Good fish, better rice. Sushi is still one of the best meals to share with a group of friends and family (or strangers, for that matter), and the landlocked Twin Cities are getting better and better at finding top-quality, sustainable seafood from both coasts and further away: There’s no longer any truth to the statement that just because we’re stuck in the middle our sushi is going to be as well.
The following is the very best that Minneapolis/St. Paul have to offer.
Kyatchi understands that the rice is the most part of the sushi experience. It’s slightly funky, fermented, and with a dynamic personality all its own – a bowl of just that and you’d be satisfied. But Kyatchi’s seafood rolls, with a strong focus on sustainable (strong focus – a pamphlet describing the ethics of fishing around the world accompanies your bill), will bring you back again, and again, and again.
Pro tip: Chirashi (which means “scattered”) is a big bowl of rice, sashimi, pickles, veggies, and more. For only $11 during happy hour (every day), it’s the best steal in town.
Minneapolis: 3758 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409 | (612) 236-4429
St. Paul: 308 Prince St E #140, St Paul, MN 55101 | (651) 340-5796
Masu, the grand sushi hall in Northeast Minneapolis, founded under the tutelage of local legend Tim McKee, is still one of the most creative places to enjoy your sushi. And paired with cocktails (gummi bear cocktails, +10 points), of course. The Bloomington outpost is one of the few good places to eat at the Mall of America.
Minneapolis: 330 Hennepin Ave E, Minneapolis, MN 55414 | (612) 332-6278
Mall of America: 344 South Avenue, Bloomington, MN 55425 (3rd floor) | (952) 896-6278
Apple Valley: 14638 Cedar Ave S, Apple Valley, MN 55124 | (952) 378-4642
Fuji Ya: Old school, and still great. Always great, actually. Fuji Ya keeps it simple: good fish and good rice and a few tasty sides to supplement. It’s fairly small, but not so small that you’re chopsticking neighbors in the face while enjoying your uni. It’s also one of the best (and most-consistent) places for a quick bite in the ever-changing (sometimes unstable) Uptown restaurant landscape.
Fuji Ya | 600 Lake St W, Minneapolis, MN 55408 | (612) 871-4055
Midori’s Floating World Cafe is as much fun as the name implies. The space is bright, quirky – similar to the food. There’s a certain joy in the air when you sit down that only grows when battera (pressed mackerel sushi, +100 points), various rolls, and their fantastic bowls of shiitake broth, arrive in front of you. An experience that lets you leave any/all Minneapolis stereotypes behind every time.
Midori’s | 2629 Lake St E, Minneapolis, MN 55406 | (612) 721-3011
Origami closed its original location, after 26 years, in 2015. But the second location is still a quality sushi joint, and an always-lively time in the heart of bustling Uptown. It’s a little more fast-paced and trend-focused than the other, aforementioned Uptown sushi spot, Fuji Ya. For better or for worse, the food reflects that as well.
Origami | 1354 Lagoon Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408 | (612) 223-8666
Kado no Mise: Precision is the name of the game here. More than the name: It’s the mantra, the philosophy, and the standard. Everything is perfect, painstakingly so. And the flavors vary for a full range and gamut for your tongue to enjoy; the pickled plum will bring tears to your eyes with the bold, vinegar bite, and the salmon and tuna are so soft, delicate you’ll spend the meal searching for their subtle but distinct differences.
Kado no Mise | 33 1st Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401 | (612) 338-1515
PinKU is “Japanese street food,” meaning without pretense; no formal sit-downs necessary, or even really possible, here. It also implies and indicates a creativity that makes fast and casual food (flavor-wise, at least) hold its own against the places that are formal and sit-down. PinKU’s hand rolls and seared fish stay crazy with flavor, but they have as much love for fresh vegetables (so much radish!) as they do for fish.
PinKU | 20 University Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413 | (612) 584-3167
Sushi Fix: It’s high-end, high-quality, and sets a new standard for sushi in the suburbs, out in Wayzata. Yes, Wayzata (we’d be more surprised, but Gavin Kaysen’s Bellecour is right around the corner as well, which means the quiet suburb has got something going on). The nigiri is excellent, and themed rolls, like the “Naughty Ninja,” are as well.
Sushi Fix | 862 E Lake St, Wayzata, MN 55391 | (612) 217-0330
And, if Sushi Fix isn’t enough for you, chef/owner Billy Tserenbat has also launched a food truck:
Bibuta Sushi Burrito & PokeBowl, which is cheating, just a little, to discuss in a rundown on sushi. Or is it? Sushi burritos? A different kind of sushi, say. And the fact that it comes from a truck is not a deterrent; it’s what makes Bibuta something so creative and special. Grab-and-go sushi was never really a better option, but these “sushi burritos” wrapped up tight and tasty, and so satisfying to sink your teeth into, are the delicious compromise.
Bibuta | follow @EatBibuta on Twitter for location | (612) 532-0305
Sakura: Downtown St. Paul’s OG sushi spot. Beautiful and colorful on the inside, serving consistently tasty rolls and sashimi. Happy hour is ridiculously cheap. It’s an enormous space, soaring ceilings airy like you’ll float away – and surprisingly never that busy, prompting one to wonder how they stay in business; we’re just happy that they do.
Sakura | 350 Saint Peter St #195, St Paul, MN 55102 | (651) 224-0185
MIZU Japanese is still fairly new, having opened about 6 months ago, but they’ve already cultivated a reputation for polished service, a strong minimalist aesthetic, and destination-worthy sushi just outside of St. Paul. The focus, here, is on quality over quantity (not that one should ever order sushi expecting ribeye plates); truly about the flavors drawn, coaxed from each and every bite.
MIZU | 4475 Lake Ave S, White Bear Lake, MN 55110 | (651) 653-4888
OneTwoThree Sushi: When the first OneTwoThree opened in the IDS Center skyway a few years back, they helped redefine what a quick lunch in (either) downtown can be, especially for lighter, fresher option like sushi.
OneTwoThree Sushi skyway locations:
Minneapolis: 80 8th Street S, #228, Minneapolis, MN 55402 | (612) 354-3040
& 50 10th St S, #250, Minneapolis, MN 55403 | (612) 236-4757
St. Paul: 101 5th St E #205, St Paul, MN 55101 | (651) 340-5012
Non-skyway locations (including one, inexplicably, in Huntsville, Alabama) can be found on the company website above.
Sushi Sushi: This is actually our favorite spot for skyway (build-your-own) sushi, located in the St. Paul Skyway’s Alliance Bank Center food court across from the Dogg Haus. While only open for limited hours at lunch (10:30am – 2pm), it’s worth making the trek over for fast, fresh custom sushi, always with a small side of steaming miso soup.
Pro tip: Thursdays are BOGO half-off.
Sushi Sushi | 55 5th St E, St Paul, MN 55101 | (651) 222-3118
Sushi recipe: Because why not make it at home?
When you’re not looking to go out, or spend extra money, DIY sushi will have you rolling like a pro at home. Local shops, like Coastal Seafood and Almanac Fish, will have the sushi-grade fish you need.
- 2oz sushi-grade tuna and salmon, 1/4×1/2x3in pieces
- 2c sushi rice, (recipe below)
- 1/2c sprouts
- 1 cucumber, julienned
- 1 carrot, peeled, julienned
- 1/2 avocado, cut into small pieces
- 5 sheets nori (seaweed sheets)
- Experiment with: Asian pear, julienned or Fuji apple, julienned
- Place one nori sheet, about an inch away from the edge closest to you, on a bamboo rolling mat (rough side up). Leave a small area of the mat open on either side of the nori sheet as well.
- With cool water, get your hands wet. Take a full handful of sushi rice and place it in the center of the nori. Use your fingers and spread the rice to an even coat over your nori sheet, but make sure and leave an approximately 3/4-inch strip of nori open on the far side.
- Place your fish, vegetables and fruits at the edge of the rice closest to you. Not too much: It will fall apart when you try to roll if you overfill your nori. Use your fingers to hold the ingredients in place.
- Using your thumbs, lift the edge of the bamboo rolling mat that is closest to you. Slowly roll the mat away from you. Push down softly on your fillings to keep the roll tight. Keep rolling, slowly, until the mat covers the rice completely and the two edges have joined, while making sure that 3/4-inch strip of nori remains open.
- Hold the roll tight with your fingers, and slice it in half. Put your knife skills to the test: Cut the two halves twice more for six, even, perfect pieces.
- Repeat the process, while trying out different ingredients and combinations from the list above.
And the the sushi rice recipe:
- Rinse your rice with cold water, stirring all-the-while to clean it, and then drain the rice completely.
- Put your rice, with 6 cups of water, in a medium sized saucepan. Cover tightly and, on medium heat, bring the water to a boil. Let the water boil for 3 minutes, then reduce the heat to low. Keep the lid on and cook for another 15 minutes.
- Take your rice from the heat, and take off the lid. Any water left inside? There shouldn’t be…
- On a greased cookie/baking sheet, use a spatula (or something similar) to spread the rice out on an even layer. Use a little vinegar, sugar, and salt while using the spatula to mix until the rice cools to room temperature/body temperature.
- Keep your rice covered, using damp paper towels and/or napkins until you’re ready to roll your sushi.