Sushi in Shreveport Bossier
By Allen Marsalis and Mark Florsheim Jr.
||The word “sushi” often conjures wildly different reactions from different people ranging from “delicious” to “no way”. It is no secret that in the land of crawfish, raw oysters, and frog legs, that we Louisianans will eat just about anything that swims, walks, or crawls. So it is not surprising that sushi is making inroads in Shreveport-Bossier.|
Exactly what is Sushi?
The Japanese lifestyle is noted for its minimalist simplicity. This lifestyle is no doubt carried over into Japanese food dishes. Sushi may seem like a complex delicacy, but in reality it is made with generally very few ingredients. Sushi can be thought of as Japanese “finger food”.
Sushi is not “raw fish” although raw fish is a common ingredient in sushi. Sushi refers to bite sized items made with ingredients such as seafood, vegetables, and garnishes such as sesame seed and wasabi. Seafood, cooked or raw, does not have to be included in the item for it to be considered sushi, however rice does. If you do not like raw meat, then no problem, there are many sushi items that contain cooked meat or else no meat at all. If you have never tried raw fish, then please try it at least once to find out if you really like it or not.
Sushi contains rice which is often pressed by hand or in a box which is how it gets its name. (to press) On the other hand, Sashimi (to slice) is simply a raw piece of high grade fresh fish. That first impression is important and you don’t want to pass judgment over poor quality fish. A person’s first experience with sushi is a pivotal point so give yourself a chance and choose a top sushi bar and not sushi from the grocery store.
The Sushi MenuSashimi
One reason why people may be apprehensive about trying uncooked fish is the idea that eating raw fish can be harmful. This is both true and untrue. There are some types of fish that in considered perfectly safe to eat raw while others are not. “Sashimi-grade” fish is what is used in the dishes that call for raw fish. Sashimi grade is extremely fresh fish that comes from unpolluted saltwater. This can include such fish as tuna, halibut, salmon, eel, and even some shellfish. In the vast ocean of fish the sky is the limit, or at least the surface of the water is the limit! You do not know what you will find when you walk into a sushi bar on any particular day. Although many freshwater fish can be found in sushi, it is not served raw.
- A strip of fresh raw fish. Sashimi is not considered sushi because it does not contain rice but it is typically included as a very popular dish at all sushi bars.Nigirisushi or Nigirizushi
- Small rice balls with fish on top. Wasabi is commonly used between the rice and the fish, but not always. There are a wide variety of nigirizushi, but the most common ones are topped with tuna, salmon, eel, and even octopus.Norimaki
- These are more commonly known as “rolls.” They can be made with many options of fish and vegetables but always contain rice, and are rolled in dried seaweed sheets, known as “nori.” There are countless varieties of sushi rolls differing in ingredients and thickness.Temaki
- Temakizushi literally means “hand rolls.” These are rolls that are made in the shape of a cone and are filled with rice, seafood and vegetables all wrapped in nori.Gunkan
- Also known as “battleship sushi”. These are small cups made of nori that are filled with rice and fish. There are many kinds of “gunkanzushi” but the most common ones are filled with fish eggs. (Masago or Tobiko)
Tips on Sushi Bar Etiquette
The Skinny on Sushi
|With all the new weight loss plans and special regimes you are probably wondering where sushi fits into your diet. It is no surprise that sushi is actually as nutritious as it is delicious. Not only is it low in fat but it is also remarkably low in calories. A typical setting of 7-9 pieces of sushi contains about 300-450 calories. Not only is it low in bad fat but it is high in good fat. The fish used in making sushi is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as a great source of protein. The seaweed wrapping called “nori” contains a high amount of calcium, carotene, phosphorus and iron. It also has a large amount of vitamin A, and 10 kinds of vitamin B, C, niacin and iodine. The seaweed also helps out in digestion. Wasabi is also high in vitamin C, and as antiseptic qualities. The rice, which is the key ingredient in all sushi, is high in complex carbohydrates, and the rice vinegar used in making the rice is known to lower cholesterol.|
If you visit a sushi bar in old Tokyo then you are bound by many time honored traditions.
- Do not mix wasabi into your soy sauce which can be taken as an insult to the chef for not using enough wasabi in the dish.
- Do not use chop sticks (called Hashi) Eat with your fingers.
- Do not ask the Chef for a beverage or a check, that is the waiter’s job.
- Do not rub hashi (chop sticks) together which means you think the proprietor uses cheap quality chop sticks.
But don’t worry. In Shreveport Bossier we are not expected to know such things. “Ignorance is bliss” as the saying goes, so enjoy using chopsticks, your fingers, or even a fork if you like. If you like wasabi in your soy sauce, go for it! I do!Japanese 101
(a few polite Japanese phrases that may help you at the sushi bar.)
Arigato: thank you, use it often throughout the course of the meal.
Arigato gozaimashita: you say this as the final thank you at the end of a meal.
Itamae-san: this is the actual sushi chef.
Kanapi: this is the Japanese “cheers” used when drinking.
Konbonwa: good evening.Garnishes and Condiments
Sushi is often served with various side items such as Gari (Pickled Ginger Root) and Wasabi which is a Japanese form of horseradish, usually served as a paste that is light green in color. Shoyu is simply the Japanese term for soy sauce. Each has a purpose. Gari is to cleanse or reset your pallet so you can taste the pure flavor of each new item without hints of the last item you ate. Gari is fragrant, crunchy, and a nice way to begin your meal. Wasabi is often smeared on the underside of nigirisushi between the raw fish and the rice ball. But it is sometimes mixed into soy sauce for an added kick. Shoyu or soy sauce is poured into a small dish and used for dipping. Wasabi has a strong flavor that can almost take your breath away if too much is used, so stir only a small amount of wasabi into your soy sauce. You can always add more.
Along with the standard side items, try ordering a bowl of Edamame which are whole soy beans still in their shell. Edamame has a nutty flavor and I enjoy eating them like I do peanuts in a roadhouse style of restaurant. They usually come dusted with salt and you squeeze the shell to pop the beans into your mouth. Kids seem to love them!
I enjoy sprinkling a tiny amount of soy sauce over Edamame which gets on your fingers with the salt while eating. This indirectly flavors the dish much like sprinkling Tony’s over boiled crawfish before peeling them.
Sushi Restaurants in Shreveport Bossier
Shreveport Bossier is home to a half dozen or more Sushi bars. Here are highlights of several of the top sushi bars in our area.
Shogun of Japan
Location: 3150 E. Texas St., Bossier City [Map]
Hours: Mon-Thu 5pm-10pm
Bar Seating: 9 + tables
Chef’s Special: Rock-n-Roll
Our pick: Ahi Tuna Tower
Shogun in Bossier City is one of my favorite sushi bars with their friendly staff and long-time sushi chef, Alex Kim and owner Charlie Kang. Shogun has a second location in Shreveport on 70th St. just West of the Clarion Hotel.
Shogun began in Shreveport nearly 25 years ago as a Japanese steakhouse with Teppanyaki also known as Habachi grills. Shogun offers steak, chicken, shrimp, and lobster with a flare, literally! The grill chefs put on a good show complete with flaming dishes. For years my kids chose Shogun for their birthday dinners, and they still do!
Mr. Kang added a sushi bar to Shogun about 10 years ago. The first time I saw the sushi bar I was intrigued, and it took me a while before I decided to try it. I sure am glad I did! I soon learned that I really like yellowfin tuna, and I became a regular sushi customer. In recent years, Mr. Kang opened up his second location in Bossier City with a very nice sushi bar.
Sometimes Alex offers rare items like special cuts of salmon belly or yellowtail belly, which sell quickly, so I like to go early. I also enjoy sitting at the bar and watching sports on one of several nice LCD and plasma flat screen televisions. In Japan, people love their sports and sushi bars often have sports programming on display. It’s all part of the overall sushi experience. Although I have never been to Japan, at Shogun, I feel right at home.
Tokyo Japanese Restaurant & Bar
Location: 8870 Quimper Place, Shreveport [Map]
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-2:30pm, 4:30pm-10pm
Fri 11am-2:30pm, 4:30pm-11pm
Sat 1pm – 11pm,
Bar seating: 12 + tables
Chef’s Special: Louisiana Roll
Our pick: Tuna, Salmon, and Ebi Nigirisushi
Another fine sushi bar is found at Tokyo restaurant, open two years in the Auto Mall next door to Country Tavern. Owner Tony Wang incorporated a lovely koi pond out front which always gets me into the right mood for sushi when walking in the door. In style with other Japanese restaurants, Tokyo has Teppanyaki grills serving steak, chicken, shrimp, and lobster in communal seating around the grill.
|Although I prefer sushi, the grill option does work to my advantage at times. My family enjoys the grill and I can still order sushi for myself and do my thing while the others do their thing. Now everybody is happy!
Tokyo offers some really interesting rolls that even those who do not like seafood are bound to enjoy. How about a roll with jalapeño and crème cheese! Whether you love seafood, steak, or even if you are a vegetarian, there is something for everyone at Tokyo Restaurant and Bar.
Location: 650 Boardwalk Blvd, Bossier City
Hours: Mon-Thu 11am-10pm
Bar seating: 11 + tables
Special dish: Firehouse Roll (served flaming)
Favorite dish: Fresh Sashimi
Conveniently located at the Louisiana Boardwalk, our area’s newest sushi bar is aptly named Sushiko. Whereas many Japanese restaurants feature communal seating around Teppanyaki grills, Sushiko serves grilled items from their kitchen while placing an emphasis on sushi! Sushiko is brand new, but local owner Man T. Sohn has 20 years experience in the restaurant business and it shows in the freshness of his fish.
That’s a Wrap!
|Sushiko specializes in sushi so the main attraction is fresh fish! The chefs sometimes offer special cuts of fish (belly and cheek) which are favored among sushi goers. Since its opening last February, Sushiko has drawn many sushi connoisseurs in our area, including many from the film industry who I’m told order weekly. And it is easy to see why. Sushiko specializes in Sushi!
We hope we piqued your curiosity enough to venture out and try some sushi for yourself. Some safe bets for beginners may include a “spider roll” which is made from a fried soft shell crab. Vegetable rolls such as cucumber rolls or avocado rolls are popular. Or a “shrimp tempura roll” made with fried shrimp might make you feel right at home here in Louisiana. There is something for everyone at your local Shreveport or Bossier sushi bar.