If you’re a normal human being, and by normal I mean one that enjoys indulging in sushi multiple times a week, Columbia has several delectable restaurants you can try when you need a break from the overwhelmingly average sushi chef-ed up at the student center.
Jina’s, as many locals call it, is my personal favorite sushi place in CoMo. The menu includes an extensive list of delectable sushi rolls along with several unique but delicious food items ranging from your expected edamame and steamed dumplings to Jina’s special rice balls. When the server brings you your food, you are sure to be in for a treat; Jina’s rolls have always looked more like art to me than food and taste even better than they look. The owner, Jina Yoo, who frequently ventures out to the tables to converse with her diners, is considered by many to be the “Queen of Asian fine dining in mid-Missouri” and although no one is quite sure what prompted her to move to and open shop in the middle of Missouri, I don’t think anyone is complaining.
Osaka is another one of my personal favorites. The thing that makes this place stand out from the rest is it’s trio of hibachi grills, which allow customers to watch as trained chef’s artistically cook their food, making the experience of dining there a fun and exciting one. In the main seating portion of the restaurant, diners can enjoy a delicious abundance of Japanese dishes such as fried rice, stir-fry noodles and vegetables, and can select from a wide variety of sushi and sashimi.
Kampai has one of the most unique locations out of all the sushi restaurants included on this list. It is quietly nestled in Alley A, just a few blocks from Broadway Street. Kampai’s location allows it to have a rooftop patio, which is an ideal place to enjoy any of their delicious sushi rolls or specialty drinks (and snap a pic for Insta in the stunning natural lighting).
Geisha is located on Broadway Street, right in the middle of the bustling downtown Columbia. Geisha makes their dining experience unique for its customers starting the second they enter through the doors. In many restaurants in Japan it is not out of the ordinary to yell a greeting in Japanese to all entering customers. Geisha has recently adopted this routine– so if you ever decide to visit, don’t be alarmed when every server in the restaurant turns and yells a foreign greeting at you (it can definitely be frightening if you aren’t expecting it). Another unique thing about Geisha is that they serve up their sushi rolls in large boat shaped plates complete with dry ice special effects.
Sake, named after the delicious (???) Japanese rice liquor is one of the more refined, yet still delicious sushi restaurants in Columbia. You won’t find any frills or special effects here, but the taste of the sushi alone will make up for the lack of plate pizzazz. My favorite part of my dining experience anytime I visit Sake is the ambience of the restaurant, which is completed by dim lighting and comfortable, cozy seating.
So there you have it. Next time you have that sushi craving you have a list of places to pick from… and trust me, you can’t go wrong with any of them. Don’t say I never gave you anything.