This gem of a restaurant defies all preconceived notions about urban sushi spots. Sai knows nothing of snooty service, austere settings or portions that leave you craving a Big Mac at the end of your meal.
The restaurant is as classy as it is comfortable, and what comes from the kitchen is no exception. Cleanse your palate with one of Sai's tried-and-true salads (goma-ae and seaweed salad are popular choices) before sifting through the selection of mouth-watering maki. In addition to the basics, specialty rolls ($6.50-$13) include Halloween Maki (tempura green bean topped with salmon) and spicy white tuna crunch.
A hearty selection of cooked entrees includes tempura, sukiyaki (sliced beef and noodles in broth), grilled lobster tail and pan-seared Chilean sea bass. Whatever your choice, you'll finish with a refreshing quartered orange. If you're feeling spendy, opt for the omakase, in which the chef chooses each course for you at $65 per person.
The space is divided into three dining rooms: two smaller rooms that respectively house the sleek sushi bar and private parties, with the largest room nestled between minimally adorned exposed brick walls and a burning fireplace. Under the same ownership since its beginning in the mid-'80s, Sai attracts a constant-flowing crowd most days of the week. While you can pass the time waiting for a table by doing sake bombs at the bar, you're better off making a reservation.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: Jessica Herman