Best o-toro in town, best sea urchin in town, best sushi bar in town, hands down. Sushi Tazu is the semi-subterranean sushi bar where everyone knows your name. If they were ever to make a Japanese version of Cheers, it would be set in a place like Tazu, staffed by a crew like the one that works behind the curving bar here, and filmed live before a studio audience of the sort of dedicated fish freaks who frequent Tazu. This is a sushi bar where you can get to know the guy rolling your fish -- and sometimes even have a short conversation before the chef has to run off and wrap up an order of three dozen tekka maki for a bunch of half-drunk Creekers down the way. Unlike bartenders, these sushi chefs aren't interested in helping you solve your personal problems or discussing last night's box scores, but if you want to talk about the freshness of the ama ebi or the color of your uni, they're all ears.


Best o-toro in town, best sea urchin in town, best sushi bar in town, hands down. Sushi Tazu is the semi-subterranean sushi bar where everyone knows your name. If they were ever to make a Japanese version of Cheers, it would be set in a place like Tazu, staffed by a crew like the one that works behind the curving bar here, and filmed live before a studio audience of the sort of dedicated fish freaks who frequent Tazu. This is a sushi bar where you can get to know the guy rolling your fish -- and sometimes even have a short conversation before the chef has to run off and wrap up an order of three dozen tekka maki for a bunch of half-drunk Creekers down the way. Unlike bartenders, these sushi chefs aren't interested in helping you solve your personal problems or discussing last night's box scores, but if you want to talk about the freshness of the ama ebi or the color of your uni, they're all ears.

At last count, Denver had something on the order of 17 billion sushi bars, with a new one opening every 45 seconds. There are strip malls that boast three sushi bars within a hundred paces, and in the 'burbs, a man can't chuck a side of bonito without it going straight through the window of a sushi bar that's opening -- or a sushi bar that's closing to make way for another sushi bar. But unlike the profusion of Starbucks or Wal-Marts out in the hinterlands, the sushi-bar explosion is a positive thing. Particularly if you live in Aurora, near Kassai Sushi. At this pleasant spot, there's always room for another body at the bar, always something interesting on the menu. And if the sushi chefs aren't exactly talkative, they're quick -- able to knock out an order of tuna hand rolls faster than you can say "Tekka maki and a bowl of miso, please." The buck-a-roll sushi happy hour is a killer deal, and the house even delivers. See? The suburbs aren't entirely uncivilized.


At last count, Denver had something on the order of 17 billion sushi bars, with a new one opening every 45 seconds. There are strip malls that boast three sushi bars within a hundred paces, and in the 'burbs, a man can't chuck a side of bonito without it going straight through the window of a sushi bar that's opening -- or a sushi bar that's closing to make way for another sushi bar. But unlike the profusion of Starbucks or Wal-Marts out in the hinterlands, the sushi-bar explosion is a positive thing. Particularly if you live in Aurora, near Kassai Sushi. At this pleasant spot, there's always room for another body at the bar, always something interesting on the menu. And if the sushi chefs aren't exactly talkative, they're quick -- able to knock out an order of tuna hand rolls faster than you can say "Tekka maki and a bowl of miso, please." The buck-a-roll sushi happy hour is a killer deal, and the house even delivers. See? The suburbs aren't entirely uncivilized.

Best Sushi Restaurant for Eating an Entire Tuna

Sonoda's

Over the past twenty years, Sonoda's has grown to four locations that serve big crowds. It's clearly making money, and just as clearly pouring it back into buying more fish, since the dining rooms don't look like they've been redecorated since the late '80s. But as long as Sonoda's keeps buying tuna, that's okay with us. Anything you can imagine being done with these tractor-trailers of the deep, Sonoda's does it: sashimi and tataki, hand rolls made from the collar, flank, belly, loin and tail. In one meal, you can come close to eating an entire fish. The best way to prepare for this nose-to-tail eating experience? With a bowl of the best Japanese soup in town, a powerful and salty broth made of -- what else? -- bonito.


Best Sushi Restaurant for Eating an Entire Tuna

Sonoda's

Over the past twenty years, Sonoda's has grown to four locations that serve big crowds. It's clearly making money, and just as clearly pouring it back into buying more fish, since the dining rooms don't look like they've been redecorated since the late '80s. But as long as Sonoda's keeps buying tuna, that's okay with us. Anything you can imagine being done with these tractor-trailers of the deep, Sonoda's does it: sashimi and tataki, hand rolls made from the collar, flank, belly, loin and tail. In one meal, you can come close to eating an entire fish. The best way to prepare for this nose-to-tail eating experience? With a bowl of the best Japanese soup in town, a powerful and salty broth made of -- what else? -- bonito.

There are Japanese restaurants in town that do great sushi, excellent yakitori, fine gyoza, wonderful ramen. But only at Domo do the disparate elements of Japanese cuisine come together in one perfect, country-style restaurant. And only at Domo could you enjoy this cuisine in such a zen-like setting, with beautiful service, tree-stump seats, a charmingly understated dining room and -- for those in real need of unruffled tranquility -- a Japanese meditation garden in the back. There's also an Aikido dojo and Japanese cultural center and museum that you're encouraged to visit while your meal is being prepared. But the wonderful farmhouse-style food, served with half a dozen exotic sides, is the real attraction at Domo.

Domo
There are Japanese restaurants in town that do great sushi, excellent yakitori, fine gyoza, wonderful ramen. But only at Domo do the disparate elements of Japanese cuisine come together in one perfect, country-style restaurant. And only at Domo could you enjoy this cuisine in such a zen-like setting, with beautiful service, tree-stump seats, a charmingly understated dining room and -- for those in real need of unruffled tranquility -- a Japanese meditation garden in the back. There's also an Aikido dojo and Japanese cultural center and museum that you're encouraged to visit while your meal is being prepared. But the wonderful farmhouse-style food, served with half a dozen exotic sides, is the real attraction at Domo.

You know you've found a great ethnic restaurant when nothing tastes like anything you've tasted before -- and it all tastes good. You think you've had Thai food before? Not until you've had it at Yummy Yummy Tasty Thai, a great restaurant in an awful location. While the menu reads a lot like every other Thai menu in the city, it tastes like a culinary travelogue of chef-owner Pim Fitt's native Thailand, full of true flavors and a real passion for the notion that to truly know a place, you must first know how its people eat.


You know you've found a great ethnic restaurant when nothing tastes like anything you've tasted before -- and it all tastes good. You think you've had Thai food before? Not until you've had it at Yummy Yummy Tasty Thai, a great restaurant in an awful location. While the menu reads a lot like every other Thai menu in the city, it tastes like a culinary travelogue of chef-owner Pim Fitt's native Thailand, full of true flavors and a real passion for the notion that to truly know a place, you must first know how its people eat.

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