Superb Sushi is the subterranean joint on 8th Street. It is entirely possible to not even know of its existence because its stairwell is wedged between the Thomas Hammer coffee shop and Cold Stone Creamery.
This Superb Sushi is the same group of sushi-makers that set up shop in the North End's Ridley's Market, where they received such a positive response that they opened their downtown spot in the Idaho Building in the fall of 2005. There is also a third Superb Sushi in Meridian, but the downtown Boise location is where I go for lunch.
The downtown Superb Sushi is more of a hipster joint than a traditional Japanese restaurant, with its brightly colored artsy decorations on the walls and patio furniture seating.
If you find your way into the building, you'll pass through the dining area to get to the ordering counter, which is in a small and dark nook with sushi-makers feverishly cinching and rolling colorful mounds of seaweed and rice. For dining in, you can flip through the menu and order at the counter then head back to the dining area--the tables outside of the actual restaurant and in the building's downstairs foyer--and wait for the staff to bring your rolls to the table. And just like in a traditional Japanese restaurant (in Boise anyway), a waiter brings you a warm bowl of miso soup.
For take-out orders, the sushi-rollers wrap up the food to go. With its downtown location, it's an accessible lunch spot for folks working in the grid, but also for any busy person on the go. When I went with my lunch date, we opted to dine in. We ordered three rolls and a pile of sashimi (Sashimi Sunflower) that came out looking like a beautiful fishy bloom made of ahi, salmon, hamachi and tako. That order was just a couple of bucks shy of $40, and I was a little concerned that for that kind of loot, I might not get full, the end result of many a sushi meal.
We sat down at a table, got our soup, and the meal followed shortly. My apprehension of cost-to-fullness ratio was immediately calmed because on the plate were the biggest, tightest rolls I've ever seen: two-bite rolls, each an inch thick, including the California roll.
In addition to the California roll and the sunflower, we got the eel-lover's caterpillar roll and the tuna-eel kamikaze roll. All were great, all were huge. But for my date, the highlight of the meal was the fibrous cabbage Asian slaw that comes scooped on the corner of each plate--not just because he likes free additions, but because he particularly enjoyed the pumpkin seeds and dried fruit mixed into the sesame-flavored slaw.
The highlight of the meal for me was that I couldn't finish my half of the lunch (my date, often affectionately called "Garbage Disposal" by his family, even found finishing my portion overwhelming, but he did it anyway). I was totally stuffed! On sushi! A rarity for sure.
Since we were in and out of Superb Sushi in less than 40 minutes during my lunch hour, we'll definitely go back to the spot for another mid-day meal, but next time, maybe we'll order less. With that extra time and a little extra room in our bellies, we may even stop for ice cream.
--Jennifer Gelband is an unagi sniggler.