Imagine how exquisite it would be to travel around eating nothing but the best-of-the-best sushi... at places that put a premium not only on serving the highest-quality fish, but in offering a welcoming and often pampering interaction between chef and diner. These restaurants become transportive destinations in themselves — but it also might just be worth a trip across the country, or even the globe, to find them.
1. Sushi Sora, Tokyo
If you can score a seat or two of the eight seats available at the bar at the Mandarin Oriental's sky-high restaurant, you'll be treated to impeccable food presented minimally and beautifully. As you gaze on the majestic views 38 floors up, you can pretty much say you've won at the sport of sushi, if not life itself.
2. Masa, New York City
Dinner for two may cost more than a MacBook at the most expensive sushi restaurant in the country at $1,300, but the enduring memory would surely outstrip any laptop's life. Michelin has given Masa an elusive three-star seal of approval.
3. Hashiri, San FranciscoSan Francisco's priciest sushi spot, a showstopping transplant from Japan, fittingly sits in a plaza alongside the old Mint, where money was once printed. That'd be a helpful tool to have now, in order to afford the $500 per person price tag for omakase (chef's choice) meals in the private dining room, probably the most decadent sushi experience on the Pacific Coast
4. Sushi Samba, Las Vegas
Chef John Um's Instagram feed is an endlessly artful array of sushi dream sequences that taste as good as they look (that's his whole fish sashimi pictured up top). If ever the word opulence was appropriate, it's at the Las Vegas outpost of Sushi Samba, where Um's creations are available to anyone within reach of the Venetian.
5. Sukiyabashi Jiro, Tokyo
If you're into this kind of food, chances are you've already Netflixed the exceptional Jiro Dreams of Sushi documentary. Making your dream a reality is a must if you're in Tokyo, and your patient chef is used to being asked to pose for pictures after.
6. Sushitaichi, Tokyo
Also in Tokyo is a spot prized among sushi hunters. With only nine seats, it's not the easiest to get into or even find, but the reward is to experience the best of the ever-changing seasons.
7. Sushi Nakazawa, New York City
Daisuke Nakazawa was a protégé of your Netflix buddy Jiro before moving to the United States to open a restaurant in New York City. Sushi Nakazawa, which is much higher end than Sukiyabashi Jiro, instantly leapt into the competitive fray in New York and has become an essential stop for connoisseurs.
8. Naoe, Miami
Miami's ultra-luxe sushi hotspot has a motto: "It's not fresh, it's alive!" When you want to be that intimate with your dinner and appreciate a chef with a flair for the artistic and indulgent, it's time to book a Naoe reservation.
9. O Ya, Boston
Boston's acclaimed spot for omakase action offers some of the most distinctive plating to hide behind a sushi hashtag. Outrageous seasonal specials like matsutake mushroom and white alba truffle nigiri take an already-decadent menu over the top.
10. Kurumazushi, New York City
Kurumazushi is celebrating 40 years in business in Manhattan this year, which is an incredible feat given the fickle palates and high rents of the city. Great food is part of how it has remained so respected. And part of it is the restaurant's priceless human touch: the unbeatable, welcoming smile of chef Toshihiro Uezu that is a staple on Instagram.
Top Chef 13fan favorite Isaac Toups is back! And now, he's packing his knives and setting sail around the Caribbean to take on one of the most formidable tests of his culinary career. See what happens when Isaac boards a cruise ship and goes head to head in challenges against the most talented chefs in the ship's kitchens. He also stops at exotic locations along the way, where he faces off against local chefs in attempts to beat them at their own game by recreating classic, local dishes. Watch Bravotv.com's new original digital series, Isaac Takes On... now!
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