Chirashi means “scattered sushi” in Japanese. Essentially it’s rice topped off with a variety of sashimi and various optional elements such as roe, pickled vegetables, avocado, uni, and a traditional egg omelet. Here are 7 restaurants for the best chirashi bowls to help you get your sushi fix in a new way.
Sakerum, Washington, D.C.
Consider this edible artwork. Matsuri sushi rice serves as the canvas, while a vibrant selection of fish, orange uni tongues, and bauble-y salmon roe are the paint. Don’t forget to take a picture before you take a bite. Make a reservation at Sakerum.
Roe Seafood, Long Beach, California
A hillock of rice crowned with cod roe sits at the center. A dozen pieces of fish specially chosen by the chef form a ring. There’s a multitude of flavor combinations you can create – and they’re all delicious. Make a reservation at Roe Seafood.
Pesce e Riso, San Francisco, California
Yellowfin tuna, wild East Coast scallops, and Mt. Lassen rainbow trout star in this poke-esque play on chirashi. These primo proteins are mixed with avocado and Japanese omelet and then tossed with garlic soy vinaigrette. A dainty shiso leaf completes the picture-perfect presentation. Make a reservation at Pesce e Riso.
Coquille Fine Seafood, Vancouver, British Columbia
Sea bream, hamachi, albacore tuna, geoduck, sea urchin, spot prawns, and salmon roe are dressed with umeboshi (salt plum) sauce and charred leek dressing. Local wasabi and a ramen egg complement the stellar selection. And golden quinoa from Saskatchewan stands in for the usual rice. Make a reservation at Coquille Fine Seafood.
The Source, Washington, D.C.
Sushi rice seasoned with rice wine and vinegar serves as the base. Generous pieces of tuna, yellowtail, salmon, eel, and kanpachi are splayed over it. Roe, pickled vegetables, fresh herbs, and avocado fill out the bowl. Make a reservation at The Source.
MIFUNE, New York, New York
Growing up, we never got a boxed lunch this nice. The multi-component chirashi box includes a quintet of sashimi, rice topped with salmon roe, pickled vegetables, salad, and miso soup. Definitely way better than a PB&J with a bag of Lay’s potato chips. Make a reservation at MIFUNE.
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Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell.
Photo credits: Farrah Skeiky (Sakerum); Kristen Loken (Pesce e Riso); Mifune (Mifune).