Raw Fish with Rice

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I remember distinctly thinking while in Italy that I didn’t trust the fish at the new sushi bar in town.  I was in an old walled city that was relatively traditional despite a large student population and I felt like seafood couldn’t possibly be fresh since the town was not right on the beach and instead was surrounded by big pastures and forest.  Of course my suspicion has more to do with food culture in Italy than freshness of fish as you probably could have kept a fish alive out of water for three-quarters of the trip from the Adriatic Riviera to Urbino, the Renaissance town where I was living.

Lucky for us in the US, and more specifically in Richmond, unlike Italians we can’t settle on one type of food so we have options and among them is delicious fresh sushi.  At home I eat sushi routinely despite being two hours from any viable source for ocean caught fish and rarely have doubts about freshness.

Maybe the best place to go if you’re a sushi beginner and you’re still a little weirded-out by the thought of wrestling with a hunk of raw fish, seaweed and rice is Sticky Rice in the fan.  With a fresh and creative sushi menu, Sticky Rice also offers all-American favorites like tots with Asian dipping sauce.  The relaxed atmosphere makes sushi a little less intimidating.  There’s no pressure to use chopsticks and plenty of vegan or fishless options.

If you want to step up the authenticity, you can go to Akida on Robinson.  I mentioned them last time as being one of my favorite places for a cheap lunch but you can get a really great meal any time of the day and feel fresh and full afterwards.

If you’re in Carytown, there’s Momotaro near the intersection of Boulevard and Cary Street.  Another small intimate place with a solid menu, Momotaro competes with Carytown Sushi just a few blocks away.

If you’re feeling a little more upscale and still in the same neighborhood, try Moshi Moshi.  Fancy and carefully prepared Japanese dishes will run in the $15-$20 range for dinner but sushi rolls can run anywhere from $3 to $15.  Head a little farther down Cary toward U of R to Osaka for another great upscale sushi restaurant.  Try the sushi but make sure to order some Gyoza, Japanese dumplings.  You won’t mind opening your wallet afterwards.

If you’re in the slip or the bottom, there are several more places to munch on raw fish.  Try Lucky Buddha or Sumo San.

Richmond is loaded with places to eat sushi.  They run the gamut from cheap to expensive, traditional to American fusion.  If you haven’t tried sushi yet, try it.  It’s much better than its parts divided, I promise.  We’re in a great place to do so, even despite our distance from the sea.

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