One of the traditions that I enjoy working in healthcare standards is that we make sure there is at least one sushi outing at every standards event. I don't know who first stated it, but the rule is that it isn't an official standards event unless there is sushi. So tonight I though I'd share some of my favorite sushi places with you.
Last week we went to Maki Sushi in Park Ridge, just a short jaunt from the Hilton Garden Inn where we were meeting for ANSI/HITSP. The folks from the Hilton Garden were gracious enough to drive us over in their bus and pick us up on the way back, which was fortunate. We had 24 people join us for this event, and still needed an additional 3 cars to get us all there. Maki Sushi serves an excellent menu, and also has other things on the menu for those who don't enjoy raw fish. We got out of there for about $45 per person, which is an astonishingly good value.
Tonight I enjoyed a meal with the organizers of the Interoperability Showcase at the PHIN conference. We went to Magic Fingers Sushi Bar in Atlanta, Georgia. Last year we showed up with a party of about 14 and this restaurant managed to add three new signals that we were in the right place to the list below. Tonight they lived up to the expectations from last year. If you like fresh wasabi, they'll grind it right at your table.
When we are in the DC area, the best by far is Sushi Taro, though I haven't been there in too long. They've been remodelling, and still weren't done the last time I was there, although they are done now. If you go there, I heartily recommend the chef's Omakase (chef's choice) which is always fantastic. It's a bit on the pricey side, but not for the area.
In Oak Brook, Illinois (the home base for many IHE meetings), the best place to go these days is OSYS in the Oak Brook Mall. This is another really good value, and you can leave this restaurant within the very restrictive meal guidelines of many companies. They also have a good Sake menu. Another place to go in Oak Brook is Momotaro, which isn't quite up to what it used to be, but still provides good sushi at a good value. What I used to like about this place was the face recognition of the staff, but they are under new management and the new staff simply doesn't know us any more.
If you happen to be travelling through New Haven, Connecticut and are a true Sushi lover, you absolutely have to try Miso. Tell Jason that Keith or Lori sent you and he'll know how to treat you (but he's usually off on Sunday and Monday). Every time my family drives through Connecticut to visit family we stop here. I can tell you that this place is about as pricy as what you can find in a major metropolitan area, but the food is far better than anywhere I've been with one exception (Japan). I've never looked at a menu here, Jason just serves up what he thinks we will like. I've never been disappointed either, but I also come prepared to pay the bill. It's not really fair to compare them on price because I've never looked at prices when I order here.
Signs that you are in a good sushi bar:
- They give you a warm washcloth to wipe your hands with after your are seated.
- They have cold sake on the menu (if not, don't bother).
- They have unfiltered sake on the menu (a really good sign), better yet, more than one (excellent).
- The chopsticks aren't break-apart (not a deal killer), but rather plastic (better), or *lacquered wood (best).
- *They give you chipstick rests (really good sign).
- They have fresh wasabi (really good sign), *and will grate at table side (excellent)
- If you order Ama Ebi, they will Tempura the heads for you (good sign) if you ask, or you do not even have to ask (excellent sign).
- You can order off-menu without frazzling the waiters.
- There are things like Ankimo (mokfish liver), fresh Scallop or Kampachi on the menu.
Tell me about your own favorite sushi places, just in case we happen to be there for a meeting. We are always looking for new places to try out.