2209 Elliston Place
Mr. Choo is from Korea, and has studied sushi in Japan and New York for over 20 years. The way Mr. Choo creates the sushi rice to the proper flavor and texture, makes rice balls to the proper shape and stickiness, expertly trims the fish and then slices the fish without bruising or splintering the fish, shows that he is a well trained sushi chef. There is an art to preparing each element of sushi, and Mr. Choo has put in his time, study and training. There are a lot of sushi hacks in Nashville, but Mr. Choo is not a hack and he has truly earned the title of SUSHI CHEF.
Mr. Choo trims the fish so that there are no major veins left, and that all the chewy white connective tissue is removed, thus what is left is mostly tender pieces of fish that nearly melts in your mouth. On rare occasion, Mr. Choo has also gotten in toro tuna and abalone, which are just impossible to find in Nashville, let alone any landl0cked state. He has enough experience with such fish that it is a sheer delight t0 taste these delicacies prepared by his hands. For the most part, on any normal day, he generally carries all the standard fish that you can get anywhere, but he trims and prepares the fish the better than any shop in town. I may be old school, and want traditional sushi (I bring my own real wasabi that is more like excellent olive oil rather than peppery like horseradish), but Mr. Choo has expanded the horizons of the sushi roll in a very fun way. If you are not into raw fish, there are fruit, veggie, cooked shrimp and cooked crab rolls to try. The rolls are different, colorful and whimsical.
His shop is a small 6 table plus small sushi bar restaurant, which reminds me of a neighborhood sushi place in Manhattan. The decor is all Mr. Choo, and done up is a Japanese kitchy way. When we want to get a little injection of city life, we opt to go to Samurai sushi to feel like we are in a little East Village sushi place. If you want a well trained sushi chef to prepare your sushi, in a small hipster urban setting, come to Samurai.