Sushi Sensations in Myrtle Beach, SC

2 2008

Sushi Sensations in Myrtle Beach, SC

By: Becky Billingsley

Recently a friend said, “I love sushi, but just as an appetizer. It’s not enough for a meal.”

I daresay this person has not had a full sushi experience, because real sushi is not just sashimi on sticky rice or California rolls. Sushi is a culinary art form that does feature raw seafood, but also incorporates cooked seafood, vegetables and a variety of condiments.

My family’s two favorite sushi restaurants have everything to do with their sushi chefs.

One is Shozo Sakata at Emi Bistro & Sushi Bar in Pawleys Island, S.C.; the other is Takashi Saito at Divine Fish House in Murrells Inlet, S.C .

You’ll find familiar items on Shozo Sakata’s sushi menu, but his more unusual masterpieces are worth trying. He might have Monkfish Foie Gras, which takes quite a bit of work on the chef’s part, but is delicious served with sweet mustard miso. His Yahata Maki (maki means roll) is beautiful and layered with tuna, salmon and steamed asparagus, and additionally flavored by mayonnaise, shrimp reduction, flying fish roe, lemon juice and wasabi oil. Or you could choose a sweet egg soufflé called Tamago, or Wasabi Tobiko, which is wasabi-marinated flying fish roe.

Takashi Saito says many guidelines for making sushi follow basic cooking principles. “Like using odd numbers when you’re making a leaf – it’s prettier and it goes back to general cooking rules.” While Saito has a wide variety of familiar favorites on his sushi menu, he loves it when customers simply say, “Feed me,” and trust him to present something delicious. An item that’s not on his menu but that he’s happy to prepare is the traditional Japanese Chirashi, which is a bowl of sushi rice with various seafood and vegetables scattered on top.

Becky Billingsley is the CEO of The Food Syndicate, a food media and culinary tour company based in Myrtle Beach, SC. She provides daily local restaurant news at , co-publishes an annual magazine called The Top 100 Grand Strand Restaurants , offers group culinary tours viewable at , and is secretary of the Myrtle Beach chapter of the American Culinary Federation.