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Foodie Review: Sushi 88 (Ottawa)

Sushi Plat­ter at Sushi 88

Ottawa finally caught up with the sushi craze and sushi joints have been pop­ping up all over the town. But we are not Van­cou­ver, and here there are mostly two ways to sat­isfy your sushi crav­ings: pick­ing up a box of assorted sushi at SushiGo, Go For Sushi or what­ever com­bi­na­tion of these key­words; or hit­ting one of the more or less “authen­tic” all-you-can-eat sushi buffets.

But recently, I found a good com­pro­mise between the to-go bento box and the “stuff-yourself-silly” buf­fets: Sushi 88.

The restau­rant is located in Som­er­set, right past Bron­son and the Chi­na­town Arch. It’s pretty small but very cozy inside, with a sushi prepa­ra­tion area at the back, two comfy booths by the win­dow and tables and chairs in the middle.

I was pleas­antly sur­prised by the prices. Sushi isn’t that cheap and bento boxes are often around $10, while Japan­ese restau­rants charge much more. At sushi 88, you can have a com­plete meal for around $15, and trust me, you’ll be full!

I chose the Veg­gie Delight (18 pieces) that came with a miso soup for only $13.95—not bad for a sit-down restau­rant. The sushis were very tasty and inven­tive: sweet potato, red pep­per, cucum­ber… There were also very well rolled, i.e. tight and they didn’t fall apart when picked with chop­sticks. The food was beau­ti­fully pre­sented, a nice change from sushi in a plas­tic box. Watch out though, the wasabi is strong!

On my sec­ond visit, the three of us opted to share a “party cen­tral”, 48 assorted pieces of sushi, some cooked, some raw and some veg­e­tar­ian. The ones topped with kiwi with sweet potato inside were delicious!

This is one of the few sushi restau­rants where I wouldn’t mind eat­ing raw fish: the place is spot­less and the ingre­di­ents are con­sis­tently fresh. I like the fact the menu clearly describes the sushi, and even offers a “new­bie spe­cial” or a “I like my sushi cooked”.

The Good

  • Great view on the Chi­na­town Arch.
  • Comfy atmos­phere, very cozy place and friendly service.
  • Excel­lent sushi and great presentation.
  • Their “party” deals are great when you are three or more.

The Bad

  • Can get pretty packed. The nicest spots are the two booths by the win­dow, the rest of the tables are kind of squeezed together.
  • Ser­vice can be slow.
  • If you are really into true Japan­ese food, you may not like the some­what “West­ern­ized” sushi.

At a glance

690B Som­er­set St W (Chi­na­town)
(613) 233‑3288
www.sushi88.ca

Mon-Sat 4:30 p.m. — 10 p.m.
Tue-Sat 11:30 a.m. — 2:30 p.m.
Sun 4:30 p.m.  - 9 p.m.

Sushi Plat­ter at Sushi 88

Sushi 88 on Urbanspoon

21 comments

  1. I love sushi but I can’t take them with raw fish though so I know I am miss­ing out on the sashimi.

    Lots of wasabi for me :)

  2. most of the restau­rants that peo­ple go for sushi are a twisted ver­sion of japan­ese sushi restaurants(where the chef is japan­ese and the ingre­di­ents are the right ones).
    And of course these fake sushi restau­rants are run by chi­nese cheap work­force, who by no mean have any idea about sushi. rea­son being is because no chi­nese will be let to cook sushi in japan, given the super strong nation­al­is­tic atmos­phere that exist there espe­cially towards chinese/other asian immi­grants that live in japan.
    and there­fore one can find a lot of of sushi vari­a­tions but, never the real sushi.

    I lived for 10 years in japan and to a cer­tain extend can dis­tin­guish a chi­nese behind the counter, and that spells ANYTHING BUT SUSHI :)
    vari­a­tions of some sort might be inter­est­ing, but I miss the real sushi even here in NYC, where going to a real japan­ese restau­rant is pretty expen­sive and eat­ing chi­nese sushi is a per­verse way of sat­is­fy­ing sushi crav­ing.
    and for the record: since sushi qual­ity fish in the east­ern coast isnt the same as west­ern coast, def­i­nitely there is a big gap in the qual­ity.
    so maybe now you know why your sushi is so cheap while see­ing your pics, I think it is true what i said above.
    but then again, if you like what you eat, maybe thats the sushi def­i­n­i­tion for you, and you should stick with it.
    taste is in the mouth of the beholder :)

    • Well, I kind of dis­agree. Basi­cally, you seem to say that 1) Sushi we have here aren’t good qual­ity 2) Peo­ple don’t know what they are eating.

      I tend to stay away from that kind of rea­son­ing because I believe food evolves and there are no “true” way of doing one dish. I per­son­ally don’t like Chinese-Canadian cui­sine much because I was used to North­ern China cui­sine, but it doesn’t mean the qual­ity isn’t good or the chef sucks. It’s just a mat­ter of taste.

      I know sushi here (and I believe out­side of Japan in gen­eral) aren’t authen­tic, but I like the West­ern twist.

    • So if a nation­al­ity other than japan­ese spends their years learn­ing and knows the cui­sine just as good as any other japan­ese chef, orders in a fish from Japan, cuts it tra­di­tion­ally and serves it to you as lets say sashimi, you’re telling me you’re gonna spit it back in his face and tell him it’s dis­gust­ing because he’s not japan­ese??
      I’m sorry, I sup­pose your 10 years is sup­posed to give you the undis­puted author­ity to claim that your tiny sam­ple of a decade equates to 100% cer­tainty that every japan­ese per­son is a closed minded individual.

      Well lets go by your logic then. So you say ONLY Japan­ese peo­ple can make sushi well? Then does that mean only a cau­casian per­son can flip a burger well? And that every cau­casian per­son is good at flip­ping burg­ers? And if some­one other than a cau­casian flips my burger at Har­veys am i sup­posed to whip out my authen­tic­ity card and be upset?
      Well truth is I am a cau­casian and i suck at flip­ping burg­ers (oh for shame, i’ve shamed my race) and i admit, i am a hor­ri­ble cook and if some­one from i don’t know, Alaska??? can cook an awe­some burger for me, i’d be more than happy to eat it.
      I don’t see what the big deal is if a dif­fer­ent nation­al­ity makes your food. If the chef has the heart, pas­sion and palette to make some­thing tasty why not just enjoy it?

      I’ve eaten both tra­di­tional and west­ern­ized from both coasts, they’re both good in their own respect and i like the variety.

      • Amen! (even though I’m an atheist!)

        I couldn’t agree more with you. And even though I was born in France, don’t count on me for a true French meal… :lol:

        It seems like it was a small case of food snob­bery, which I dis­like. Of course, every­one is enti­tled to his opin­ion but like you I believe in vari­ety and I don’t think there a “true” way to cook. And while sushi is a Japan­ese spe­cialty, I don’t see why peo­ple of other nation­al­i­ties couldn’t pre­pare it well, some­times with a twist.

  3. We’re going to try itn thanks for the tip!

    Did you try the Naked Fish in West­boro, near the inter­sec­tion of Rich­mond and Churchill? It is absolutely not tra­di­tion­nal japonese sushi, but it’s a really good “west­ern­ized” sushi / makis restau­rant. The place is pretty small, but the food is very good.
    They make some very inter­est­ing sweet makis with choco­late and fruit (yeah I know, you have to try it before you can believe me!).

    • Cool, I’ll give it a shot! Maybe we can meet there when I come back? I haven’t been to West­boro in a while, although I used to love Café Mio. Great place, I rec­om­mend it!

  4. Tightly-packed sushi and strong wasabi? Sounds like a good sushi expe­ri­ence — these lit­tle details count. And $13.95 for an 18-piece-sushi-and-soup combo? It doesn’t get any bet­ter than that. Even with the mostly west­ern­ized menu (well, this is Canada, after all) and the usual crowd, this is still worth check­ing — at the very least, no one’s leav­ing half-full here.

  5. Next time, you might want to try the one called “Genji Japan­ese Restau­rant”. It’s my favourite Japan­ese restaurant.

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