Q: My wife and I just moved from Key West to Summerville. We are looking for a good sushi restaurant, preferably near Summerville. We have been disappointed with what we have found here so far. Any suggestions? Maybe we have to go to downtown Charleston?
A: Ah, sushi. Despite the Lowcountry's fluency in seafood and rice, sushi isn't the area's strong suit. Sushi here tends to mean overstuffed rolls, which are fine if you're in the mood for avocado, fake crab meat and tobiko (and should that mood strike on a Monday night, head directly to Locals, a Mount Pleasant sports bar where the rolls are half-price.)
If you're dead set on staying in Summerville, my pick for Japanese cuisine is Myles and Jun Yakitori, an izakaya-style grill where you can get a decent garlic rice with octopus or a deep-fried tuna collar. But for raw fish, your best bet is Kanpai in Mount Pleasant: Chef Sean Park takes more care with his rice vinegar and sushi knife than anyone else in town. Still, it's one of the few sophisticated sushi bars where I wouldn't endorse asking for omakase (meaning the chef chooses the menu): Park can get a little carried away with truffle oil and costly cooked dishes.
Finally, if you're willing to think beyond a traditional restaurant, Short Grain Food Truck outclasses every sushi bar. Its chirashi (raw fish and vegetables scattered over rice) is an exemplar of the form. Short Grain earlier this month launched its new summer menu. I'm eager to try it.