> Location: New York City, NY
Masa, located in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle, is considered America’s most expensive restaurant (a seat at the sushi bar costs a whopping $950 per person, $750 at a table), but true aficionados who have dined here will tell you that it was worth every penny. From acclaimed chef Masa Takayama, Masa serves a two-hour omakase experience in which guests will be treated to a daily-changing menu of pristine, handcrafted sushi and other small plates including A5 Wagyu Ohmi beef tataki with freshly shaved seasonal truffles. A meal here may cost more than a month’s salary, but if you can spare the expense it’s a meal you won’t soon forget.
> Location: Los Angeles, CA
Nobu Matsuhisa is one of America’s most renowned and prolific Japanese chefs, with restaurants and hotels around the globe, but it all started with Matsuhisa, which opened in Beverly Hills in 1987 and remains his flagship to this day. His signature Nikkei cuisine – a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian influences – is evident in dishes including tiradito and ceviche, and this is still the best place to try signature Nobu dishes including black cod with miso, rock shrimp tempura, and yellowtail jalapeÃ±o. The sushi is pristine, and there’s something for everyone on the huge menu.
> Location: Portland, ME
Under Tokyo native Masa Miyake, Portland’s Miyake has become a must-visit for Japanese food lovers in the decade it’s been open. Reopening after a lengthy renovation, the restaurant has a 10-seat sushi bar as well as a menu of shareable plates, including traditional Japanese preparations and dishes created by Miyake, as well as a range of sushi and sashimi.
> Location: Los Angeles, CA
LA’s bright, no-frills, Michelin-starred Mori Sushi primarily sources wild-caught fish, and all of its produce comes from local farmers markets. Chef Masanori “Maru” Nagano serves an omakase menu of peak-season offerings presented on handmade plates. Every element of every item served has been given great thought and is prepared with uncompromising precision, from fresh seared madai to torched baby barracuda to housemade tofu brushed with soy sauce and fresh wasabi.
> Location: Miami, FL
Located on Miami’s exclusive Brickell Key, Naoe is an intimate, minimalist Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Japanese restaurant overseen by chef Kevin Cory. It’s a small jewel box with just a handful of seats (which are incredibly difficult to reserve), and Cory personally prepares every item. It has an omakase-style menu, which means that Cory has full control over what you eat. Each meal starts with a bento box-style appetizer of several dishes and soup, followed up by a variety of super-fresh nigiri sushi and a dessert of ice cream, fresh fruit, and sponge cake. The only alcoholic beverage option is sake, including one that’s brewed by Cory’s family back in Japan.
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