Sushi has officially become a dining stalwart in Palm Beach County, with sushi-centric restaurants and eateries dotting the map. But who does it best?
Update: The Votes Are In
After three weeks of robust reader support, we have taken the pulse of the Palm Beach County sushi fan. Of the six sushi spots listed below – and a few write-ins to boot – the runaway favorite is Jupiter’s Aah Loi Thai and Sushi. Helmed by Roy Villacrusis and Charlie Soo, this swank little sushi pad is by far one of the boldest bites around. The menu is authentic and creative, the ingredients as fresh as fresh can be, and quality is mantra, not goal. Congratulations Aah Loi Thai and Sushi, and thank you for voting your mind palmbeachillustrated.com readers.
Aah Loi Thai and Sushi
Under the expert culinary minds of Roy Villacrusis (Palm Beach County’s top ronin chef) and Charlie Soo (of Talay Thai fame), Aah Loi Thai and Sushi, located in a relatively quiet shopping plaza in Jupiter, is one of the best sushi spots around. A seat at the table is worth the wait—just 40 seats has made this one of the most coveted meals in town. Specials change daily (whatever it is, try it), while the sushi and sashimi options are lengthy, creative and authentic. For the adventurous eater, this is the place to go omakase—”chef’s pick,” meaning you never know what’s going to land on the plate but, rest assured, it will be great.
Basic Nigiri options from Aah Loi Thai and Sushi
Imoto is in a class of its own. The restaurant is the brainchild of Chef Clay Conley, who also founded neighboring restaurant Buccan, and serves as his ode to Japanese fare. Adhering to the mantra of “less is more,” Imoto is ingredient driven and fresh to max. Conley uses locally and internationally sourced fish—going so far as to have fish flown in daily from Toyko’s famed Tsukiji Fish Market—and keeps the servings simple, allowing the ingredients to set the table.
The menu is updated daily. While the sushi menu is a treat, the real reason to make the trek is the sashimi and special nigiri menu. When Hamachi is offered, take advantage of it. The seared yellowtail with jalapeno is a small bite with serious flavor.
It’s hard not to talk about Palm Beach sushi without mentioning the seemingly omni-present Sushi Jo. Chef/owner Jo Clark, a Miami native, got his start as an apprentice at Yama in Lake Worth. Now, he operates Sushi Jo in three locations throughout the county (West Palm Beach, Juno Beach and Boynton Beach), owns Thai Jo in West Palm Beach and serves his sushi at the Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa on the weekends.
For the sushi eater who likes options, Sushi Jo is your place: The specialty roll menu is extensive, while the a la carte menu (sashimi by the piece) often has diners squabbling over what combinations to try. If cheeky names and fresh tuna is your thing, the Red Light District roll is your best bet: spicy tuna on the inside and on top.
Need help with sushi basics? Head to our Sushi 101 page for a lessons on all things sushi.
Part of The Breakers’ stable of restaurants, Echo has earned its stripes as one of the best seats on the island. With a menu steeped in Asian cuisine that includes plenty of land and cooked options from which to choose, its the sushi and sashimi offerings that keep this place packed (not to mention the plethora of creative cocktails streaming from the bar).
|Echo’s Red Dragon Roll—a vegetarian option for the sushi fan (the red topper is roasted red pepper).|
With more than a handful of specialty rolls to choose from, the namesake Echo—tempura shrimp with red tobiko and Sriracha sauce—is a spicy change of pace from the more traditional maki roles found elsewhere on the menu. Traditionalists will be hard-pressed to pass up a hand-rolled hamachi and scallion roll or fresh uni from the sashimi menu.
For one of the most authentic sushi spots in Palm Beach County, Sushi Simon in Boynton Beach tops the list. Fresh is an understatement here, not just because of the locally caught fair but also because finding cooked dishes here can be difficult.
This is a great place to dine at the 12-seat sushi bar and watch the master craftsmen ply their trade. For those interested in specialty rolls, the Volcano is one of the best in town, while the Hamachi Jalapeno Roll is tasty. But for the conventionalist, a la carte is the way to go: With nearly 30 types of fish and seafood on the menu served as pairs of sushi or a trio as sashimi, the combinations are nearly endless. As a bonus, the selection can be topped with a quail egg for good measure. Some of our favorites: scallops from Hokkaido, blue fin toro, uni, Japanese kampachi and snapper, and ama ebi (sweet shrimp grilled with the heads on). (561-731-1819)
Nippon Japenese Restaurant Sushi Bar and Hibabchi Grill
A personal favorite, more for sentiment than anything else, Nippon Japanese Restaurant Sushi Bar and Hibabchi Grill in Jupiter has held sway in the Jupiter Square shopping plaza for as long as locals can remember. While the hibachi grill seems to be one of the main draws to the restaurant, we’ve always been partial to the zashiki (low traditional tables) dining option, which is both intimate and a fun break from standard dining options. There is also a sushi bar to the back where guests can dine omakase style while watching a steady stream of sumo wrestling and Japanese game shows.
The sushi options incorporate all of the standards diners have come to expect in South Florida, with a few local treasures thrown into the mix. Always a good choice, the Jupiter Roll, served uramaki style (inside-out), is stuffed with tuna, avocado, cream cheese and masago (roe). For those with a hearty appetite, the Nippon Roll, served uramaki style, is a big roll packed with shrimp, octopus, kanikama (imitation crab), cream cheese, cucumber, avocado, mayonnaise and masago. (561-743-0033)