Until chopsticks were invented, sushi could only be enjoyed by drummers or people with the tenacity to build a fork out of matchsticks. Celebrate stick-based culinary advances with today’s Groupon: for $7, you get $15 worth of sushi and drinks at Ju Hachi by Taka.
Ju Hachi casts a wide, delicately flavored net with its expansive menu of fresh sea fare spotlighted on tender beds of rice and tucked into creative sushi-roll combinations. Reverse the direction of unsmiling mouths with tender slices of nigiri yellowtail ($6), striped bass ($5), or snapshots of hang-gliding orangutans draped over tender twin-size beds of rice. Sunrise rolls alter circadian rhythms with a time-shifting amalgam of crispy fried shrimp, crab, and cucumber tightly rolled into seaweed-bound spirals of rice and topped with scallop, avocado, egg, and a spicy cream sauce ($13). Vanquish fleet-footed appetites with the double-edged blade of Japanese surf 'n' turf, such as the seven-piece sushi-and-sesame-chicken combination dinner ($19), or set taste buds ablaze with the B.T.S., a side of albacore sashimi bespeckled with jalapeño and ponzu ($12). Diners send meals on their merry way with drinks from Ju Hachi’s bar, knocking back domestics ($2) and imports ($7–$8) or raising toasts to the reemergence of snap bracelets with a glass of wine ($7 red; $5.50–$8 white).
Laying claim to more than 20 years of sushi-making experience, owner Taka Watanabe spent his childhood in Brazil, raised by Japanese parents but educated in Portugese, a tricultural patchwork that finds elegant expression in his imaginative maki rolls and interpretive dance interludes.
Ju Hachi by Taka
When chef Taka Watanabe heads to work every morning, he leaves behind a backyard of clucking pet chickens and sets his sights on scales. Wielding techniques learned from classically trained sushi chef Shige Tokita, Taka slices scallops, salmon, eel, and other fresh catches into sashimi, hand rolls, and bite-sized nigiri. Beyond the bamboo-topped sushi bar, udon and ramen noodles twirl around bamboo, pork, and scallions, and vegetables and calamari dip into crispy tempura. As guests clamp chopsticks around their rolls or strands of seaweed salad, they can admire the showmanship behind the sushi bar, where Taka and his chefs dice and roll before a backdrop of tapestries depicting famous Japanese art, such as Hokusai's The Wave and Takashi Murakami's childhood bedsheets.