Small. Colorful. Fresh. Perfectly packaged. The decor at Food Factory Miyake is itself a metaphor for this tiny Japanese bistro’s delicate delights. Super-fresh and expertly prepared by owner, Masa Miyake, the offerings go way beyond standard sushi bar fare.

Ayu Shioyaki -- Tiny but Tasty

Ayu Shioyaki -- Tiny but Tasty

Known for creative specials and, as described by Julia Moskin in a recent Grey Lady article, “Japan-Maine hybrids like quahog sushi . . .and lobster sashimi, the sweet tail meat barely blanched, then glossed with olive oil and microscopic pieces of fresh garlic,” Miyake’s menu promises so much – it’s hard to narrow down and order. Adam can never resist when he sees “chef’s choice” on a menu, so we trusted Masa-san to do us right for an opening round of nigiri.

Nigiri sushi is made with fresh raw fish pressed onto a hand-formed clump of white rice. Sushi rice must be pliant and slightly sweet, but not too soft. Mushy rice kills many a well-intentioned nigiri dish. The Ahi, Hamachi, Sweet Shrimp, Snapper – all were lovely – but the standouts were the Salmon Toro (the belly of the fish) and Fluke (a flat, flounder-like fish). Both melted on the tongue the way fatty raw fish should. And the rice? Cooked with an exacting hand.

Not fully sated, we scanned the specials menu and an item caught my eye. How could we not order something described as “a Japanese sweet fish that lives only in the very clean mountain streams.” The Ayu Shioyaki came whole with his little mouth propped wide as if emitting a vicious hiss. The impact might have been greater if he wasn’t just 6 inches long – not to mention salted and grilled. His insides were sweet, meaty and yummy, especially dipped in the accompanying crisp and tangy herbal sauce.

Miyake truly rivals the super-star sushi joints of NYC and San Francisco. As such, the prices reflect the quality, and Miyake sits firmly on our “splurge” list. Sigh.

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