Tokyo on the Rocks
Salmon maki, Dhs15 for three pieces
Judging by the fact that I ate their sushi rolls every lunchtime for around a year, I guess you could call me a fan these light, made-to-order concoctions. Unfortunately, this place is a takeaway venture only, as the restaurant does have a rank, antiseptic smell that is quite off-putting. I’m also not so fanatical about the food they actually cook, which can leave you feeling greasy inside. Nor do I like the recent hike in prices or the removal of its good-to-go sushi conveyor belt.
Beside Welcare Hospital, Garhoud (04 286 8060)
Tokujo, Dhs153 for six ngiri sushi and six sashimi
It’s far from cheap, but then again, we are talking about the Emirates Towers. Regardless, you’ll be hard-pressed to find more original, or innovatively presented, sushi offerings in town. Furthermore, the chef prepares your meal right in front of you, and he chops up fresh fish with lightning, even superhero-like speed. We tucked into the tokujo, fresh spreads of perfectly pink tuna, dissolvent snapper, and equally good crab and squid.
Jumeirah Emirates Towers Shopping Boulevard (04 319 8088)
All-you-can-eat Saturday, Dhs150
The price-coded dishes doing the rounds on Café Sushi’s conveyor are among the tastiest in town. Sweet slabs of tamago (egg omelette), some crazy mini fruit salads and the freshest sashimi this side of Usuki all go whizzing past. Truth be told, this place stretches the definition of café (size-wise it’s more like a big white cupboard) and the prices are high and getting higher – even our favourite Dhs100 all-you-can-eat Saturday offer was recently bumped up to Dhs150 – but there’s something that keeps us coming back. Namely quality.
Fairmont Dubai (04 332 5555)
Chef sashimi collection, Dhs220 for eight pieces
This appropriately named restaurant tucked away inside the Grand Hyatt delivers on its promise: it serves good, simple sushi. The chef is Japanese, and knows how to present and preserve the fresh catch. The place is tiny though, and the selections are unadorned and rather pricey. We enjoyed the chef’s sashimi collection, which came with tuna, salmon, hammour and octopus. Were it a bit cheaper, we’d recommend it whole-heartedly.
Grand Hyatt (04 317 1234)
Maki platter, Dhs140 for 10 pieces
No-frills sushi and authentic bentos, that’s what great Japanese restaurants are made of. While the decor is all plain-Jane, and the presentation of the maki platter is messy, the selection is a good, affordable mixture of tuna, salmon, crabstick and cucumber rolls. If we were judging the mains, we’d definitely give Bento-ya a higher rating, because that’s really what it’s all about. As sushi goes though, it’s good, but you could find better.
Sheikh Zayed Road (04 343 0222)
Sushi sandwich, Dhs28 for eight pieces
Sumo is not where you go for authentic sushi, but if you’re happy with a more commercial take on the stuff, then it’s not half bad. We won’t argue it’s the freshest stuff around (sometimes it gives off a slightly fishy odour), but we’re big fans of the sushi sandwich. Yes, it feels dirty to eat – ground up tuna and salmon likely hides the fact we’re not dealing with prime fish here – but the hefty sprinkling of tempura chunks and roe imbedded in the meat make the dish perfect comfort food.
Garhoud, (04 283 0622)