Nothing Fishy About It

Long gone is the notion that sushi, in all of its various interpretations, is exotic cuisine.  Though still a fine delicacy in the right hands, the humble roll has also undergone detrimental adaptions to become easily accessible “fast food,” palatable to the crudest of tastes and tightest of budgets.  Somewhere in the middle of that spectrum falls the everyday sort of sushi, an option that most people can imagine grabbing after a long day’s work, pretense not attached.  Despite the nearly universal acceptance of this concept, once verboten due to the shocking raw fish at the heart of the concept, it still shocks some people that a vegan might partake as well.  Composed not of uncooked aquatic creatures, but any fresh veggies under the sun, one would think that vegetable sushi should be brainlessly simple, not to mention far more budget-friendly for restaurateurs and diners alike.  Alas, typically restricted to limp cucumbers and rapidly browning, mushy avocado, the vegetable rolls rarely impress, and fall depressingly short of their full potential.

Though I rarely feature local eateries, Miya’s Sushi in New Haven, CT is one place that anyone can take inspiration from, even if a trip there is out of the question. Boasting the most expansive and creative vegan sushi menu I know of, this is one restaurant where I know that I will not only be able to find a decent meal, but one worth remembering. Additionally, Miya’s holds the title as one of the most sustainable sushi stops in the US, an honor of no small importance even to those not partaking in the pescetarian options.

Flamboyant names like Charlie Chan’s Ching Chong Roll precede brilliantly filled bundles of their signature multigrain rice. Not the most descriptive perhaps, but one taste of the flavorful broccoli, roasted garlic, and black bean combo tucked within, and the somewhat questionable title can easily be forgiven.

Not to be missed is the Killer Squid Roll, which seeks to approximate the chewy texture of squid tentacles with toothsome lengths of tempura-fried udon. Marinated in mushroom stock, they even posses that elusive umami quality so hard to attain without the bonito usually ubiquitous in Japanese cooking. Request additional whole mushrooms in this one for an savory experience worth dreaming about. Though originally not one I had intended to order, it may have ultimately been my favorite of the evening.

Eggplant may not sound like the most sushi-friend vegetable, but cooked to a meltingly tender state and accented with spicy miso, avocado, and scallions as in the Mount Fuji Roll, even eggplant-haters will be won over by this artfully seasoned rendition.

Unphotographed but not to be forgotten in the It’s a Great Pumpkin, Miso soup, one of the very few vegan miso soups out there, and easily the only that I’ve tasted which possess such a depth of flavor. Replete with tiny bites of sweet pumpkin, it’s a must for every time I visit.

Not all of the vegetable options are vegan, as many involve cheese, but the staff at Miya’s are patient and graciously open to making substitutions when asked. Don’t get stuck in a veggie sushi rut ever again- Try something different, don’t be afraid to experiment with unorthodox rolls! Just hearing some of their ideas makes me want to try them out in my own kitchen, so no matter where you are in the world, their menu can be a springboard of inspiration.

36 thoughts on “Nothing Fishy About It

  1. I could totally go for one (or all!) of those rolls right about now. Next time we drive down to Ridgefield from Boston, my husband and I might need to make a detour to New Haven and seek out Miya’s Sushi!

  2. This sushi looks and sounds delish! Since going GF, I haven’t had sushi out. I do like my sushi with a bit of soy sauce and most don’t carry GF. We have been making it at home and appreciate this blog as it provides inspiration!

  3. You know, I lived just a few buildings down the street from Miya’s for three years, and never went. I’m beginning to regret this!

  4. I don’t know why more Japanese restaurants don’t do more with veg sushi…it seems like there are so many places you could take it! All of these rolls sound delicious but I’m especially partial to that eggplant one. It sounds so incredibly flavorful.

  5. All of the sushi looks fantastic, but the idea of roasted garlic and whole mushrooms in sushi has really captured my imagination. I can’t wait to try it at home.

  6. Will definitely have to give this a taste. New Haven always strikes me as a goldmine of amazing restaurants just waiting to be discovered. Have you tried Ahimsa? I stumbled upon it while irrevocably lost with a friend, and it basically changed my life- and it’s all vegan!

  7. I think I realised sushi had become mainstream the day my 96 year old grandma ordered it at a restaurant ;) That said, I would faint to the floor in glee if I ever saw multigrain sushi here in Canberra, let alone one with faux squid and broccoli! My favourite sushi rolls here are the seaweed and marinated mushroom ones… not quite as exciting, mind you!

  8. You’re so lucky to have a place like this near where you live! Everything looks great. I think I need to take another trip. . . ;)

  9. I love sushi too and these are totally flavors I would love to work with – my bf just said the other night that we needed to start making our own sushi.
    I’m always afraid to dine out though because as you mention, even seemingly innocent meals contain bonito or fish sauce and I hate to ask the servers, so I ask you: so when something is tempura-fried does that not always contain egg? This is one of those cuisines that should be so much easier than it is!

  10. Miya’s is amazing! I love that you can get such creative sushi and it’s also VERY reasonably priced. I was so excited to see this post, although I now have a serious craving for their pumpkin miso soup! :)

  11. It’s so awesome that there are so many vegan options for sushi. I would love to try these just for the sheer uniqueness of them. Yummy!!

  12. I need a good sushi place around here! This place sounds awesome! I had very plain brown rice veggie rolls yesterday. I loved those, so I couldn’t imagine how much I’d like these amazing choices!

  13. This post totally inspired me to try making my own sushi again. I have tried to find vegan sushi where I live, but everything we have found has been BORING. I don’t like eggplant much, but that Mount Fuji roll sounds delicious!

  14. Oh, I wish I were in the area because this is one place I would have to visit! I’m a huge fan of eggplant, so the Mount Fuji Roll is really calling my name!

  15. You’re so right! The only veggie roll that I can regularly rely on to be fresh and flavorful is the futomaki. Would love to have a place like this close by. I’d never have imagined using eggplant that way and all of the flavors you describe sound fantastic! If I’m ever around there, I’d definitely love to try it.

  16. Sushi is my favourite food, and I’m so happy that Reykjavík has a great sushi bar that makes a killer plate of vegan sushi. There are the usual cucumber, avocado and the tofu pockets, but also some others, like mashed sweet potatoes in rolls.

    I definitely want to experiment more with making sushi myself, I usually just do boring rolls. But I do love to add chopped peanuts to my avocado rolls!

  17. Wow! As a vegetarian I have to say one of the things I miss the most is Japanese food – so much has sneaky fish in it even if it seems veggie-friendly at first. This looks AMAZING. I’m in Boston, so I could conceivably stop there on a trip to NY…

  18. I also LOVE eggplant in my sushi!!!
    Do you mind if I link to this article? I’m writing a post myself on the excellence of homemade sushi, and this seems a worthy addition.
    Let me know!
    Joanna @ stoveless

  19. This is very late but I live in New Haven and my family eats at Miya’s about once or twice a week. They are so eco-friendly/conscious, delicious, sustainable, and the owner is one of the coolest guys you’ll meet! Pretty much everything (vegan, at least) on the menu is absolutely delicious.

    1. It’s never too late to sing the praises of Miya’s! It’s still one of my favorite eateries. I especially love the fact that their seaweed is all locally harvested, too- That miso soup of theirs is always filled with delicious surprises.

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