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Over in City Market, you’ll find an interesting group of restaurants. Longtime favorites like Woody’s, Big Ed’s, and Vic’s Italian serving up the basics. But I’ll be honest with you, those options don’t really do much for me. So I’m glad to see some more upscale restaurants coming to the cobble-stoned streets of City Market. First there was the edition of Cafe Lucarne, a French eatery for lunch. Next up was Royale, an upscale French restaurant. And now what? City Market Sushi, a fresh and new taste of Japanese food for the area. I had seen some good online reviews for City Market Sushi so I was able to slip in for a lunch during their opening week. And I can tell you it was all pretty impressive…
Head over to Blake Street in City Market and you’ll see some reflective plate glass windows with some white, decorative art adorning the faces. Beyond those windows lie some delicious fish and Japanese food! Inside, City Market Sushi takes on a more beguiling look. Simple but fashionably adorned, you’ll find some more modern bent-wood seating, overhead lamps and a simple brown, black and white color palette. A small sushi bar sits to your right along with some two-top seating for the “lounge” area.
It’s only day 3 for City Market sushi and since I’m dining solo, I grab a high boy in the sun shiney front of the space. The menu is small with 5 or 6 small plates, some bento boxes, signature dishes and rolls. I go for the Ni bento box which offers up a soft-shell crab slider, pork belly salad, sashimi and spicy tuna rolls. For $12, it sounds like a great deal!
They’ve got a substantial amount of staff at City Market Sushi and while the space is pretty empty even after noon, patrons start flowing in after 12:15. I’m guessing word is still getting out about City Market Sushi! My waiter Jason, drops off my garlic edamame which are nicely seared and drizzled with a garlic soy marinade. Very tasty, the tender soybean gets amped up with that hint of savory sodium with some garlicky underneath, interesting preparation!
Next up is my bento box which looks fabulous. City Market Sushi has done a great job with preparation, serving this lunch meal in a six-compartment bamboo tray. I spy a beautiful slider, a fresh looking salad, 4 pieces of sushi, 2 pieces of sashimi along with some pork belly and a colorful collection of condiments to bling out the meal. So we’ve got a beautiful presentation for a LOT of food, thanks City Market Sushi!
I dive into the sashimi first which is tender and substantial to the tongue. Luscious salmon and tuna slices, nicely striated with sinew. Next up are the spicy tuna rolls which are truly spicy and show off some great, supple rice on the outside. I move on to the salad which is a nice mix of mesclun, avocado, tomato and cucumber in a light marinade.
Moving on to the main course, City Market Sushi does a wonderful pork belly salad! Lightly breaded and tender pork slices with a bit of chew. Contrasted against the light greens makes for some deliciousness. And then the soft-shell crab slider is certainly interesting. A well-fried crustacean peeking out from between a soft round bun, I wasn’t sure how to bite into this sammich. But overall I was pretty impressed with the creativity, plating and diversity of food on City Market Sushi’s lunch bento. You can’t ask for a much better mid-day meal, in my opinion. Although you might need a nap afterwards…
Service at City Market Sushi was excellent with Jason. Seasoned server who knows the menu well and timed the meal. Note that City Market Sushi does not have its liquor license as of late December but I’m sure they’re working hard on it. I’m so glad you’re here City Market Sushi, providing some diversity in the Raleigh food ecosystem. Along with Sono, we’ve now got an excellent second choice for Japanese food and sushi, arigato!