they will be enlightened.