Before fishermen discovered the edibility of fish, they used each catch as bait for larger species, hoping in the end to hook the biggest fish of all—friendship. Foster piscatorial partnerships with today’s Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of sushi and Japanese cuisine at Sansui Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Carmel.
The culinary craftsmen at Sansui Japanese Restaurant infuse cuts of fresh fish, meats, and vegetables with authentic Japanese flavors to create a menu teeming with delectable dishes. Patrons can sidle up to the sushi bar where skilled chefs bundle aquatic bites into an assortment of rolls, such as the combo tray’s trio of spools—california, eel and cucumber, and spider rolls ($17.95). Unfurled fish comes in the form of fresh nigiri, including white tuna, shrimp, or sea urchin, and canoodles with tuna and cucumber rolls on the Hana plate ($11.95). Neglected flatware enjoys resurgence with Japanese entrees, including the gilded prawns on the shrimp tempura plate ($13.95) or the vegetarian friendly tofu steak, which covers a soybean cake with fresh vegetables ($10.95). Seven bento box combinations, such as chicken teriyaki and shrimp tempura ($13.95), divvies up meals better than a centrifuge, and pan-fried noodles wrap themselves around a garden of vegetables and a choice of beef, chicken, or pork in the yakisoba bowl ($8.95).
An assortment of wine, beer, and sakes offer liquid accompaniment as guests admire the authentically adorned space, which is festooned with sleek wooden walls, bamboo chairs, and lush greenery that infuses the dining room with nature’s most flavorful oxygen molecules.
Sansui Restaurant and Sushi Bar
Chefs have been slicing maki and sashimi behind the black-granite counter at Sansui Restaurant and Sushi Bar since 1994. Uniting down-home hospitality with a deep knowledge of Japanese fare, they answer guests' questions about the restaurant's dishes, which range from standard tempura and teriyaki to the more exotic tako sunamono appetizer, in which octopus soaks in a vinegar sauce. Servers transport these artful creations through an interior adorned with floral accents and wall-mounted decorative fans traditionally used to waft hunger-inducing food scents toward one's enemies. In the lobby, sunshine filtered through rice-paper screens alights on a tall potted bamboo plant as patrons carry out parcels of sushi-grade tuna, salmon, or yellowtail, which Sansui also sells by the pound. (Call in advance to place orders.)