I love sushi and so does this city. On a particular stretch of Sonnenallee alone where I used to live, two restaurants compete eye-to-eye. Sushi 93 moved across the street to make room for Sushi City, and I bet the former didn’t see that coming. Or maybe they’re owned by the same people. Ooo, plots always thicken.
Tangent aside, it’s not just nearby restaurants that are aplenty, but also menu flyers that make it into my mailbox from places like Sushi Fabrik and Sushi Asia Food, to name a few. Real junk mail if you ask me, yet it’s still a clear sign that the Japanese staple has penetrated the mainstream lunch/snack/dinner palate. Mediocre restaurants are capitalizing but fret not, Berlin! There’s still light at the end of the tunnel – yellow and white neon to be exact – and it reads Musashi.
The road to Musashi wasn’t easy. Whenever I biked past it on Kottbusser Damm, the place was always teeming with people, which, while a tremendously good sign, wasn’t really conducive to spontaneous dinners. So I settled for other places like Sushi 93, a.k.a. the setting of my saddest sushi experience. It was the end of a long workday; I was hungry – maybe even hangry – and all I wanted was a roll of my go-to salmon maki. Carpe diem, I thought, so down the road I went to try the brand-spankin’-new restaurant. Moments later, I was staring at the most uneven fish-to-rice ratio to grace a maki roll. I spent most of that meal sadly peeling chunks of overcooked rice from a figment of salmon, and vowed never to return again.
Hitting rock-bottom of sushi experiences fueled my motivation to find decent sushi in my new Kiez, and when a similar craving hit on Easter weekend, I only had one place in mind. Fingers were crossed and thumbs were pressed, hoping that Musashi would be a.) open on Easter Saturday and b.) able to accommodate three people. With a wave of the Sushi God’s wand (chopstick?), we secured a reservation and arrived at a surprisingly empty restaurant, with half an hour to spare until kitchen closing, and were warmly greeted by a cute Vietnamese lady. (Halt: I know what you’re thinking, but it’s about quality not authenticity!)
I was really excited. We ordered as fast as we could, and first to arrive was our appetizer: a vegetable/shrimp tempura combo served with white rice and tempura sauce. Not a bad start, but soon enough the much-awaited trifecta of tuna, salmon and avocado maki rolls arrived. The first bite of the salmon maki was exactly what I yearned for – that melt-in-your-mouth slice of salmon in a flurry of rice that’s cooked just right. I relished in this sensation, alternated with tuna, and every now and then interjected with a bite of avocado. Needless to say, I devoured my meal and felt sehr satt (though let’s be real, at six pieces per roll, who wouldn’t?). Then there was the Katsu-Curry, which is an absolute treat for Japanese curry fans. It’s quite rare to find on Japanese menus in the city, and Musashi does not kid with its Hühnerschnitzel: it is massive and cure-worthy of any hunger pang.
Musashi might be a small joint, but it sure packs a punch. With a diverse menu of Japanese favorites and a decent yet affordable sushi selection, no wonder word’s out about the Kreuzberg hole-in-the-wall. Thank you, Sushi Gods, for leading me here. I’m never looking back.
Tip: While not listed under Vorspeisen, the Kaklage (tempura) is a great appetizer option when dining with a group. Also order the jasmine tea, which, at fifty cents per mug, is an absolute bargain.
Kottbusser Damm 102
+ 49 30 6932042