Who would have thought incredible chirashi could be found in land-locked Nashville, Tennessee? The chirashi at Sonobana is so good it eats more like an expensive box of chocolate truffles than a box of raw fish. This one includes fresh cuts of maguro, sake, hamachi, white tuna, octopus, ebi, surf clam, mackerel, crab stick, and a delicious freshly-made tamago that is closer to a dessert.  I’m not crazy about surf clam or mackerel, and Sonobana has always been more than willing to oblige with whatever I have asked to substitute–usually more yellowtail (which is my favourite) but they’ve also been known to throw in pieces of unagi (delicious barbecued eel) despite the fact that it’s not something typically included in chirashi.

I love spicy mayo, tempura crumbs, and ponzu as much as the next American sushi-goer, but the fish at Sonobana is so fresh and of such high quality that it is better with fewer embellishments so you can actually taste the subtle flavours of the fish.  Better yet, you can alternate each mouthwatering bite with a forkload of one of a lovely selection of extra goodies they pack into that little box, including sweet pickled burdock root, seaweed sunomono, strings of crunchy diakon root, pickled ginger, and wasabi.

All of this sits atop a bed of seasoned rice sprinkled with sesame seeds, seaweed, tobiko that is a culinary triumph on it’s own.  I often ignore rice to fill up on more fish, but Sonobana’s is so good I find myself continuing to eat it even after the fish is long gone.

Hands down the most satisfying chirashi I have ever eaten.


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