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Sushi remains an intimidating exotica in Chennai, in spite of the provenance of excellent expat-run Japanese restaurants and access to fresh seafood. If you have been following Indian restaurant trends over the past decade, you will know the secret-sauce that has made sushi into the ‘new butter chicken’ up in Delhi and Mumbai. The secret is that there is sauce, and lots of it. Enough creamy wasabi mayonnaise to convert, even the most stubborn ‘raw-fish’ skeptic. Sushi in a Box smartly chooses to enter this fabulously promising genre of fun, accessible Japanese food in Chennai. There is the very instagrammable dining room with sunken seat bunks, surrounded by Manga and striking reds. The menu is much more than just sushi in a box - featuring everything from zaru soba to okonomiyaki, nearly half of which is vegetarian.
Japanese food is still finding its feet in Chennai even though its home to a wide Japanese expat community and abundant fresh seafood. Indian palate is yet to fall in love with the raw flavour of the fare which takes a little time to acquire. Japanese cuisine may have become a raving success in Delhi or Mumbai but in Chennai majority of the diners are still sceptic about eating raw fish. But the crop of expat-run restaurants have started to turn around the thinking of local diners. There are plenty of Japanese restaurants in the city which serves authentic Japanese fare but there are few who have tried to tune down the Japanese-ness to suit the local palate. ‘Sushi In A Box’ at Teynampet is a quaint little place opened by someone who is already aware about the demands of the locals. They have modified the authentic flavour to satisfy the needs of the local diners.
Japanese culture is not only known for its food but also for its fun quirky art. Sushi In A Box has tried to channel some of the Japanese creativity through their décor. Interiors are colourful, modern and stylish. Manga is the running theme here and is portrayed well. Walls carry a manga themed wallpaper that runs seamlessly around the room. The restaurant forms various nooks and corners, some with proper tables and chairs while a section is dedicated to Japanese style floor seating. The vibe is fun, creative, youth-oriented and striking. There is nothing subtle about Sushi In A Box. Everything is eye-catching and bright here. Service is top notch. Staff is cordial and efficient. Ask if you are confused about something. Take their suggestions into consideration.
If you are new at Japanese food then you couldn’t have picked better than Sushi In A Box. The menu remains authentic enough without being too exotic for your untried palate. Foray into the menu with, ika natto, tako wasabi, deep fried chicken nuggets, ebi tempura, sunomono ika, chukawakame, tuna salad, miso shiru, salmon avocado temaki, ebi nigri, unagi maki, dragon roll, shitake gunkan, tori katsu, fish katsu, ika calamari, yaki gyoza and cheezu age. Main course is a selection of, seafood yasai itame, beef yasai itame, sake teriyaki, okonomi yaki, yakiniku, sakanaka steak, chicken katsu don, takana onigiri, hiyashi somen and miso ramen. You can go for their set menu too. If you would like something sweet, try the bakery downstairs.