A Sampling of Sushi

Hayden Elder, Online Newspaper Editor

Living in Columbia we have the unique opportunity to get a taste of other cultures’ cuisines. People from all over the world have set up shop around the city, offering everything from Polish pierogis to Indian curry. Recently, I had the opportunity to taste two of the best Japanese (specifically sushi) restaurants in town: Sake and Geisha.

Both restaurants are located downtown, Sake on 10th Street and Geisha right off Broadway, which adds to their modern vibes. Similarities stop there though, the interiors are as different as fire and ice. Sake is clean, modern, and very quiet. It has relaxed decorations, and is a bit more upscale than its competitor. Geisha, on the other hand, is in your face from the second the door opens. Multiple flat screens are scattered on the walls, all showing wild K-pop videos; the crazy stars become your dancing companions throughout the meal. Overall, Geisha has a fast-paced and loud environment, while Sake is a little more laid back.

The selections are similar at both restaurants, although Sake has a much more extensive menu. Sake offers a few entrees, from steak to scallops, and a load of sushi rolls. The plating is very upscale, and does a great job of making the food appealing. I had the aptly named “Volcano Roll,” a spicy crab, avocado, and cucumber roll topped with sriracha, wasabi, and their TNT mix. It was balanced and flavorful, but could have used a bit more spice. The “gyoza,” pork and cabbage dumplings, were also a great starter. I was impressed with the food, and it was a calm and quiet meal.

Geisha, again, was the exact opposite. Their rolls, if you purchase anything from the “Fire Sushi” section of the menu, arrive on a small ship with smoke from dried ice pouring out the sides. My personal favorite sushi was the White Tiger, a shrimp, cucumber, and cream cheese roll topped with a fish mix. It offered a very developed flavor, along with a nice kick at the end. The appetizers were similar to Sake, although each diner had the option of miso soup or seaweed salad (my new least favorite dish in Columbia) with their meal.

As I said before, Columbia offers some fantastic choices in multicultural cuisine; and Sake and Geisha are some amazing Japanese offerings. Both have great menus and delicious selections, the deciding factors are price and atmosphere. Geisha is a bit cheaper (around on $10.00 average for a roll, $5.00 or $6.00 for appetizers), and Sake is more upscale (about $12.00 a roll, and $7.00 for appetizers). Geisha is loud and proud, almost to the point of being obnoxious; while Sake is quiet and laid back.

My choice? Sake is perfect for a nice dinner, while Geisha is more of a Friday night college kid’s dream. I’ll see you at Sake; just keep it down.