We've only just introduced the 2016 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards, and we're already hitting a high point with our nominees for Best Sushi Restaurant in Dallas.
The Tastemaker Awards are our annual event where we honor the best in local food and drink. We've unveiled our brightest category — Rising Star Chef — and we'll unfurl more entries in the coming weeks.
It wasn’t hard to come up with our list of 10 top sushi restaurants. Dallas-Fort Worth likes its sushi and has many contenders, but these stand out above the rest.
Restaurant and lounge located under the South Tower of The W Hotel in Victory Park features sushi and Asian cuisine. Its sushi selection ranges from traditional items to fun fusion dishes, without getting kitschy. Part of its appeal is its glamorous, urban atmosphere, with versatile seating options that make it easy to pop in for a pre-game bite, post-show snack, or linger for dinner. Kenichi also boasts one of the largest sake lists in Texas.
Nobu Dallas is the Texas outpost of the star-powered sushi concept from internationally acclaimed chef Nobu Matsuhisa, headquartered in New York. Residing in the lobby of the Rosewood Crescent, Nobu is somehow discreet yet flashy, with new-wave Japanese dishes and Dallas specials such as scallops with jalapeño salsa and Ranchero rib eye steak. It was also one of the first to popularize the concept of the special omakase chef's dinner to Dallas.
Quietly and steadily, Oishii has grown from a modest BYOB spot with cheap but good sushi to the sophisticated Pan-Asian restaurant and lounge it is today. Fans still idolize Oishii as their underdog hero, but the word is out. Chef Thanh Nguyen has made a name for himself with his signature sushi rolls and menu of fine Vietnamese, Chinese, and Thai.
This brainchild of Tracy Rathbun and Lynae Fearing serves its neighborhood faithfully, with impeccable sushi by the pompadoured chef Shuji "Elvis" Sugawara, buttressed by a menu of Asian-leaning dishes. There are even a few old favorites from the owners, whose hospitality combined with an atmosphere of casual elegance have turned Shinsei into both a neighborhood favorite and sushi destination.
Richardson spot is an insider favorite among the foodie cognoscenti that's hailed by many to be the most authentic sushi restaurant in North Texas. Nightly specials often feature fish flown in fresh. Cool community-style tables, non-reflective lighting, and a diverse clientele that includes many Japanese customers create an electric atmosphere that transports you out of Dallas.
Tei Tei Robata Bar
Tei Tei is the original home to two legendary sushi figures in Dallas, Shuji "Elvis" Sugawara and Teiichi "Teach" Sakurai, and the restaurant retains some of that mystique. It introduced the Tokyo-style robata method with a charcoal grill, and its authentic approach makes it a favorite for visitors from Japan. Its modern space remains timeless, and it was on Henderson Avenue before Henderson Avenue became the juggernaut it is today.
Another spot founded by Teiichi Sakurai, Teppo has kept the magic going on Greenville Avenue, where it has prevailed since 1995. Its special niche is as a late-night spot with a rowdy party vibe. It's where the jaded foodie goes after the debauchery is over — which takes nothing away from its well-executed menu of sushi.
Austin import has a couple of things going for it: It's from Austin, and it has a celebrity chef founder in Tyson Cole. Dallas loves a celebrity and it loves Austin concepts. Uchi's sushi creations are unique in that nearly every dish pairs fish with fruit, which is ideal for the sweet-centric American palate. A little grape here, a little citrus there makes the raw fish go down easy. The two-story building is also home to newly opened Top Knot, best known for its fried chicken slider.
Uptown sushi spot follows the golden rule, which says that all good sushi restaurants should be named for their chefs. Yutaka Yamato has many chef friends whom you'll see dining here, which gives the place a stamp of approval; if chefs like it, it must be good. But Yamato is an attentive, focused chef whose sushi shines. There's also charm in the restaurant's petite size, lending an intimacy and a personal touch to the service.
Veteran chef Michelle Carpenter learned from the best when she worked at Yamamoto, one of Dallas' early top sushi restaurants, coincidentally located in the space where Shinsei currently resides. Now she presides over her own cozy spot in hot Bishop Arts, where her precision as well as her gorgeous vegetarian sushi options are totally on point. She's also vastly creative, which she keeps almost hidden under an unassuming veneer.