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Top Sushi in Central Queens

From Forest Hills to Middle Village, where to get your Japanese-fish fix


Finding sushi in Central Queens isn't a problem. Stroll down Queens Boulevard, Austin Street, or Metropolitan Avenue and you'll run into a bunch of sushi joints. Finding good sushi, though, is a whole lot trickier.

Hopefully, you know to avoid places advertising "50% off" on the awning, as well as sushi bars stuck in locations they don't belong (i.e. Chinese restaurants). But still, tracking down the good-quality stuff is a matter of putting your money -- and stomach -- on the line. I did just that and discovered: yes, decent sushi does exist in Central Queens.

Sushi Yasu - When the sushi's this good, who needs ambiance?

Yasu Sushi in Forest Hills
Photo (c) Sarah Kiino
This storefront sushi bar doubles as a fish store. Décor is minimal -- a burbling fish tank, origami spilling out of a bowl -- but top-quality food combined with owner Yasu's welcoming spirit make the place a gem.

The menu begins and ends with sushi: you won't find teriyaki, udon, or even appetizers. Alcoholic beverages are strictly BYOB, but the sushi is terrific. In the sushi deluxe ($21), the fish is so fresh and sweet and the rice so well seasoned, soy sauce is unnecessary. Yasu uses real grated wasabi root, which is milder and more nuanced in flavor than the more common paste. The maki are also worth a mention -- especially the popular Marilyn Monroe roll ($13).

  • Sushi Yasu, 71-45 Yellowstone Blvd, Forest Hills, 718-544-0942

Shiro of Japan - A post-shopping treat at the Atlas Park Mall

Shiro of Japan - Glendale Atlas Park Mall
Photo (c) Sarah Kiino
This newish outpost of a Long Island restaurant specializes in teppanyaki, which is never a good sign. It's cheesy. Theatrical. Fake. But to the left of the entrance is a room without a knife-flashing chef-entertainer in sight.

Grab a spot at the sushi bar, and order a sake to start. The Chinese guys behind the counter do a pretty good job. The nigiri in my sushi deluxe ($21) were well proportioned; the rice was seasoned right and the fish fresh. I also liked the rich fatty tuna roll with scallion ($7). Shiro offers lots of signature rolls, but these I found heavy-handed, loaded with too many ingredients and sauces.

  • Shiro of Japan, 80-40 Cooper Ave, Glendale, NY, 718-326-8704, http://www.shiroofjapan.com

Toyo - A welcome addition to Metropolitan Avenue

Toyo Sushi - Middle Village
Photo (c) Sarah Kiino
This Chinese-run newcomer has a lot to work on, but is a fine option for sushi-starved Middle Villagers. The room is attractive, with dark wooden tables and leather-backed chairs. (They could, however, lose the Chinese pop music.)

My sushi deluxe ($17) looked great, with well-sliced fish and just enough rice, but lacked flavor. I peeked under the fish and saw the chef had not seasoned the nigiri with wasabi. It was fine once I dipped it in soy sauce. The fried oyster maki contained more breading than oyster, and the Toyo special roll ($11) with fried lobster was a little tough. I did, however, like the sky roll ($10), with yellowtail, salmon, and scallion.

  • Toyo Japanese Cuisine, 73-06 Metropolitan Ave, Middle Village, 718-894-8880

Sakura-ya - DIY sushi (and everything else Japanese)

Sakura ya in Forest Hills
Photo (c) Sarah Kiino
If you're ready to take the next step and attempt to make your own sushi, stock up at this little Japanese grocery in Forest Hills. Here you'll find nori (seaweed), Japanese rice, vinegar for flavoring the rice (you can buy rice vinegar and mix it with sugar yourself, or buy already-seasoned rice vinegar), as well as a limited selection of sushi-quality fish. And don't forget to pick up a bamboo mat for rolling. The store doesn't have much in the way of produce, but for that head across the street to Natural Fruit and Vegetables.
  • Sakura-ya, 73-05 Austin Street, Forest Hills, NY, 718-268-7220
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