Sushi is a bit of a polarizing food. There are a lot of people who adore it, but not everyone is so enthused about the concept of raw fish. Nashville may not be the first city a person considers when they think of sushi, but there's no reason that foodies can't find the tastes they crave when they know the right spots to hit. Nashville is an eclectic city that has thrived over the past two decades from the diversity brought within its city borders. Whether a person considers themselves well-versed in the art of sashimi or a stranger in an unfamiliar world, they can find something in Nashville, TN to inspire them.
The name of the game at Samurai is experience. The restaurant has logged more than 20 years in the game and patrons are sure to taste that expertise in each of their dishes. Their menu caters to the die-hard sushi fans of the city, but it's also mild enough to welcome newcomers to the midst. The ever-popular California roll remains a tried-and-true starter dish for those who know little about the cuisine.
Volcano, rainbow, and shrimp rolls are also highly recommended at Samurai. Try a few raw alongside a few cooked ones—the deep-fried oyster and cream cheese concoction managed to make a good impression on past diners.
Virago puts more of an American twist on a Japanese classic, but that doesn't make it any less delicious. Sushi connoisseurs will still find some amazing sashimi options to satisfy their cravings, but they'll also have the chance to round out their ordering with dishes like pork katsu and stone steak. Those who know this restaurant inside-and-out know that there are a few tricks hidden up the chef's sleeves if they know how to ask. Charm the waiter to learn more about the specialties that aren't featured on the menu. This elegant restaurant is definitely an indulgence for its guests, but one that's well worth saving up for.
Nama is excellent for those who want a few raw delights in their life, but it's also good for people who prefer their meals on the warmer side. Their menu is full of fan favorites like fried shrimp and crab dip, but the chefs put their own little twists on each one. For those who have never had hummus with wasabi and naan or jerk-seasoned calamari before, now seems like a good time to try it. This local chain has five locations spread around the city, so visitors won't have to go out of their way to get a tantalizing meal. Nama may not be five-star in terms of ambiance, but it's romantic enough for try as a new date night spot.
While there will always be something lost in translation between the ocean and a Nashville restaurant, there are places to go where the sushi is as fresh as it comes. Sonobana is one of those places, and it's a treat for home cooks and sushi lovers alike. Its combination of market and restaurant lets its patrons sample different fare and then pick up a few ingredients to try on their own. This unassuming spot may not be the trendiest place, but it is a very valuable diamond in the rough.
Part of the fun of living in Nashville is trying everything there is to be had there. While Nashville may be nationally known for its fried chicken, that doesn't mean it's the only specialty there. Taking a break from terrain and switching over to the sea is a great way to spend a night and open the palate to a whole new set of flavors.
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