The best and worst of Columbia sushi

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Geisha Sushi Bar — CG

Nestled in the heart of downtown, Geisha Sushi Bar offers intimate dining and great food. Located on Broadway, Geisha’s sushi is some of the best in town. Prices run from $5 to $15 a roll. Accompanied with decent service, the atmosphere is quaint. The building is rather small for a restaurant, but it offers a bar and larger tables for groups. Like most Columbia sushi hot spots, Geisha offers some original rolls, including the Golden Girl Roll, the Tiger Roll, and the Tri-Delta Roll. The best in my opinion, though, is Geisha’s Crunch Roll. Topped with a tempura crunch and wasabi mayonnaise, this roll complements any meal.

Sunshine Sushi (MU Student Center) — CG

At first, “fast food” sushi might make a visitor wary, but the dining services at Sunshine Sushi have created reasonably priced sushi and a quick-paced, grab-and-go hotspot. Prices range from $4 to $10, and Sunshine offers sushi staples like the Spicy Roll, California Roll and Philly Roll. One of the more unique rolls Sunshine Sushi offers is the Sweet and Spicy Roll. Tasting just like it sounds, the Sweet and Spicy Roll has at first a sweet teriyaki taste before having to a spicy shock of wasabi. For $6.79, you get your money's worth. They also offer specialty rolls such as the Mizzou Roll and the new Tiger Roll.

Kampai Sushi Bar and Restaurant — CG

Although difficult to find, one of the newest sushi restaurants in Columbia offers a unique atmosphere and delicious food. Located at 907 Alley A downtown, Kampai is a great place for a special occasion or a night on the town. Rolls range from $6 to $24. Kampai offers community-style seating with long rows of benches as well as an upstairs lounge and an outdoor patio. Their house special, which is called a CoMo Roll, combines tuna, avocado, and pickle radish with smelt roe. If you are tired of the traditional sit-down style of sushi restaurants, Kampai allows one to order food in its upstairs lounge with couches and a DJ.

Kobe Japanese Steakhouse — AC

At Kobe, the food is well prepared and very tasty, but also very expensive. My favorite type of sushi was the Sashimi Appetizer. The tuna and salmon worked very well together, creating an East-meets-West vibe many people seek along with a bold taste. The only negative would have been the Tempura Roll, which was a little mealy and, when served to me, looked like cat food wrapped in baiting rice. If you have the money, I recommend this restaurant many times over. If not, you aren’t missing much that hasn’t previously been presented.

Kabuki Japanese Steak House — AC

The dishes had a similar price and taste to Kobe. Its combos gave you a little more food, but they were a little bland. I actually spit out a piece of my Shogun Combo to put more dipping sauce in it. Again, if you are on a Ramen noodle budget — like myself, when the check doesn’t clear — steer away from this place. If you have the money, though, I recommend the California Roll, which has dynamic flavors, and the Tuna Combo. It might scare you at first because you think you are actually looking at live fish, but it's great nonetheless.

Jina Yoo's Asian Bistro — AC

As far as Jina Yoo's is concerned, the less said, the better. The rice was mealy, the fish had a weird waxy texture and the rolls simply didn’t compete with Kobe's or Kabuki's offerings. I kept thinking, if they stopped adding so much rice, the dishes could have worked. For example, the Sin City Roll had a funky taste to complement the funky combination of tuna-crab mix and lotus root. The best by far was the FU Sake— not just because of the title, either. The flavors went well together along with the crispness of the cilantro and super spiciness of the wasabi — which you use with discretion, of course.

Osaka Japanese Restaurant — AC

The biggest surprise of all — besides almost vomiting from the Jin Yoo catastrosphe — was Osaka’s phenomenal sushi. All the rolls I ate had bold flavors, good presentations and cohesive tastes. It didn’t look as if fish was rolled into the rice on purpose; it looked like it belonged there. The prices were also reasonable for a college student like myself. The highlight was the California Roll. It tasted amazing, the fish was fresh and it had a very modern, neo-Oriental feeling. Osaka by far gets my recommendation for the best sushi restaurant I have been to.

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