In the Before Times, a great special night out was sitting at the sushi bar of Uchiba, where chef Jon Griffiths would thoughtfully prepare sushi, handing over small plates of nigiri to be consumed as quickly as possible.
He’s moved on to other things (more on that soon); the world has been flipped upside down from the pandemic; and, for many of us, the consumption of sushi is less immediate, delayed by packaging and transport.
The nigiri from Uchiba (and Uchi) is beautiful at the restaurant. What you may get in takeout is a little different — frankly put, sashimi is slippery, and it easily sloshes to one side of a plastic container.
But the flavor still remains vibrant and fresh on the Hama chili, yellowtail with ponzu, Thai chile and orange supreme ($18.50). The sashimi is sliced with precision and the flavor of that ponzu with citrus (the membrane is removed from these wedges, making them “supreme”) and a kiss of heat is consistent and delightful.
Any of the nigiri or sashimi options here are good to order — again, it may not be the most beautiful presentation you’ve seen, but if you look closely, you’ll still see someone had intention as they held the knife to the meat of the fish.
If you want a complete meal without sifting through the full menu, opt for the restaurant’s omakase for two ($78). You’ll be in good hands with chef de cuisine Alex Astranti’s choices. There’s even a vegetarian option that sounds worth trying ($58).
And if you’re missing the monthly Uncommon Ramen pop-up at Uchiba, the restaurant announced last week it’s bringing it back — thankfully, as a curbside offering. Plus, it will be available every Monday instead of just once a month, inspired by previous collaborations. (Those have included Tyson Cole, Aaron Franklin and John Tesar.)
It’s important to plan ahead when ordering here if you’re going the delivery route; if you’re starving and want food ASAP, you may pick it up yourself or plan for another time. When we got delivery through Uber Eats, it took an hour (61 minutes, to be exact). But sushi probably isn’t what you want to order when you’re ravenous anyway.
For the record: This was a random occurrence. We opt for picking up food ourselves, and I advocate you do the same to make sure most of your dollars go straight to the restaurant.
Uchiba, 2817 Maple Ave., No. 210 (Uptown). Open for takeout, delivery and limited dine-in 5 to 11 p.m. daily.