Itadakimasu (pronounced ee-ta-da-key-mas) is a Japanese saying, traditionally spoken before a meal, that translates roughly into English as “Let’s eat!”. If you’re looking to dig into some Japanese cuisine, there’s no better place to start than with the most iconic Japanese dish in America: sushi. It comes in all flavors, cooked or raw, wrapped in seaweed, or draped over a
rice ball – the one thing they have in common is that there are plenty of awesome places you can go to get sushi all over the state. I’m sure you’d love to check them all out, but to save you time we’ve rounded up seven of the finest!
3105 Oak Valley Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Godaiko has everything you could want from a sushi restaurant and more. They offer a variety of traditional favorites; California rolls (crab and avocado), Boston rolls (king crab, avocado, cucumber, lettuce, and Japanese mayo), and Wasabi rolls (tuna, steamed shrimp and scallions with wasabi sauce). They also have their signature Godaiko roll, an interesting combination of crab, salmon, tuna, whitefish, and avocado. If you’re going out with some friends or family who aren’t feeling terribly daring, Godaiko also serves grilled options including steak, seafood, and the Kobe Cheeseburger, an apparent paradox that makes my mouth water.
1144 East Paris Ave., Grand Rapids, MI 49546
If you’re as interested in the dining-out experience as you are in the food, Ju Sushi and Lounge might be the place for you. They combine some very old-fashioned wood paneling and Japanese wall hangings with modern brick and polished marble. The end result is something that feels warm and looks cool. Their menu is absolutely massive, including a long list of specialty rolls. They also serve some sushi combinations like the Love Boat, a massive combination of sashimi (actual raw fish) and nigiri (think sushi without the seaweed). If you’re feeling bold, you can trust the sushi chef’s judgement and get one of the chef’s choice combos.
237 East Front Street, Traverse City, MI 49684
Looking for a place to hold your next office gathering or birthday party? If you’re in the Traverse City area, look no farther
than Red Ginger. They have several different sizes of rooms available, and all for no charge, although they require you to spend a minimum amount on food and drinks, depending on which room you rent. That won’t be a problem, though, what with their ever-changing menu of sushi, as well as Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai cuisine.
4750 Hagadorn Rd., East Lansing, MI 48823
Sick of the cafeteria at Michigan State University? Sansu Sushi is just down the road, and they’ve got just the food to scratch that itch. The Jeon family has been in the restaurant business for 35 years, and they brought that family-owned feel to Sansu. They have daily specials for anyone looking to try something new, as well as a sushi bar staffed by friendly, experienced sushi chefs. They also have a list of domestic and imported saké, a traditional spirit made from fermented rice.
47 Monroe Center Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Marado is the Millennium Falcon of Grand Rapids sushi; she might not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts. It’s a delicious, no-frills experience that’s perfect for anyone on a budget. They have some of the friendliest staff I’ve ever met, and they’re perfectly happy to talk to you if you’re not sure what you’re getting yourself into. Just as well, since I have no idea what a Grandma roll could be!
326 West 4th St., Royal Oak, MI 48067
Ronin Sushi is the sort of place you can go and forget the world for a while. Polished wood and dim lighting make it easy to forget what time it is or, if you ignore the cell phones, what year it is. Just make sure you don’t forget when happy hour starts: Ronin offers some great happy hour deals on drinks and food. You can order well drinks for three dollars, or a draft of the Champagne of Beer for two bucks. I don’t know what a Mountain Dew Roll is, but I’m going to have to find out if I ever wind up in Royal Oak
between 5:00pm and 7:00pm.
242 E Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49007
One of the things I love the most about Kalamazoo is the wide variety of food you can pick up and eat in the comfort of your own home. Sushiya is no exception, though you’re missing out on some stellar service if you don’t stay and eat. One roll in
particular stands out to me: the Blackjack roll. They set the thing on fire and bring it out, so you have the option of letting the tuna cook, or eating it raw. It’s delicious either way.
I can’t stress enough that this list only scratches the surface of the amazing sushi to be found in Michigan. Don’t be afraid to try a new place that you find. After all, each restaurant will have slightly different preparation methods or use slightly different ingredients. It’s enough to make sure that each place is its own, unique experience.