Some say it's passé, but if sushi is so yesterday, why do new sushi places keep cropping up and drawing crowds? Try these to find out.
CALIFORNIA ROLL & CRAZY SUSHI (320 Bloor West, at Spadina, 416-960-3888) Traditionalists may balk, but this L.A.-style sushi salon wraps unconventional ingredients -- cream cheese?!? -- in more familiar rice 'n' nori. Expect lineups at peak times for this compact, casually modern spot. Best: Japanese eggplant tempura with sweet soy dip; Yummy Crispy, a trio of deep-fried rice-paper tortillas topped with diced spicy tuna; Beef Negamaki, sirloin rolls stuffed with sliced green onions; salted edamame -- young green soy beans in their pods. Complete dinners for $20 per person, including all taxes, tip and a glass of sake. Open Monday to Saturday 11 am to 11 pm, Sunday and holidays noon to 10 pm. Fully licensed. Access: short step at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN
SUSHI ON BLOOR (515 Bloor West, at Brunswick, 416-516-3456) Modish Annex spot rolls out bargain all-inclusive meal deals and comparatively inexpensive sushi and sashimi combos. Unless you've made reservations -- especially for a booth -- join the queue. Best: delicately battered grease-free tempura dinners of shrimp, squash, sweet potato, broccoli and zucchini, with miso soup, sticky rice and miso-dressed iceberg lettuce salads; Nasu Dengaku -- sweet miso-slathered grilled Japanese eggplant; steak teriyaki with steamed strips of carrot, green bean and broccoli; red-bean ice cream. Complete dinners for $25 per person ($15 at lunch), including all taxes, tip and a bottle of Japanese beer. Open daily noon to 11 pm. Fully licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN