Tucked away in a small converted house in the heart of Seminole Heights, sits a bright, clean, unpretentious sushi restaurant: Ebisu Sushi Shack. The restaurant has been occupying this 1928 Bungalow since August 2016. Here’s what they say about themselves on their website:
“Don’t be fooled by its modest appearance! The Chef-Owner and her husband (long time gaijin from Japan), set out a few years ago to create a unique sushi restaurant that would combine fresh, delicious dishes in a laid-back izakaya style atmosphere that customers would love, and they haven’t been disappointed! Whether it be regular favorites like the Orange Sunrise or Volcano Rolls or something unique being offered on the Specials Board, there’s always something delicious waiting for you at Ebisu!” (source).
The entire place has may eight tables, including the two on the front porch, and there is a tiny little sushi bar for anyone lucky enough to nab a seat there. The menu is simple, but with many choices, and the specials regularly feature something the Chef misses from her home in Japan. Most recently, to-go only rice balls. You have the choice of rice or multigrain rice, and a filling of either black seaweed, baked salmon flakes, miso glazed chicken, tuna with Japanese mayo, or Japanese pickled plum.
If, however, you decide to dine-in, there are a few fantastic choices you can make to ensure you have the best dinner ever.
Drinks: You may be tempted to just order a bottle of sake, but instead try something more interesting. The Sake Sangria is made of Malbec Wine, House Sake, and Plum Wine. The result is an Asian-flavored Spanish cocktail that is unique, strong, and incredible. If you aren’t into cocktails, instead grab a Sapporo, a light beer from Japan that has been in production since 1876.
Soup & Salad: Almost every sushi meal will begin with a soup and salad. At Ebisu Sushi Shack, you’ can’t go wrong with the Miso Soup and House Salad with Ginger Dressing. The soup is incredibly rich with umami and is always served piping hot. The Ginger Dressing on the House Salad is tangy and delectable. Both started dishes will leave you wanting more.
Small Plates: Edamame is another Sushi-night standard, but instead of ordering normal Edamame at Ebisu, opt for the version with Peperonico (Salt & Spicy Garlic Sauce). The simple addition of spices and a bright sauce elevates this simple starter into something memorable. Sharing a bowl of edamame is a great way to bond with your fellow diners, and this version with spicy garlic sauce will leave all of you wanting more!
Sushi: Ebisu does everything on their sushi menu right, from the Nigiri and Sashimi to the Classic Rolls….but where the Sushi Shack really shines is in their Specialty Rolls. The Red Dragon Roll is a fantastic option. It contains fried shrimp, avocado, cream cheese, and pineapple, and it is topped with a sweet chili sauce. The entire roll is crunchy yet creamy, and incredibly delicious! If you are still hungry afterward, try the Godzilla Roll. The Godzilla Roll is truly something to behold. It is a spicy salmon and cucumber roll, topped with spicy tuna, tempura chips, spicy mayo, and eel sauce. The result is a protein-heavy roll with both crunchy and spicy elements.
If you aren’t feeling sushi, then there are still menu options for you! The yellowtail or octopus carpaccio is an artfully composed dish. Your chosen protein is thinly sliced and arranged on a plate with daikon radish, scallion, ponzu, and olive oil. You can also opt for a rice bowl. The Spicy Tempura Chicken Don is a great sample of Japanese food that doesn’t include seafood. It is constructed of tempura chicken, sushi rice seasoned with furikake, avocado, spicy mayo, sriracha, green onions, and seeds. Not for the faint of heart.
Desserts: There is only one correct answer here; the Mochi Ice Cream Trio. This dessert contains one scoop of each available ice cream flavor: green tea, chocolate, and vanilla. The green tea is exotic, the vanilla – classic, and the chocolate is indulgent enough to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.
If you order everything listed above, you are guaranteed to have a great meal, but if nothing there struck a chord with you, consider visiting the popular page on Ebisu’s website. There, they list dishes that people order and enjoy more often than anything else. You can even see pictures. Their selections include the following:
Tekka Don: Tuna, sushi rice seasoned with furikake, avocado, green onions, seeds, served with wasabi soy sauce.
Orange Sunrise Roll: Spicy yellowtail & cucumber roll topped with Salmon, lemon & roe. Finished with ponzu sauce.
Volcano Roll: (A sushi favorite, but done particularly well here) Krab and cucumber roll topped with avocado, baked krab, salmon, white meat fish, roe & scallion. Finished with spicy mayo and eel sauce.
It is worth mentioning that the service team at Ebisu (while incredibly small), will also make your dining experience special. The chef and wait staff behave as if they have actually invited you into their home for dinner. They will immediately be friendly and familiar, and are likely to remember you after just a few visits.
Just remember that parking is limited and may be a challenge. But one visit to this quaint little sushi shack and you too will decide that circling the block looking for a place to leave your car is more than worth it!