Hana Japanese Restaurant
8116 Hampson St., 865-1634
While many sushi bars give you a little lagniappe commonly in the form of soup, the “extra” at Hana is one not to push aside. Delicate, thin noodles are liberally coated in a thin mayonnaise-based sauce that is so divine you’ll beg for more! Portions are generous and servers are friendly at this Riverbend locale, but it’s the special Hana sauce that keeps legions of fans coming back for more. Meat lovers won’t want to miss the beef skewers and the simply divine chirasi, a bowl of sushi rice topped with an assortment of fresh raw fish and Japanese garnishes.
920 Poydras St., 561-8914
This cozy establishment is nestled in the CBD, where busy professionals seek it out for its warm atmosphere, attentive service and artfully presented dishes. The tuna tataki (sliced, peppered, seared tuna topped with special Horinoya sauce) is light yet flavorful, but for those seeking intensity, the explosive wasabi shumai (a steamed pork dumpling with a generous dose of wasabi) won’t disappoint. Check out the Lobster Roll, deep-fried lobster with avocado and smelt roe topped with eel sauce or the Soybean Paper Roll, a rice-less creation of tuna, whitefish, salmon, crabstick, avocado and baby radish wrapped in soybean.
4920 Prytania St., 891-3644
Located in a bustling Uptown stretch, this quaint neighborhood restaurant has been serving authentically styled sushi since
1995. A few of the standout starters include the Tuna Tataki Ginzen (with avocado and a tangy lime-hinted soy sauce), the delicate whitefish carpaccio and gyozo dumplings. In addition to tasty standard rolls, some of Kyoto’s original choices include the ultrapopular Sara Roll (spicy shrimp and avocado with tempura batter and chili sauce on top), the heavenly Jones Roll (white tuna, green onions, avocado, chili sauce and sprouts topped with ponzu) and the decadent Desiree Roll (crawfish and crabstick rolled together, then tempura-fried and served with a creamy wasabi sauce).
310 N. Carrollton Ave., 485-5658
Relatively new to its Mid-City location, this classy, modern and spacious eatery offers elegant decor, a pleasant atmosphere and tempting culinary delights. A tasty starter is Nuta (seared tuna and cucumbers with a delightful miso and sweet vinegar dressing) or the succulent shiitake yakitori (skewered broiled shiitakes with teriyaki sauce). Top sellers include the Burning Man Roll (spicy tuna and tempura batter topped with peppered tuna, ponzu and eel sauce) and the original Po’boy Roll (fried shrimp tempura, fried soft shell crab, crawfish and lettuce wrapped in soybean).
Rock n’ Sake
823 Fulton St., 581-7253
Located in the chic Warehouse District, this stylish sushi bar is often filled with hipsters sipping sake cocktails and starting their night out on the town. Don’t miss the Killer Scallops sautéed in a delicate garlic butter sauce or the tempura-fried portabella mushrooms served with wasabi-infused honey mustard. Popular rolls include the Hawaii 5-O (coconut-tempura shrimp and cream cheese with mango and avocado outside) and the Cucumber Outside, a riceless concoction of eel, salmon, yellowtail, tuna, snowcrab, avocado and asparagus wrapped in cucumber and served with a creamy dipping sauce.
4201 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, 779-7253
Modern and swank with a stylish new bar that centers around a grand aquarium, Sake Café attracts diners seeking contemporary American sushi. For starters, try the sizzling squid steak in rich soy glaze or the tasty soy barbecued ribs. The Volcano Roll is piled high with snowcrab and spicy tuna covered with crispy tempura batter and a spicy sauce, while the delightful Star Burst roll, features tuna, avocado, snowcrab and tempura batter served with several rich, creamy sauces. The boxes here are enormous and quite tasty (the tuna is exceptionally good) and portions in general are quite generous, so you won’t leave hungry.
1612 St. Charles Ave., 581-4449
This Garden District venue boasts friendly service and a wide variety of tasty appetizers, generous sashimi servings and innovative rolls. The refreshing Poke Salad is chock-full of fresh tuna, salmon, whitefish, squid and seaweed salad with a light yet flavorful ponzu sauce. Other favorites are the Uptown Roll (yellowtail, snowcrab, avocado and eel sauce) and the Calamari Crunch (calamari tempura, snowcrab and asparagus topped with smelt row and eel sauce).
900 Frenchmen St., 943-9433
Marigny and Bywater dwellers flock here to sample traditional selections from the simple California Roll to sea urchin. Purists will enjoy the delicate white tuna sushi, succulent unagi (eel) sushi and yellowtail sashimi. For starters, try the beef negimaki, green onions wrapped in thinly sliced beef served with teriyaki sauce, or the flavorful black bean mussels, sautéed with bell pepper, onions, jalapeños and black beans. The Rice Paper Roll (fresh tuna, avocado, lettuce and carrots wrapped in rice paper and served with a richly flavored hoisin sauce) is a sure crowd-pleaser.