Look no further for superior sushi

Akasaka Sushi3011 E. 3300 South485-5257U-Discount: NoFour-and-a-half out of five plates (food)Four out of five stars (ambiance)$10-15 per person

Sushi is an experience.

It’s truly an amazing food, quite unlike any other. It unites divergent flavors and textures, which may either clash or harmonize, into a masterpiece that pleases the eyes and takes your mouth on a thrilling ride, a ride that could end in either pure exhilaration or a good dose of queasiness.

Or more.

It’s like walking a tightrope, really. Each piece of sushi is meticulously crafted, assembled in an astonishing scientific (or is it artistic?) process that leaves no room for error, clumsiness or imperfection. The realm of sushi epitomizes fastidiousness, the sushi chef exerting the utmost control over his materials and working with absolute precision.

The diner, or sushi-goer, enters this domain of exactitude and immediately forges an implicit bond with the sushi chef. The eater is the person walking the tightrope; the chef is the person who firmly anchored both ends of the rope. The sushi itself is the rope.

By walking out onto that rope, the sushi-goer knowingly puts his or her life (or at least comfort for the next day or two) at risk. And that’s where the bond comes in. You don’t put yourself into a situation that is precarious or potentially dangerous, regardless of the possible rewards, without trusting the person constructing and tightening that rope for you.

You just don’t.

Eating raw fish can be scary. Even if they’re cooked, consuming ingredients that usually never enter your head as edible-much less delicious-can be daunting.

But that’s where the fun lies.

Is it at all thrilling to eat something with absolutely no risk? Do you get an adrenaline rush from mashed potatoes?

No, you don’t.

And that’s why, if you’re going to take that risk, you’d better just do it. You can’t think or hesitate-you’ve got to just get out there on that rope and go for it; you’ve got to embrace those inimitable flavors and textures and let yourself enjoy the experience. It’s worth it.

And one of the very best places in the city to go for that unparalleled experience is Akasaka Sushi. As a sushi bar, it’s worthy of five-out-of-five plates. No question. But as a Japanese restaurant, taking into account a few non-sushi foods, it’s more like four. Hence the four-and-a-half rating above. But let there be no question that Akasaka’s sushi is as good as it gets.


You’d have to be an extreme sushi expert to find ANYTHING wrong with it.

Take the spicy crunch roll, for instance. This is a perfect example of a perfect sushi roll. Wrapped in the standard seaweed and rice is the ideal balance of fresh crab, ripe avocado and mildly sweet eel. Layered on top of the rolls is tempura shrimp, a small heap of tempura bits, flying fish eggs and a secret spicy sauce. The flavors are all different and intense in their own ways, and they don’t clash at all; the textures are from all ends of the spectrum, but there’s no dissonance here. Just a thrilling blend of divergent ingredients that, when you cram them all into your mouth at once, take you somewhere that food doesn’t usually take you. This is truly superb sushi.

And all the risky stuff’s cooked!

Two equally delicious, but far more dangerous, rolls are the tiger roll and the spicy tuna roll. Both contain at least one raw ingredient, tuna, and both conceal an energetic spasm of flavor beneath their cool, controlled faades. But if you really want to get dangerous, you might want to try the crazy roll, the dynamite roll, the kiss of fire or the heart attack.

It makes me nervous to just think about those.

It really shouldn’t, though, because you don’t need to worry about trusting Akasaka’s sushi chef.

But for the cautious-at-heart, the vegetable roll is probably the safest of all bets. A refreshing blend of crisp, fresh vegetables, this roll gives you the fun without the thrill or fishy flavors.

Based upon these few samples, I think it’s pretty fair to say that all Akasaka’s sushi-from maki rolls to sashimi-is equally excellent. Besides the whole sushi experience thing, Akasaka’s sushi is just plain awesome, largely for three big reasons: fresh ingredients, quality preparation and stunning presentation.

Overall, Akasaka’s non-sushi dishes are quite delectable, but not exactly superior to other restaurants’. The miso soup is excellent, but that’s the standard; the yakisoba (noodles with vegetables) is pretty good, and the veggie tempura is near perfect, its light and fluffy (though a little oily) breading complementing the sauce and the vegetables’ natural flavors to yield a satisfying snack.

If you want ultimate confirmation that Akasaka is akamazing, though, you MUST order the tempura ice cream. The cold ice cream and the warm, soft, subtly sweet breading around it form a mouth-boggling combination. This dessert is simultaneously simple and complex (how do you fry ice cream without melting it?), and oh-so-mouthwatering. It’s the perfect end to a perfect meal.

And, if you were willing to risk it, a perfect experience.

Just remember one thing, though, when you’re out there on that tightrope: Don’t look down.