100 Favorite Dishes

100 Favorite Dishes: Ocean Salad at Sushi-Rama

No. 92: The Ocean Salad at Sushi-Rama
A seat at the counter at Sushi-Rama can be a mesmerizing experience, with domed plates of sushi filing past on a conveyor belt like a miniature marching band blaring notes of flavor instead of music. If you freeze with indecision from the overwhelming parade or worry that you'll overspend as you reach for plate after plate, slow the pace down with an order from the kitchen.

Amid the edamame, miso soup and yakitori, you'll find a $4 dish with the unassuming name of Ocean Salad. But look closely at the description: wakame, aka tosaka, ao tosaka and chuka. It's a salad that speaks a different language. Here's a quick translation. Wakame is a deep green (nearly black) seaweed that forms the base of the salad; think of it as maritime kale packed full of nutrients. Aka tosaka is another ocean grower that stands out, with a reddish-pink hue and a distinct crunch; ao tosaka is its delicate, grass-green cousin. 

For meatiness, the salad relies on thin slices of marinated squid called chuka ika, which shares briny brilliance with its bowlmates but also adds deep umami courtesy of its multi-ingredient marinade. Sprouts and sweet kiwi top the salad, and a lemon wedge provides optional acidity — although the salad is already brightly dressed, even without a squeeze.

So don't shy away from the thoughtfully constructed rolls coming at you on the conveyor (reach for a Pumpkin Dragon for a hearty but fish-free combo), but be sure to refresh your palate with this little salad with big ambition. 

Throughout this year, we'll be counting down the best dishes in the city — from longtime classics that keep us coming back to new additions that have caught our attention. If there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section, or shoot us an e-mail at [email protected]

Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2016 countdown are linked below.

No. 100: Masala Beef at Biju's Little Curry Shop
No. 99: Bacon Shrimp and Grits at Bacon Social House
No. 98: Porchetta and Kimchi Sandwich at Brider
No. 97: Squab-and-Sunchoke Tortellini at Abejas
No. 96: Housemade Burrata at Viand
No, 95: Schweinshaxe at Rhein Haus
No. 94 Kimchi Jeon at Seoul BBQ
No. 93: Zuppa Pomodoro at Parisi Italian Market & Deli
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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation