BEST SUSHI - 2007
Readers' Choice: Origami
The last time we went to the downtown Origami we made a rookie mistake: We showed up at 6:30 on a Friday night, which, as everyone knows, means cooling your heels for an hour in the bar, waiting for a spot to open up. (Darn no-reservations policy!) As it happened, this wait gave us a chance to acquaint ourselves with Origami's recently expanded ultra-Japanese drink offerings, including four kinds of shochu ($6 to $11), that clear firewater that's kind of halfway between sake and vodka. We also discovered 10 sweet shochu highballs, called chu-hai, ($6.50)—those wine-cooler-like drinks that are so beloved in Japan that vending machines sell them by the can in nearly every train station. A Calpico chu-hai, then, is a milk-soda shochu cocktail, and probably the most street Japanese thing available right now in the Twin Cities. Nice! By the time we finally sat at the sushi bar, we got an Ecuadorian sushi chef who goes by the name Sari—uh oh. Had Origami lost its luster? Nah. The food arrived and proved that Origami is still the best in town. Aji sashimi ($12.25) was silky, buttery, slightly meaty, and fresh as new chrysanthemum blossoms. Hotate ($5.50), imported Japanese scallop, was as creamy as dew. An improvised roll of translucent squid, ika, cross-hatched into a shallow fringe and rolled up with shiso leaves was delicious, combining the fresh ocean squish of squid with surprising notes of licorice sorbet. Yum!