As part of a birthday celebration, a friend suggested that we all get some sushi from Cafe Sushi. He’d been raving about it for a while and took his opportunity to have the rest of us try it out.
The restaurant offers some of the usual pieces of fish that all sushi restaurants feature, but Cafe Sushi’s real draw is its signature creations. Chef Seizi Imura is an artist when it comes to offering patrons stunning new experiences with fish that are wholly outside the (bento) box.
1105 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138
Service and Atmosphere
Located right on Mass. Ave., Cafe Sushi is relatively easy to get to and parking isn’t terrible as long as you know where to look. The interior of the restaurant isn’t too large, but it can hold a good amount of people. There is a bar where people can watch as the chefs create as well as tables for the rest of the diners. The service is friendly and accommodating when it came to questions about the menu.
Many sushi restaurants abide by the age old tradition that the fish should more or less speak for itself. Cafe Sushi takes a slightly different spin on sushi by suggesting that fish need not be a solo act, but instead can harmonize with a wide range of ingredients. Purists may not enjoy this take, but Chef Imura offers those people an option to order simpler pieces of fish as well. Most people find the signature and chef’s samplers as delicious as they are entertaining.
Traditional / Simple Sushi – I tried two pieces of basic sushi. The Unagi (Eel) is probably the best I’ve ever had and I was impressed by the fresh taste and tender texture. The Tako (Octopus) was fairly average and a little on the chewy side. The flavor was good, but the eel was much better.
Signature Sampler – I don’t remember all of the fish in the Signature Sampler, but I think from right to left (below) that it came with Maguro (Fatty Tuna), Hamachi (yellow tail), Ikura/Aburi (Salmon Belly), Orata Fresco (Sea Bream), and possibly Saba (Mackerel). The salmon belly in the middle was my second favorite piece of sushi during the entire meal due to its tender, decadent fattiness.
Chef’s Sampler – The Chef’s sampler featured some more unique pieces of fish such as the beautifully house-smoked Salmon on the far right and three types of “jack” fish on the left. I wish I could remember each piece of fish exactly, but the names slipped my mind. What I do know is that my favorite piece of fish of the evening was the Stripejack (second from the left). It had a firm texture and clean flavor that I really enjoyed. I had to show the server the picture below and ask her exactly what it was so I could order it again in the future.
Cafe Sushi offers a wide variety of fresh fish from the traditional to the less traditional that are then prepared in a completely original way. A simple piece of tuna or salmon belly takes on a completely new meaning when the chefs apply signature sauces or in-house smoking techniques. This is a restaurant that caters to people looking for new experiences with fish, but it also offers some of the simpler, more common preparations where the fish still speaks for itself. The specialty flavors are so well crafted that much of the sushi doesn’t require soy sauce at all. Even though it is very expensive, Cafe Sushi is worth the deliciously unique experience from the beautiful plating to the unconventional flavors.