Just a few decades ago, sushi was considered incredibly exotic, and most Americans would probably have quailed at the idea of eating raw fish. Well, times have obviously changed, and nowadays sushi has become as mainstream as pizza.
As with any ancient food, the origins of sushi are quite opaque. Fermented rice was first used as a fish preservative in Southeast Asia centuries ago, and grew in popularity in Japan, where the preserved fish and fermented rice were first combined. In 1820s Tokyo (then known as Edo), the dish transformed into the dish of lightly vinegared rice with fresh raw fish that we know and love today.
You’ll find maki (rolls) and nigiri (rice with fish on top) at most supermarkets these days, but if you’ve ever been to a high-end sushi restaurant you’ll know that sushi quality varies wildly, to say the least. An expert sushi maker will spend years in training and apprenticeships. (The finest sushi places can easily number among the most expensive restaurants in America.)
To compile a list of the best sushi bars in every state, 24/7 Tempo compared reviews and ratings appearing on a wide range of websites, including Eater, The Daily Meal, Travel & Leisure, Men’s Journal, Time Out, Spoon University, Cheapism, Restaurant Clicks, Big Seven Travel, Mashed, Thrillist, and The Recipe, as well as numerous city and regional sites.
Few of the places on this list serve sushi and sashimi exclusively. Almost all offer at least a few kitchen appetizers and entrees; some specialize equally in ramen, tempura, or hibachi dishes; and some even serve a few Chinese or Korean dishes. In addition, most feature non-traditional specialty rolls, combining ingredients that no classical sushi master in Japan would ever consider using.
Nonetheless, all are serious about the quality of their fish and shellfish and all offer well-made traditional sushi and sashimi if that’s what the diner is in the mood for. (If you like seafood but aren’t sure about sushi, these are some of the best seafood restaurants in America.)
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