The rapidly growing dining culture in Nashville is evident by the number of diverse restaurants popping up all over the place. Our fair city has everything from southern to Thai to Indian eats to sink your teeth into. But here’s the thing: it’s nowhere near a coastline. Restauranteurs are forced to fly their fish in from the nearest seafood-producing body of water (hundreds of miles away). Percy Priest does NOT count. So creating fresh seafood dishes can be considered a pretty difficult feat. One such food genre that relies almost entirely on seafood is sushi, and Samurai Sushi is overcoming its dry-land locale to crank out dishes that keep Nashvillians coming back for more.
Despite the continued growth in competition, Samurai has been serving up it’s sushi selections for over 10 years in the Music City. Located on Elliston between Exit/In (longstanding music venue) and downtown, this no frills establishment has a constant flow of new and returning loyal patrons. It’s difficult to spot at first, as it’s situated among a seemingly generic row of modest storefronts with parking spots that are generally limited to the street. Samurai’s “reservation system” consists of a simple list clipped to the wall near the entrance. No call ahead reservations allowed, no flashy hibachi shows, and no fancy décor. The seat selection is limited to the sushi bar and modest two and four person tables. You’ll likely have a wait if you visit on the weekends, and you might asking yourself what’s so special about this local sushi sanctuary that it has a line out the door? What sets it apart is the sustenance hiding behind it’s plain façade.
The place may not look like a swanky joint, but if the awards lining the walls as you walk in don’t speak for themselves then the food and the fast service certainly will. Whether you’re craving seaweed or soybean on the outside, classically wrapped with rice, or deep-fried, Samurai has the sushi for you. They take their sushi seriously, with a major selection of simple and specialty rolls, as well as seasonal items. For the seafood purist, they’ve got fresh Nigiri (served over pressed rice) ready for you to embrace with your chopsticks. Amidst your sushi haze you won’t even notice that the beer & wine selection is limited. There’s just enough for you to find something to wash down that extra wasabi.
You’d think that all of this tasty sushi goodness would cost an arm and a leg, because remember, they’re not just popping out to the nearest ocean every morning. However you’d be wrong! Samurai is supremely affordable and the rate at which you receive your order once you’re seated is super fast. Samurai has established itself as an essential sushi restaurant in it’s long tenure in the Music City. Although it may not be some sleek and trendy new spot in town, the sushi speaks for itself and sometimes that’s all you need to have a seriously satisfying meal.
Check out their website on the Eat Like a Native page!
TIP: They’re closed on Sundays!