SushiArt Reviewed

A review of the world renowned chain’s first location in the Middle East.

As an avid fan of traditional Japanese sushi and all its contemporary forms, the concept that SushiArt, a sister company of SushiShop, puts forth of “Sushi: It’s even better when it’s beautiful” really tantalised me when it came to my attention. So I eagerly went to try out the upgraded version of the world renowned menu and sample the creative French-infused selection.

Upon arrival, I was disappointed to discover the restaurant’s chosen location in Dubai - the food court of Dubai International Financial Centre’s Marble Walk, which certainly takes away from its allure. Considering the price positioning and reputation of the globally-accredited sushi chain, one would expect higher standards, especially when DIFC’s upper levels are laden with some of the trendiest restaurants in the city.

Initially, I was confused as I approached the shop, still clearly titled “SushiShop” on both the main signage and menu cover. The only evidence of “Sushi Art” was on the two roll-up banners located on either side of the outside sitting area.

Stepping inside, there was a distinct zen atmosphere that was communicated through the authentic Japanese interior design touches, such as the warm lighting, earth tones, smooth wood and stone materials. This was combined with more modern culinary design elements, such as the solid brushed metal slab that rendered into a bar instead of the traditional softwood block commonly utilised in Japanese restaurants.

The offerings were vast and the quality of the food fresh. However, the presentation of the plates fell short, especially when considering the “artistic” angle that is supposed to differentiate this sushi innovator from its competitors.

Flipping through the glossy pages of the impressive menu, there were countless exciting choices to try. First I chose the classic Tuna Tartare with Caviar ($68 each). It didn’t fall short of its reputation.  Other selections worth sampling include the Salmon Tataki in Yuzu Sauce ($32), the mouth watering Wagyu Beef Sushi with Truffle ($6 per sushi) and the Crab Avocado maki roll ($11).

The total price tag for two people was just over $180.

If SushiArt was positioned as a quick lunch place for the DIFC dweller, then its location and plate presentation could be overlooked, making it a top-tier afternoon stop. But would the average client want to pay $180 on a lunch for two on a regular basis? The price tag is more befitting of a fine dining destination, but the service and presentation are not. There is a lot of potential but SushiArt hasn’t quite hit the mark yet.

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