Those who eat sushi tend to have strong opinions on where to eat it. For me, the place to go is Sachiko Sushi. The classic Japanese décor, large flat screens displaying sports games, and walls covered with handwritten signs advertising specials provides the backdrop for some truly outstanding food, both raw and cooked.
I arrived at Sachiko with two friends, all of us with different food agendas. A bowl of Spicy Ramen ($11.45) satisfied the soup lover, while my sushi wary companion found a great deal in the Chicken Teriyaki lunch special ($5.50). I, of course, opted for sushi, ordering a Philadelphia Roll ($7) and two pieces of Salmon Nigiri ($4.50) to share. At the suggestion of sushi chef Ross Condoy, I also ordered the Super Shrimp Tempura Roll ($9.95).
Sachiko provides complimentary miso soup with every order, and I believe it to be among the best miso soups in town. With just the right amount of saltiness and small circles of green onions floating in the cloudy broth, this soup is the definition of umami.
The Spicy Ramen arrived, bringing nose-tingling scents of chile wafting from the large bowl of red-orange, nearly opaque broth. Loaded with ground pork, bean sprouts, green and white onions, and ground chiles hot enough to make our lips numb, each mouthful contributed to the long, slow burn that lingered in our throats. If you love really spicy foods, this is the soup for you.
The Chicken Teriyaki lunch special was served in a bento, with a heap of tempura fried vegetables stealing the show. With breading so light and crisp, and just the right amount of oil, they were irresistible, and the accompanying dipping sauce was light enough in flavor to let the vegetables shine. The chicken had a nice smokiness to it, and the sauce was less syrupy than other teriyaki sauces I’ve tried, a definite plus. Filling out the bento was some fluffy white rice (brown rice available on request), a small helping of potato salad, and a small green salad, making this the go-to choice for maximum variety with minimal cost.
As for the sushi, it was fresh and assembled beautifully, with generous piles of wasabi and pickled ginger on the side. Sachiko is sensitive to the needs of those with shellfish allergies, being careful to keep rolls separate on request, and their Philadelphia Roll was a tasty crustacean-free option. The Super Shrimp Tempura Roll was as extravagant as it sounds, with a generous coating of sweet orange tobiko (flying fish roe) that popped pleasantly between my teeth. Inside the rice, the tempura shrimp, greens, and cream cheese stood up to my less-than-perfect chopstick skills (side note: Condoy tells me only sashimi needs to be eaten with chopsticks), and had plenty of flavor to enjoy. The Salmon Nigiri I saved for last. Garnished with a some finely sliced green onion and a sprinkle of sesame seeds, each piece included a large slice of tender, fresh fish, with just enough rice to give me something to chew.
I asked Chef Condoy what to look for when choosing a sushi restaurant. He suggests looking for a place that is busy. Why? Because the fish sells quickly, ensuring its freshness. Sachiko Sushi has been doing business in Tucson for 24 years, and when I asked for the secret to their success, Condoy says it’s simple: people come to Sachiko because “it’s a busy place.” That may be an oversimplification – but the reputation that keeps Sachiko busy has most definitely been earned.
1101 N Wilmot Rd
Tucson, AZ 85712