This post should probably be titled "Only Sushi in Cleveland," because it really isn't even close. Let me start by saying that I am from NYC and frequented many sushi bars there, and I have some favorite West Coast sushi bars too, and that I lived in Japan for three years, so my sushi standards are quite high. I've lived in Cleveland for 6 years and have tried places like Sushi Rock, Pacific East, and Shuhei. None of those are noteworthy, none have Japanese chefs, none get my recommendation -- I usually get non-sushi kitchen dishes there now if I go at all.
When someone told me that there was a new place, Ginko (http://restaurantdante.us/ginko-index...), that opened in Cleveland's Tremont section and that the sushi was good, I rolled my eyes and thanked them sarcastically. Eventually, though, I found myself checking it out with my usual low expectations for sushi in the landlocked Mid-West.
I ducked in the doorway and was instantly greeted by four staff who yelled, "Irasshaimase!!!", the first clue that I was in for a treat. The place is small with nice music, a cool decor, and Japanese manga playing on a flatscreen on one side. It has a good vibe. Noma-san is the head chef. He's got a clean shaven head and his English is reassuringly poor. There were a couple of Japanese assistants behind the U-shaped counter as well, bantering in Japanese with each other. So far, I couldn't believe this can be here in Cleveland.
Based on first impressions, I immediately ordered the Omakase - this leaves the meal up to the chef, a good way to see what a new place has "under the hood." As always, omakase is a bit spendy, but the meal that followed was one of the highest value sushi meals that I have ever enjoyed. I was served an absolute parade of beautiful and delicious plates including an amazing selection of sashimi and sushi. There was an appetizer with ankimo (monkfish liver) that was to die for. One of the sushi pieces had a yuzu-based garnish (yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit with a unique flavor - delicious) All the fish gets overnighted in from the coasts or Japan and its variety and freshness, from the standard fare to the more unusual delicacies, was impeccable.
I can't recommend this restaurant more highly. I'll be going back again and again.