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Celebrate International Sushi Day with Local Masters!

JPan-1

It's almost International Sushi Day, on June 18th, 2024! This delicious holiday is the perfect excuse to dive into the world of fresh fish, vinegared rice, and culinary artistry. But sushi's journey to our plates is a fascinating one, taking us back centuries and across continents.

From Humble Beginnings to Modern Masterpiece
The story of sushi starts in Southeast Asia, where a method called Narezushi was used to preserve fish. Fish was wrapped in fermented rice, allowing it to last for months. Interestingly, the rice was discarded back then, and only the preserved fish was eaten!

Fast forward, and we encounter Namanare, a more familiar concept. This involved partly fermented fish, a precursor to the modern palate's preference. This marked a shift from preservation to a new form of cuisine.

Finally, during Japan's Edo period (1600-1800 AD), the sushi we know and love today emerged. Vinegar-infused rice became the base for this dish, featuring fish and vegetables. Regional variations added their own flair, but the core concept remains a staple.

Experience the Dedication Behind the Dish
There's no better way to celebrate International Sushi Day than at a local sushi haven. Here's the thing: for many sushi chefs, it's more than just a job; it's a passion. Becoming an itamae, a sushi chef in Japan, involves years of rigorous training under a master. Imagine – up to twenty years honing the skills to create the perfect sushi rice! This dedication translates into an exceptional dining experience for you.

Local Gems Await
Now, let's explore some of the finest sushi spots right here in our area. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with the creations of these local sushi masters...

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d poet 13DRUNKEN POET CAFE | Top photo: Crazy Roll - Tempura shrimp, kani krab, and topped with big eye tuna and Sriracha | Bottom photo: Sushi Jo - assorted sushi and tuna roll 

Drunken Poet Cafe
1572 Main Street, Sarasota, FL 34236

For a truly unique sushi experience in Sarasota, look no further than Drunken Poet Cafe. This local favorite offers inventive takes on classic sushi dishes alongside authentic Thai cuisine, all served in a warm and inviting atmosphere. Owner Aporni Punyhotra, known as "Oy" to the regulars, is a Sarasota gem herself – charming and dedicated to creating a memorable dining experience. Whether you're a sushi aficionado or simply looking for a fun and flavorful meal, Drunken Poet Cafe promises fresh ingredients, creative combinations, and warm hospitality.

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FINS AT SHARKY'S | (left) Surf & Turf: Sushi roll with Maine lobster, asparagus, shrimp, and avocado topped with flame-seared Meyers All-Natural Filet, eel sauce, with spicy mayo | (right) Alaska Roll: Blue crab, avocado, and cucumber topped with salmon and masago

Fins at Sharky's
1600 Harbor Drive S, Venice, FL 34285 

For sushi lovers seeking an unforgettable experience, Fins at Sharky's in Venice, Florida shouldn't be missed. This beachfront restaurant boasts breathtaking Gulf views alongside a globally-inspired menu featuring the freshest seasonal ingredients. While succulent steaks and prime cuts take center stage, Fins at Sharky's dedication to local, high-quality seafood ensures their sushi is always impeccably fresh. Whether you choose to dine indoors or on the scenic deck, the inviting atmosphere and coastal décor promise a memorable evening.  Check out Fins sushi menu here.

jpan 29JPAN SUSHI & GRILL
Clockwise from top: Shrimp, Tuna, Eggs, Salmon, Wagyu Beef, Eel, Smelt Roe, Yellow Tail

JPAN Sushi & Grill 
3800 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34239 
229 N Cattlemen Rd., Sarasota, FL 34243 

Jpan Sushi & Grill, a local favorite since 2008, is the perfect place to celebrate International Sushi Day or any day!. With two convenient locations at UTC and Siesta Row, Jpan offers an incredible selection of sushi and Japanese fare that will tantalize your taste buds. Their experienced chefs are true artists, using the freshest ingredients to create mouthwatering nigiri, sashimi, and specialty rolls. But Jpan goes beyond sushi – their menu also features traditional dishes, grilled wagyu beef, and tempura. Whether you're a sushi aficionado or just looking for a delicious Japanese dining experience, Jpan Sushi & Grill is sure to leave you satisfied.

kojo 12KOJO
Mamenori Maki Roll: soy paper wrapped tuna, hamachi & salmon, avocado, wasabi mayo, kabayaki

KOJO
1289 N Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

World-traveled Natalia and Mark Levey of HI Hospitality Group bring their global flair to Sarasota with Kojo. This modern Asian eatery, open since February 2021, has become a haven for discerning palates. Kojo transcends the typical sushi experience, offering a dynamic menu that reflects the Levys' adventurous spirit. Here, thoughtfully curated flavors extend beyond the plate, with a captivating cocktail list and premium sake collection. Kojo isn't just about satisfying hunger; it's a sensory exploration designed to stimulate and delight. Prepare to indulge your inner gourmand at Kojo, where every bite and sip promises to be a guilty pleasure.

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PACIFIC RIM | Tuna nigiri topped with tobiko; toro nigiri; torched salmon nigiri topped with rice puffs; and raw scallop nigiri topped with uni and tobiko | Middle dish: Siesta Roll wrapped with avocado, topped with mango, strawberries, and jicama salsa | Back dish: King Salmon maki roll topped with jalapenos.

Pacific Rim
1859 Hillview Street, Sarasota, FL 34239

Craving sushi with a twist? Look no further than Pacific Rim in Sarasota. This restaurant offers a unique Japanese-Thai fusion cuisine, perfect for those who want to explore flavors beyond traditional sushi. But fear not, sushi purists! Pacific Rim is also renowned for its creative and delectable sushi selection. Their commitment to fresh ingredients and culinary expertise shines through in every dish. Since 1998, they've cultivated a loyal following with their dedication to providing a relaxing atmosphere, exceptional service, and food that embodies the best of Thai and Japanese culinary traditions.View Pacific Rim's sushi menu here.

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tsunami 19TSUNAMI Bottom: Top photo: (Appetizers) Stuffed Shrimp; Ahi Tna Tower; and Ruby Tower | Bottom photo: Lollipop Roll - ebi, king crab, cilantro, avocado, japanese vinaigrette, rolled in cucumber, sesame oil

Tsunami Sushi & Hibachi
11609 State Road 70 E,, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
100 Central Avenue #1022, Sarasota, FL 34236

Craving fresh sushi and creative Japanese fare? With locations in Downtown Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch, Tsunami Sushi & Hibachi offers a delectable dining experience that goes beyond the ordinary. Their talented chefs prepare an extensive menu featuring mouthwatering sushi rolls, melt-in-your-mouth sashimi, and flavorful Asian entrees, all crafted with fresh, high-quality ingredients. Tsunami doesn't shy away from culinary creativity, boasting unique takes on classic Japanese dishes alongside traditional favorites. And to complete the experience, Tsunami's stylish ambiance provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere, perfect for any occasion.

Jack Dusty sushi
JACK DUSTY COASTAL CUISINE

Jack Dusty 
1111 Ritz Carlton Drive, Sarasota, FL 34236 

Craving sushi with a stunning view? Pull up a chair at Jack Dusty, The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota's signature restaurant, offering vibrant coastal cuisine and inventive craft cocktails. Beyond the beautiful setting, Jack Dusty is known for its fresh, delicious seafood dishes that capture the essence of Sarasota's unique energy. And now, they've added an exciting new event to their offerings: Sushi Thursdays! Every Thursday from 4:30-6:30 pm, indulge in an exquisite selection of sushi and specialty rolls crafted with the freshest ingredients. From classics like the California Roll to unique options like the Brûlée Salmon & Tempura Shrimp Roll, there's something for every sushi lover. Don't miss out on this delectable experience!

Now that you've got the inside scoop on our local sushi gems, gather your favorite foodies and embark on a delicious adventure! Your neighborhood's sushi scene is waiting to be explored, and trust us, your taste buds will thank you.

The magic of these photos (Drunken Poet, Fins at Sharky's, JPAN, Kojo, Pacific Rim and Tsunami) was captured by the lens of Peter Acker Photography (packerphoto.com)