Once an exotic food that few Westerners had experienced, sushi has become as ubiquitous as Tater Tots and barbecued steak here in the High Desert.
But it wasn't always that way. For a long time, Boise was home to only one Japanese restaurant, and when chef Shige Matsuzawa and his wife, Debbie, opened Shige Japanese Cuisine in 1992 on the upper level of the building on the downtown corner of Eighth and Main streets, it was definitely a gamble—a gamble that paid off. All of these years later, weekend dining warriors still have to wait for a table. And the Matsuzawas are still gamblers.
In the midst of this most recent recession, the couple scooped up the empty space left where Gino's Ristorante once lived, and they expanded by adding a tepanyaki room and Shige's Red Carpet Fine Dining. Terrace seating is available, but inside is where it's at. A high-end bar and two-person tables give the low-lit scarlet, chrome and dark-wood lounge its red-carpet feel. The fine dining comes by way of foie gras a la Japonais, Kurobuta pork chops and the Red Carpet Salad, a beautifully arranged mix of sweet miso dressing, breaded and deep-fried goat cheese, bright fresh greens and watercress.
And, of course, a tantalizing array of sushi, which few do better than Shige.