There may not be a single word in the world of cuisine that elicits more reaction. You’ve got one camp that won’t get over the ‘raw factor’ and will never try it. You’ve got your casual sushi camp that eats it when required, but can do without it otherwise. Then you have the crazy camp.
Crazy sushi people—you won’t find a California roll anywhere near their table—get passionate about their sushi and even crazier about ‘their place.’ That special place they’ve found that they trust for the freshest cuts of fish and masterful preparation.
There are over 15 sushi bars in Corpus Christi and each one has its rabid fans and hostile detractors. “You like such-and-such sushi place? Pshhhh! Have you tried my favorite place? No? Would you care to step outside?”
Finding the best sushi in town is actually pretty simple. Atmosphere, location and the crunchy stuff on top of the spider roll (not made with spiders, by the way) don’t matter at all. To find the best sushi, find the best fish. When you’re dealing with sashimi (thin slices of raw fish), the quality of the fish is the only thing that matters. Fresh fish delivers texture and taste that would convert anyone adverse to sushi. It’s that good.
So if you’re on the hunt, be prepared to ask questions. Ask where the fish was caught. Ask the date it was caught. Ask if the crab is crab or Krab*. This all may seem obsessive, but remember: you’re looking for the very best.
We have a few spots we enjoy, but our favorite—our place—is AKA Sushi Japanese Restaurant downtown. It also serves up one of the best dining experiences in town.
Here’s what you do: Unless you’re with a larger party sit at the sushi bar. The man in front of you—the man who’s about to serve you some of the best fish in town—is Mr. Boyd. Introduce yourself to Mr. Boyd. Say, “Hello, Mr. Boyd. I’ve heard a lot about you and your sushi. Feed us.”
Then sit back and enjoy the omakase ride. You have two jobs: enjoy each and every bite and tell him when to stop.
Mr. Boyd’s a character and he delivers much more than food. If the stars are aligned, if you ask a few questions and if can get him going, the normally-quiet sushi master before you becomes part storyteller, part teacher and part comedian. You will receive a narrative commentary of every bite, the origin of every fish, insight into his technique and his requirements for freshness above all.
Omakase-style dining—leaving what is served to you up to the chef’s whims—is common in Japanese cuisine and is an adventure you should try. Mr. Boyd has never let us down.
If the Iron Chef leaves you wanting more you may find Aka’s Iron Chef Japan on the daily specials board which is the same presentation with a different, highlighted fish. We’ve had it with gulf flounder, but it varies according to—you guessed it—freshness.
Anyone can eat anywhere, get in, get out and leave full, but dining experiences—the traditions that elevate a meal to a special meal—aren’t as common in Corpus Christi. Sushi fans, from the casual to the crazies, have a solid stop in AKA Sushi Japanese Restaurant.
*Crab is one ingredient that tells the story of a sushi restaurant. If you ever order any sushi that includes crab always—and we mean ALWAYS—ask if they are using real crab meat. That’s the question: “Is this real crab meat or imitation crab meat (also known as Krab)?” If the answer is ‘Krab’ then kindly decline that dish because you’ve read this and know there’s a sushi place down the road that is serving the real thing.