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Reading the Menu at an Authentic Sushi Restaurant: Dishes Defined

Sushi is known around the world as one of the true delicacies that require expert preparation and considerable forethought in its creation. If you haven’t spent time in the culinary world, this incredible food can seem a little intimidating.

Learning about the most common types of sushi may not make you a pro, but you will be able to order off the menu to enjoy what you really love. With some basic knowledge and a great chef at the helm, you’ll be a sushi veteran in no time!


Sashimi is one of the most common and simplest menu items you’ll find at most sushi restaurants. However, it’s also one that generally shows the quality of the fish you’re eating and the skill of the chef working on your meal.

Sashimi is raw fish served chilled, often without any accompaniment at all. In some cases, sashimi is served with a touch of a house-made sauce, a garnish like lemon or daikon, or sliced vegetables.

Sashimi does not include rice.

Maki, Makimono

Maki, sometimes referred to as makimono, is also very common in sushi restaurants around the world. Compromised of a roll commonly made with seaweed as a wrapper, though soy paper and other wrappers can be used, maki is usually filled with fish and rice. It is also common for maki to contain an extra ingredient or two, such as cucumber and avocado.

Maki is sometimes made with ingredients besides fish and rice, however. Rolls made with unique ingredients vary from restaurant to restaurant.


Nigiri is hand-shaped pieces of fish placed upon a bed of rice. In some cases, nigiri will be served with a garnish, sauce or topped with a small amount of wasabi.


Temaki is a cone-shaped piece of dried seaweed referred to as Nori, which is filled with rice, fish and vegetables. Fillings can vary, but the combination of rice, one type of fish and a vegetable is the most common.


Chirashi is raw fish served on a bed of rice, generally topped with vegetables of the chef’s choice. For many, chirashi can be considered similar to a salad, though it generally is not eaten before a meal.


Often served toward the end of the meal, inari is one of the few types of sushi that is generally served the same way everywhere. Made with pouches of seasoned tofu stuffed with seasoned rice, this is a filling treat that’s ideal for first-timers and kids.

Visit Matsuhisa to learn more about authentic Japanese food prepared by renowned executive chef, Nobu Matsuhisa. From the fine food to the delightful atmosphere, Matsuhisa is one of the best high-end restaurants serving sushi and more in Denver, Aspen and Vail.


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