Sea Fare

Sea Fare

When my foodie New Yorker boyfriend visited for the weekend and requested sushi, we followed a trail of good internet reviews to Miso, tucked away in the far corner of the Ninth Square. Deeper than it is wide, the room is split by a series of pillars and panels. To the left is the bar, to the right an array of glossy bamboo tables that shone in auric late-day light.

As evening settled in, the restaurant filled up but a calm, romantic air lingered. Our ponytailed waiter with a habit of responding in double—“Sure, sure,” “You got it, you got it”—answered our questions kindly and expertly. My boyfriend, a fish skeptic turned sushi snob, was assured Miso could accommodate his tastes.

As for me, I began to chirp “miso soup!,” an activity which lost its charm a full dozen repetitions before I became distracted by the arrival of actual miso soup. The deceptively simple dish, $4 here, hit the mark, light and briny and steaming, its tiny cubes of tofu drifting and settling like stones in a tide pool. We also ordered the shrimp shumai, going with the additional crunch and lusciousness of the fried version, an upgrade over the already yummy stuffed shellfish dumplings.

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Miso’s core menu promises a familiar array of Japanese dishes, nothing too kooky or outlandish, relying not on gimmicks but on delivering well-crafted favorites. And deliver they did. The rolls? Excellent, with crunchy shrimp tempura, crisp vegetables, ripe avocado, sticky rice, flavorful sauces. The sashimi specials? Flawless, from the Chūtoro, perfectly marbled tuna from the middle of the belly, to the Madai, an incredible ombré sea bream we were told is a celebratory fish from Japan. Convinced we wouldn’t be able to finish everything, we nonetheless found ourselves with empty plates except for a few scattered drips of eel sauce and retired chopsticks.

Fearing a Violet Beauregarde moment, we declined dessert, though I’m certain our dedicated waiter would have rolled us to the parking lot if needed.

15 Orange St, New Haven (map)
Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm & 5-9:45pm; Sat-Sun 5-9:45pm
(203) 848-6472

Written by Miki Cornwell. Photographed by Dan Mims.

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