Blue Fin

Interior

Salmon Burger

Chef Boo’s Chirashi Bowl

**** (4 stars)

Restaurants near Times Square don’t need to be particularly good to have a steady stream of customers, so I was pleasantly surprised by Blue Fin.

The narrow first floor space is pleasant and airy, and a broad staircase leads up almost two floors to an expansive and lovely upstairs dining room.

The restaurant offers a combination of cooked food and sushi, and we liked everything we tried. The standout was actually the Bang Bang Edamame, which had been tossed in a wonderful kung pao sauce. Chiriashi was also good, with a nice assortment of fish, although definitely Times Square priced at $33.

Service was friendly and profewssional.

Blue Fin
1567 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
(212) 918-1400
https://www.yelp.com/biz/blue-fin-new-york

Deep Blue

Interior

Menu

Chirashi bowl

**** (4 stars)

This place has surprisingly decent sushi for an airport. The interior decor is pleasant; and it’s arranged into two bars, one where the emphasis is drinking, the other for dining. There are also some tables. And of course the mandatory televisions.

All the sushi we had was good, if not cheap (it is, after all, an airport). Be warned, though, that the crudos don’t really match their descriptions (shishito peppers became jalapenos, ingredients were missing) and the ones we tried were both topped with unmentioned olive oil.

Service is pleasant but leisurely, so this is a good choice if you have plenty of time.

Deep Blue
John F Kennedy International Airport
Terminal 5
Jamaica, NY 11464
(866) 508-3558
https://www.yelp.com/biz/deep-blue-jamaica

Samurai Blue Sushi & Sake Bar

Interior

Sashimi bento box

**** (4 stars)

This is a very cool space for an experience a bit different from the rest of Ybor City. The towering brick walls and exposed wooden rafters create a surprisingly pleasant ambiance for decent sushi. The lunch bento boxes are a good deal, and the sushi is good, if not particularly inspired. Service was pleasant.

Samurai Blue Sushi & Sake Bar
1600 E 8th Ave
Ste C208
Tampa, FL 33605
(813) 242-6688
https://www.yelp.com/biz/samurai-blue-sushi-and-sake-bar-tampa-2

Matt’s Casbah

Korean Wings

Interior

***** (5 stars)

Usually when small restaurants try to be too many things they fail at being any one great thing, but Matt’s is the exception to this rule. It has separate spaces for fine dining, outdoor beach-type dining, sushi bar, dive bar, and a live performance area. The same menu is served throughout, but there is definitely a different feel to it, depending upon where you are seated.

We had lunch in the fine dining area, and really enjoyed our Korean wings appetizer and the sushi we shared. The sashimi sampler is a great deal, providing 4 or 5 pieces of four different fish, and a large Japanese style salad.

We also liked the unusual roll we had, which incorporated a smoked salmon pate that was very different (and far smokier) that a normal sushi smoked salmon.

Service was friendly and efficient, and the music soundtrack was great.

Matt’s Casbah
801 E New Haven
Melbourne, FL 32901
(321) 574-1099
http://www.yelp.com/biz/matts-casbah-melbourne

SUGARFISH by sushi nozawa

Toro hand roll

Yellowtail, scallop, snapper, sea bass

Albacore and salmon

Tuna sashimi

Exterior

Interior

***** (5 stars)

I was afraid this might be all celebrity chef smoke and mirrors, but it was just really great fish quality, really great rice quality, and some subtle sauces coming together to create a fantastic experience.

We went at lunchtime and were lucky to walk in and get a table, as we soon realized the tiny 40-seat space almost always has a line.

We had the Nozawa omakase, which took us from edamame and sashimi through ten pieces of wonderful nigiri, and ended with two superb hand rolls. The standouts were the amazing scallop nigiri (which was the day’s special) and the two hand rolls. Normally handrolls aren’t a favorite of mine because of the high ratio of nori to stuffing, but these were wonderful. The nori was paper thin and had been crisped somehow, and the warm rice and cool stuffing made an amazing combination.

This was just absolutely great sushi. And at $37, the lunch Nozawa omakase is well worth it.

SUGARFISH by sushi nozawa
212 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 276-6900
https://www.yelp.com/biz/sugarfish-by-sushi-nozawa-beverly-hills

Hamasaku

Green tea pudding

Sashimi (second round of omakase)

Sashimi

Corn custard

Oysters

Interior

Exterior

***** (5 stars)

There are so many sushi places to choose from on the west side of town, but some are over-priced without delivering a truly high-end experience, and others deliver the experience but only if you let the chef boss you around (eat this like this, don’t put soy sauce on that, etc.)

Hamasaku avoids these pitfalls. The atmosphere is laid back, and the price is great.

I was very impressed with the omakase. There are two basic options, a mostly cooked version, and a sushi option. We opted for the latter, and it was a great choice.

Your meal includes an oyster appetizer, corn custard, two separate plates of seven assorted nigiri (14 total), a complex miso seafood soup and dessert. The nigiri was really excellent, with a great variety of interesting fish, and deftly prepared. At $65 for the complete meal, it was a great deal.

We also opted for the $20 optional sashimi course. It was good, too, but frankly it was superfluous, given all the other excellent fish on the nigiri courses.

Note that the wine list is much more extensive than the version on their website.

The place is a bit tough to find, tucked into the inside corner of a strip mall. It’s simply but nicely decorated. It seats more people than you would guess, but even when full the noise level is fine.

Hamasaku
11043 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 479-7636
https://www.yelp.com/biz/hamasaku-los-angeles

Yojisan Sushi

Complimentary dessert

Salmon skin roll

Chirashi

Exterior

Salad and soup

**** (4 stars)

This is a good sushi restaurant offering fairly standard fare in the heart of Beverly Hills. If the prices seem a bit higher than other places it might be due more to the rent than anything extraordinary about it, but the fish is all fresh, and the service is friendly and efficient. There is also a small outdoor seating area that is quite pleasant, an unusual feature in this area.

Yojisan Sushi
260 N Beverly Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(424) 245-3799
https://www.yelp.com/biz/yojisan-sushi-beverly-hills

Saké

Dragon egg

Dragon egg

Short rib

House salad

Bass grouper

Dining area

Beef tataki and popcorn shrimp

Kingfish

Sashimi appetizer

Sake wall

Interior

**** (4 stars)

This very stylish restaurant in the Rocks is surprisingly large, yet intimate, with romantic lighting levels, and a modern club type soundtrack.

We had the “Chef’s New Classics” tasting menu, a mixture of raw and cooked dishes that included fish and meat. They were all good, but I actually preferred the sashimi appetizer we also ordered, as the fish was of excellent quality, and my preference runs to sashimi.

The Dragon egg is an interesting dessert option. It is presented at the table with an interesting flourish, as warm sauce breaks open the candy egg to reveal the inner Dessert.

Saké
12 Argyle St
The Rocks
Sydney, New South Wales 2000
+61 2 9259 5656
https://www.yelp.com/biz/sak%C3%A9-sydney

LemonShark Poke Orlando

Custom poke medium

Kitchen

**** (4 stars)

This is a much better use of this space than the prior occupant. Unfortunately, it’s still a bit dark and drab, but the food is better and more interesting.

I spend a lot of time in Chicago, where there are poke places all over town, but this is the first one in this part of Orlando, and so far it is popular. The assembly line process works well for poke, because there are so many potential ingredients. You can get a better bowl of fish and rice up the street at Bonsai Sushi, but there are more variants here, and it is cheaper. You can also get a version on lettuce rather than rice, if you’re really trying to cut carbs.

I tried the ahi tuna, spicy salmon and miso glazed salmon. The tuna was still a bit frozen, but quickly thawed, and seemed fresher than the salmon. The miso glaze turned out to be something squirted on, no actual glaze. The crab salad topping was good; the avocado topping was more like guacamole, but it was okay. There are a lot of sauces to choose from. The iced tea dispenser was either empty or not working.

Service was efficient.

LemonShark Poke Orlando
7600 Dr Phillips Blvd
Ste 102
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 730-5201
http://www.yelp.com/biz/lemonshark-poke-orlando-orlando-2