Sushi is an Unexpected Desert Favorite in Phoenix


By Amy Young

Over the last decade, Phoenix area restaurants have become dining destinations for a wide range of cuisine, especially sushi. In a desert region where temperatures often hover around 100 degrees and higher, you wouldn’t expect to find a seafood mecca, but with so many outstanding restaurants serving fresh and innovative sushi and Asian-inspired dishes, it became inevitable. Here is a sampling.


Tokyo Lobby’s fresh and floral sashimi platter Credit: Photo courtesy of Tokyo Lobby Sushi and Grill

Tokyo Lobby’s fresh and floral sashimi platter

Located in Glendale, one of Phoenix’s west side suburbs, Tokyo Lobby offers sushi lovers a cozy and casual atmosphere in which to enjoy items from sushi and grill menus. The former boasts tasty and fresh choices like ahi tuna, yellowtail belly and red snapper served with rice or sashimi-style. The latter sizzles up goodies such as the shrimp lettuce wrap and the delectable Monkey Brain–a deep fried mushroom covered in crab and spicy tuna. Specialty rolls are a Tokyo Lobby favorite. Concoctions include the Aloha, which puts fresh tuna and pineapple with yogurt sauce atop a California roll.


This north Phoenix sushi bar offers an upscale dining experience in an intimate and laid back atmosphere. Chef and owner Yasu Hashino is exceptionally particular about the fish served at this cozy bistro; much of it is flown in from Japan. Try delicate fresh offerings like the Hamachi, which is spiced up with tingly jalapeno or Kumamoto oysters. Hashino’s sumibiyaki grill is another great reason to make this your destination. He utilizes binchotan, an aromatic charcoal, to cook both meat and vegetable options from skewers of chicken meatballs called Tsukune to chunky pieces of Japanese eggplant.  A simple cherry tomato wrapped in bacon becomes elevated after spending moments over the coals. 480.787.9181


Sakana’s sashimi platter offers a sampling of what’s fresh. Photo courtesy of Sakana Sushi and Grill

Sakana’s sashimi platter offers a sampling of what’s fresh.

With locations in Ahwatukee, Glendale, Mesa and Scottsdale, a meal at Sakana is always in range for metropolitan Phoenix residents and visitors. Each spot has a relaxed feel allowing guests to enjoy themselves whether donning shorts or a suit. If it’s hot food you’re craving, there are entrees such as the Ten Spice Salmon, White Fish Sauté and different ramen, udon and soups. Hand cut fresh fish options from the sushi menu include house smoked salmon, mackerel and eel. Sakana offers a Happy Roll menu, which includes specialty rolls like the Cajun Wild Fish Roll and the Omega 3 Roll (with salmon skin), throughout the week and limited times on weekends.



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