Sushi Den – An Extraordinary Experience

Wild Akami Tuna from the Coast of Andalucia

I must interrupt my series on Why I Travel to bring you a gastronomic interlude worthy of kings and dinosaurs.

(**NOTE** – I finally figured out how to put sharing buttons on my posts so now you can easily link to your social outlets and please do..cheers)

Last night in celebration of Juliet accepting an extension to keep us here in Denver through the summer we dined at the highly touted Sushi Den. Long regarded as one of the most excellent examples of great fish service in the USA we have anticipated this experience for nearly 9 months before finally taking the plunge.

Sushi Den is known for their daily arrivals of fresh market fish flown in from Fukuoka on Kyushu Island, Japan. The brother of the two chefs and owners of Sushi Den selects the fish and manages the fresh packing and direct shipments to Denver. The results are unique varieties of fish and exceptional examples of location which to many of us who adore sushi are the keys to excellence (along with the skills of the chefs and the handling of the product).

As soon as we rolled in the door at half past eight there was not a seat in a restaurant that was much larger than anticipated. The GM met us at the door and immediately complimented me on my Rockmount shirt (I am not kidding). He then told us we should sit at the owner, Yasu Kizaki’s station which we of course accepted. The hostess said it could be an hour wait for his station so we plopped down at the bar and started on Sake’ a 300ml bottle of Suijin Junmai (+10) Iwate, Japan. Crisp and brilliant I knew I was in the right place. In only 1/2 an hour we were seated.

Suijin Junmai Sake'

Chef Yasu looked us over immediately and  probably assumed I was a bit of a DB in my loud and beautiful stitched shirt. When I told him I wanted him to drive the truck he seemed very skeptical. He asked me to tell him what we eat. I told him we are adventurous and he said, “No, tell me what you eat!” I said seriously we are wide open. “Where you from?’ He belted! I said, totally wanting to set a picture I would not have to explain, New York City! “Where you eat there?” he said still very uncertain of our experience level. I fired back calmly ‘Sushi Yasuda”.

With that he said “ahhh Yah-soo-da…now I know where to start”

We began with oysters and finished with literally a bowl of unreal Uni. As the night progressed he began to love us, lighten up, and eventually invite us to meet his brother (the founder, Toshi) and enjoy a level well above his own, as he put it. I can say in all honesty this was a Top 10 sushi experience in a canon of eating that has bordered on obsessive for the past 7 years

We plowed through another 2 carafes of this amazing sake’ suggested by our chef and his Sake Sommelier.

Tears of Dawn - Daiginjo

I never intended to write a review on Sushi Den so I had no notes with me but I do have these lovely photos taken by Juliet and me.

Cheers to great sushi and a brilliant evening of celebration!

6 Washington Oysters Dressed with Chili and Yuzu

A Sampling of Sashimi Specials of the Evening

My first Needlefish - Amazing with Shiso and Sesame

Ten Qoo Chu Toro (from the home island) and Wild Hawaiian Kanpachi

House-Smoked Ankimo (Monk fish liver) with Daikon and Caviar - like an amazing buttery foie-gras with a salty, briny bite..sublime!

Wild Tuna, fresh wasabi and live Scallop (Hotate)

Ginger Sashimi - Bluefin Akami

Sashimi of Salmon and Scallop with Bonito Flake

Bincho with Fresh Wasabi

Hamachi Belly with Jalapeno and Cilantro

My shot of the Bluefin and Ginger - Chef asked us to scoop and eat this with a spoon

An assortment of fish done Aburi style (ancient way of heat preserving fish for service prior to refrigeration)

Our Intrepid Chef Yasu Kizaki and one of his very talented colleagues (they all specialize in the traditional Omakase)


  1. says

    miam miam miam! I'm a sushi-addict (sushiholic? is that a word?) Anyway. So much so that I've resorted to picking up copious amounts of packaged, mass-produced sushi – just for myself – on my way home from work. And I don't know if I should be ashamed of it, but I don't care really.

    I'm so jealous of all that gorgeousness you got to eat! Look, just look at that wild tuna!

    • says

      I think the mass-produced sushi is likely better for you than a burger and if it keeps you engaged and compelled to try the great stuff cheers to that! Thank you so much for your kind comment and your obvious excitement. IT was a great evening for us :-)

  2. says

    Okay, okay! I admit I have not been a fan of sushi (we will not go into the many bad examples I have attempted)… forgive me. I date back to the days when the infamous, nasty California rolls flooded the world in… the 70's?

    These photos alone entice me to give sushi another chance. What's more exciting might be the sake. Konteki Tears of Dawn Daiginjo!

    A bottle of this elixir would have me writing as if I was Marichiko herself… "Love me. At this moment we are the happiest People in the world." Before there was Italy there was Japan!

      • says

        If I can write an ode to a diesel Mercedes I hear coming around the corner 'delivering my once true love' after a bottle of wine… Heaven be prepared for slobbering from a bottle of sake! But I will take you up on the sushi at Tei-Tei.

        • says

          Kate for Austin I have my original and still #1 experience Uchi followed by Uchiko and now I really love Kome' I would say for the size of the city Austin is killing it with sushi. What do you think?

          • says

            I've actually not been to any, as the Austin scene that attracts me has been other places… which is why I asked for your recommendation; I'd like to try a great sushi place there. :) Thanks! Komé looks amazing. ^_^

            • says

              Uchi is honestly one of the top 2 dining experiences of my life outside of Italy and someone's home. I would suggest it as a must visit. I would call in advance and see if chef Masa is working at Uchi ot Uchiko these days. He is one of the best I have ever known and sitting at his station if you let him create will blow you away. I strongly in fact urge you to arrive at opening time if you want to sit at a particular sushi station. Both Uchi and Uchiko get unbelievably busy and the wait can be almost 2 hours on a busy night. Kome' is a wonderful addition to the scene and for a lovely experience with fish and quality beverages I would give it a shot. However, I go where Masa is when I am in Austin and a 2-3 hour Omakase at the sushi bar at Uchi or Uchiko has always been life enriching beyond the simple components of food or drink it has been a synergy of experience I have only had in NYC or some places in Italy. I am eager to hear your thoughts as the food scene in Austin is very dear to me. Thanks for the follow again and your comments, I look forward to more of your blog!

              • says

                As amazing as those photos look above, I make things difficult, going to a sushi restaurant, as I am a vegetarian (lacto-ovo). So that rules out any awesome sashimi/other fish-related experience… but I do enjoy a good veggie sushi roll, as well as other Japanese vegetarian-friendly dishes I can find. Uchi does look like an interesting place… might have to see what I can find. 😉 Thank you so much for your recommendations; they're much appreciated. ^_^

                Oh my gosh, of course! Thank you for finding me; I enjoy reading your posts immensely. And likewise – I look forward to more from you.

  3. jenjaroch says

    Jason now wants to sushi dine with you both as he is just as adventurous. Uni is a personal fave of his. He's wondering if you have a picture of that? All of these pictures were phenomenal! I wish I was in Denver right now! *drool* Cheers!

    • says

      Tell Jason we were too hammered on Sake by the time the Uni came around to take a photo. It was served with seaweed shards and homemade soy sauce. I am sure it was also 20 bucks :-(
      You guys should come out!!

      • jenjaroch says

        Jason said that makes perfect sense to him! ;)P

        If we *can* come out you'll have to make reservations. We're starting a sushi/MJ/JJ fund now. ;)P

  4. says

    Those are truly amazing shots Michael! Everything looks so delicious. I don't know about the monk fish liver though, I've never seen that before. Now I'm on a quest to try it. What's the proper way to eat it?

    • says

      Monk fish liver usually has the texture of foie-gras with a subtle ocean brine flavor to it. This is the best I have ever had and I recommend it for sure if you are at all adventurous. My choices for you would be Tei-An, Teppo, or Tei Tei Robata bar in Dallas. :-)

  5. elmediat says

    The photographs are very well done Sushi Shots.:)
    We do not have much opportunity for sushi in our area. As totally inexperienced in this area dining, I would not know what to try. Your post provides a glimpse at a wondrous.experience .

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