Ten Best Sushi Restaurants in Broward County
Just like fashion, food comes and goes in trends.
What was once your risque, '90s, cheek-baring cut-off shorts is now your cultural norm.
Just a couple of decades ago, the idea of consuming raw fish was a big no-no for most Americans; only the most adventurous eaters would consider stuffing a big slab of raw tuna down their gullets.
Obviously, that's no longer the case.
The Japanese staple can be found all over the place.
As common as sushi may be these days, not all rolls are created the same. We've all walked into -- and then quickly out of -- a few foul-smelling fish joints.
To help you on your Japanese-style seafood adventures, we snacked and sampled our way through the region to find the freshest in the land.
Here are the ten best sushi restaurants in Broward County:
S3 might be short for "sun, surf, and sand," but it also refers to the selection of steak, seafood, and sushi. Although we generally stick to sushi joints for our rolls and nigiri, this beachfront spot actually serves an impressive selection of uncooked fish. One of the busier spots in Fort Lauderdale, seafood flies off the shelves. (There's no sitting around.) And the Thai-style rolls are as artistic as it gets. The Thai tuna combines avocado, coconut, macadamia nut, and jalapeño inside a pink soy-paper wrap. The Crab n' Shrimp features real crab and sweet shrimp with Asian pear and crisp noodles. The veggie mixes avocado, tomato, mango, cucumber, and kampyo (Japanese squash) with a spicy chili sauce. This place is not your typical Japanese eatery, but we think it's great exactly as it is.
Deerfield Beach has a cheap and easy raw fish mecca with Thai-Sushi Express in the Cove shopping center, located just west of the Intracoastal Waterway. The price points are easily some of the lowest around. Sashimi starts at just 95 cents, ten hand rolls are priced at $3.50, and most à la carte rolls are under $10, including the unique kimchee roll that features conch, spinach, asparagus, and cucumber for $8.50. Also, stop by for lunch specials, available daily and priced from $6.75 to $7.50. Look, we're all about throwing down a little cash for some great food, but in this case, you don't have to spend an arm and a leg to fill up on fresh seafood.
Set in the Gateway Shopping Center, this little market offers all sorts of Japanese and other Asian products: teas, candies, sake, ceremonial teapots, anime, whatever your little heart wants. But it's the hidden sushi bar that gets us going. Here, you'll find superb sushi for just a fragment of the usual cost. Huge portions of spicy tuna rolls will set you back a meager five dollars. A giant volcano roll with scallop, crab, masago, tamago, scallions, and Japanese mayo on top of a California roll goes for $8.50. The market is open for eat-in -- with two communal bartops -- and takeout Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner.
Good food is nice even without fancy digs. But things seem to taste better when served in beautiful surroundings. Set in the always busy Harbor Shops, just a hop, skip, and jump from Port Everglades, this Asian spot offers a wide range of fare, from traditional Thai to fusion to sushi. While that's usually not a good sign, it works here; the fare is flavorful and well-prepared. The raw fish tends to sway toward the Thai side with bold and interesting rolls. Mike's Roll ($14) combines tuna, spinach, avocado, asparagus, tempura flakes, cucumber, and kampyo rolled in sweet, black, sticky rice and sweet chili sauce. The Alaskan king crab roll ($35) subs the real deal for the imitation meat and mixes it with avocado and cucumber inside a soy paper wrap with masago; it's served with fresh fruits and crab meat salad. It might be a bit more expensive than your average sushi spot, but this place is high class.
6. Sushi Song
With locations in Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach, and downtown Fort Lauderdale, these cozy sushi joints offer a taste of big-city, late-night scenes to laid-back Broward County. The atmosphere is dim and cozy with candles and brick walls. The sushi is fresh and creative, with options ranging from straightforward nigiri to over-the-top signature rolls such as Japan Red Hot ($15), shrimp tempura, cucumber, and jalapeño topped with tuna, black tobiko, and house special sauce; and the A1A ($22), with Maine lobster, avocado, cilantro, and spicy mayo topped with seared wild salmon and special sauce; it's vibrant, tasty, and offered well into the night.
While we're fans of ambiance, it isn't everything. This place serves as evidence. With a no-frills atmosphere, it's still one of Fort Lauderdale's most popular sushi joints. For more than a decade, the spot has been garnering a following for its fresh fish, low price points, and convenient downtown Fort Lauderdale locale (it's on the corner of Broward and Federal Highway). No wonder it's won several awards and accolades. Menu items include a wide range of cooked Japanese fare (udon noodles and beef teriyaki) to the much-loved raw seafood options. Nigiri and basic roll combos go for $6.95 to $14.25. Specialty rolls are priced $3.80 to $8.80. Although you can never go wrong with sushi for less than ten bucks, we suggest sticking with us. The New Times Roll ($8.25) with tuna, scallions, and tempura flakes topped with tuna, spicy mayo, and more scallions, is piquant and refreshing -- just like us.
4. Sushi Sogo
Located in the sleepy suburb of Cooper City, this small sushi spot has been the longtime raw fish go-to spot for West Broward inhabitants. Like any good seafood restaurant, the place tends to get packed, which ensures the fish is flying off the shelves -- always a plus. In addition to simple yet succulent traditional preparations (sashimi and nigiri), it serves some of the most interesting roll combos in the land. The tropical roll ($11.95) is fruity and fresh, with imitation crab, avocado, and cucumber rolled inside out with tuna, salmon, white fish, and kiwi on top drizzled with tropical sauce. During season, it offers a stone crab roll ($15.95) with stone crab meat, scallions, mayo, masago, and a special sauce. Just try finding that somewhere else.
Takeshi Kamioka knows a little something about Japanese cuisine; his father was a sushi chef brought over from Japan to work at Benihana in the '70s who eventually opened his own shops, Japanese Steakhouse Village and Tokyo Sushi. After a childhood spent in the biz, he went on to spend time at Nobu in Miami. If that's not a legit background, we don't know what is. At his Wilton Manors eatery, he churns out a wide selection of nigiri, ranging from shrimp ($1.50) and local snapper ($2) to bluefin tuna; creative rolls like the Red Dragon Roll ($12), with shrimp, romaine lettuce, cucumber, sriracha, and eel inside out with red tobiko and avocado slices; and rotating chalkboard specials of ramen and other small plates. Though you can't go wrong with anything at this place, we say take a walk on the wild side with the omakase (chef's choice). Because YOLO.
2. Marumi Sushi
It's safe to say that most chefs know a thing or two about food. So the fact that Marumi gets packed nightly with cooks who've just finished their shifts at other Asian restaurants speaks volumes. Broward's late-night Japanese izakaya (a place for beer and small plates) is run by two veterans of South Florida's sushi scene, Teruhiko Iwasaki and Tetsu Hayakawa. The pair serve mind-boggling dishes for serious culinary freaks, like braised beef tongue, fried glass minnows, and crispy squid salad. But the real draw is always the fresh catch. It offers an unparalleled supply of locally and internationally sourced fish like yellow jack, skipjack, black grouper, and snapper rendered into sashimi or seared and sliced thick. For those who need to indulge in Americanized rolls, creative options exist (like the $6.50 tuna cilantro roll with tuna, cilantro, garlic, and spicy sesame oil), but we prefer to keep it simple at this place.
The key to great sushi is that it has to be fresh: You don't want to go to a place where the fish sits languishing in the fridge. Here, that's never the problem. The tiny Las Olas space is always packed, frequently racking up 45-minute waits. It's so popular that it once let actor Alec Baldwin leave rather than skip ahead of the hordes looking to get in on some sushi. Sucks for him; he lost out on the chance to sample a menu full of creative and interestingly named rolls. ltems range from health-conscious to plain-out crazy, like $7 Slim Shady cucumber wrap (full of assorted vegetables served with ginger dressing) or the Strawberry Fields Forever roll (made with barbecued sweet eel, avocado, green apple, eel sauce, and roe, topped with fresh, ripe strawberries). It's worth braving the wait, but you can now skip the line with its second location just a ten-minute drive away.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
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