Sensational Sushi

By: Karen Dybis | March 20, 2020
Sushi in the D

Photo Courtesy of Dr. Sushi.

With climate change and water concerns, people may be looking to balance not only where their food comes from but how it was produced, fertilized, harvested or prepared. One food that is particularly sensitive to this is sushi. 

As a result, Metro Detroit restaurants and pop-up eateries that specialize in sushi are coming up with new and Earth-friendly ways to source, prepare and serve this classic dish. Traditional sushi is prepared with rice, some kind of seafood and a variety of vegetables, allowing the chefs who create it a large number of decisions to make when preparing the dish. 

Dr. Sushi prides itself on being the only sustainable sushi operation in the state of Michigan, explained Chef Nick George, who runs the Detroit-based catering and events company specializing in Japanese cuisine and sustainable sushi. For the past nine years, Dr. Sushi has created pop-ups, corporate events and classes that focus not only on great taste but great knowledge about sushi as well. 

Dr. Sushi has built its business on sustainability, George said, and that means the company does not use any fish that is being harvested at a rate that’s exceeding its respawn rate or detrimental to agricultural systems, he said. It also avoids any protein on the endangered species list, such as eel or bluefin tuna. 

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“We pay attention to those lists and talk to people in the DRN (Department of Natural Resources) as well as various other marine stewardship councils,” George said. “We use a lot of farmed mollusks, scallops and oysters because they’re some of the most sustainable proteins in the world.”

Dr. Sushi also stays away from farmed fish, which can have a lot of environmental issues such as hormones. Instead, George said his business focuses on offering things like salmon roe from the Upper Peninsula as well as fish such as mackerel, smelt and sardines. These smaller fish may take longer to prepare, but they are much easier on the environment.


“The smaller the fish you eat the less likely or less mercury it will likely contain or the potential for any radiation. You don’t have to worry about things like that if you’re eating smaller, sustainable fish,” George said. And the chef can show off their knife skills and training with these smaller fish, which also are delicious when prepared well. 

Part of Dr. Sushi’s efforts are to change the existing expectations about what sushi is in terms of some “traditions” and take it back to what it originally was. 

“If you go to any sushi bar, all have the same exact menu, and that creates a negative feedback loop. Sushi chefs think that’s what everyone wants to eat,” George said. “I want the future generation to be able to enjoy sushi and they won’t unless they change their dietary habits right now. … If you come to our events, you’ll have the most talented sushi chefs in Michigan – and you’ll have the best sushi as a result (that is) closer to the origin of sushi and not westernized or globalized in any way.”

At the moment, Dr. Sushi has canceled its pop-up dinners in light of the social distancing mandates. However, you can buy its gift cards and merchandise to tide you over until these events can be rescheduled. 

Here are some other sushi-forward restaurants for you to try as takeout or via a food-delivery service.

Noble Fish

This Clawson restaurant describes its sushi as “remarkable,” and many consumers agree. They offer a variety of sushi and other food at its market, which is traditionally Japanese. It also is known for its sizable portions, giving people high-quality seafood and a lot of it to enjoy with family and friends. Noble Fish is offering grab-n-go and take-out options right now. 

Old World Market Sushi Bar

Be prepared for a grand experience at this one-stop shopping site in Novi. This marketplace is huge inside with a full Japanese grocery store attached to the sushi restaurant. It also has veggie options with ingredients such as carrot, cucumber, avocado and asparagus. At this time, its grab-n-go case is stocked with all of your sushi favorites and you can still order take-out anytime until 6 p.m.

Maru Sushi and Grill

This visually stunning Detroit restaurant also has striking food and sake, making it one of the city’s most popular sushi sops. Its menu covers everything you’ll want to eat and more, including sharing plates, express lunches and a chef’s platter with a variety of treats on board. One fun dish is the Sexy Bacon, which features smoked bacon, crab stick, tempura crunch, garlic eel sauce and a creamy garlic sauce. Its new specials include discounts on carry-out orders as well as half off some wines, which can be included in to-go and online order.