I am one of those people who don’t eat shellfish unless there is an “r” in the month. I don’t salt watermelon, and I shy away from anything on a “shingle.” So after acquiring a taste for sushi, I had some serious issues eating raw fish in a land-locked state.
It didn’t take long, however, for me to find some of the best sushi restaurants smack dab in the middle of Park City. Not only are they committed, nee, dedicated to flying fish in daily so it is ultra-fresh, they strive to serve their patrons with their own twists on our tried and true favorites. The one thing I would not recommend ordering in one of these restaurants is a California Roll. Wasted talent will be rolled into your sophomoric attempt at enjoying Japanese delicacies. Below are two sushi restaurants in Park City, both worth patronizing for their own unique twist on Japanese traditions.
Located in the Montage Deer Valley, Yama Sushi is somewhat stumbled upon. As you climb the grand stairs to the expansive Vista Lounge with views abound, Yama is tucked away, unassumingly, behind the fireplace. What you do not know, upon entering, is the dedication to Japanese food and culture chef Eric Hill has been cultivating through numerous trips back to the island. Any chance he can get, Chef Hill scours the streets of Japan looking for the newest innovation in Japanese street food, then marries it with the epicurean delights he finds at five-star restaurants in the big cities.
Takoyaki: Technically, these little fried octopus balls are a common street food, but Chef Hill brought them back to Utah artfully designed for the discriminating palate.
The chirdashi bowl is for the true sushi aficionado. Prepared with the freshest fish of the day, this dish is best ordered on a Tuesday. Their fish, flown in daily, comes predominantly from IMP. Toro is a daily staple on the menu (until it sells out) and the crab is all King Crab (yes, even for the California Roll).
One of my favorite dishes was the house-made ramen noodle bowl. My head was spinning hearing how they build upon the broth, for days adding layers and layers of flavors, so ultimately complex, words are hard to describe.
Yama Sushi is open from 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday in the summer and seven days a week in the winter. Contact Montage Deer Valley for reservations and more information (435) 604-1534.
Flying Sumo is a local favorite known for their expert chefs and rollers. Flying Sumo won’t disappoint when it comes to the local, mountain atmosphere. The menu is extensive and rolls are their specialty. You might wonder where some of the crazy names come from, but there is local lore behind every roll. What really sets Flying Sumo apart is their unabashed way of twisting cultural favorites and breaking away from traditional norms to come up with their own, unique flavors.
For example, you should not go without ordering the Tokyo Nachos for starters. No chopsticks here, go ahead and pick these up by hand and crunch away. Spicy tuna, tobiko, green onions, wasabi mayo and guacamole all on top of crispy gyoza chips.
Dive into the Chuck Norris, a roll with tempura shrimp, crab, jalapeno and chipotle paste topped with yellowtail and avocado.
Spice up your life with the Jam Roll: hamachi, coconut shrimp, and avocado with house-made sweet chili salsa. Want to know about the names of the rolls? Ask a local. Someone in town knows someone who has made it to the menu as an iconic roll at Flying Sumo: Money Roll, The Kraken, Mega Mikey, and another one not to miss, the Funky Roll.
Flying Sumo is open daily at 5:30 and located at 838 Park Avenue, under the Town Lift. 50 percent off rolls Sunday-Thursday through Nov. 30. 435-649-5522.