Just after wading in the water at a nearby beach, head to eat fresh fish directly from it for lunch or dinner at the North Carolina coast’s number one Japanese traditional sushi restaurant in Wilmington.
This restaurant is well known and rated best for good cause. With owners coming directly from Japan, the traditional food comes directly to a location you would not expect and the taste is exceptional. Most fish restaurants serve frozen fish, even when in such close proximity to the ocean. Not this one. You can taste the fresh flavour in every dish you try. Ranging from a wide variety of sashimi, nigiri, and rolls, as most major cities’ sushi restaurants would have, this restaurant also caters to the not-so-adventurous with a variety of non-sushi, Japanese dishes from their main menu, including a couple of Korean dishes as well.
As for the alcohol selection, there is a wide variety of quality cold and hot sakes, Japanese & American beers, wines, and even Moët et Chandon Imperial for a very reasonable price.
I sat at the 10-top sushi bar, which gives you a view of the sushi dishes being prepped by the very busy Japanese sushi Chef in front of you. Thoroughly enjoying a complimentary edamame and seaweed dish soaked in Japanese vinegar provided upon arrival (see below), I began my meal in a wonderful way. The vinegar was not overpowering and the dish was light to the palate. It was just what I needed to appease my appetite while I waited for the main dish I ordered.
As this restaurant is well frequented by both locals and tourists alike, expect it to be busy. The wait is not long, depending on the time of your arrival, but it’s well worth the wait should you have to. Being alone, I was able to sit immediately at the sushi bar. However, if ever waiting for a table, you will be sat at the bar and served a drink at the very least, so you are never left standing or thirsty. You may always call ahead to make a reservation to guarantee the time you are seated, if preferred.
The staff are extremely accommodating, friendly, fast on their feet, and gracious. (Just what a busy restaurant such as this one needs.) My lovely waiter, James, was prompt, courteous, and always quick to notice the needs of both myself and the other customers around me before we even realised we needed them. I was impressed.
Back to the food: Being a long time sushi lover, I ordered Sashimi Tako [Octopus], Sake [Salmon], [Snapper], and Hamachi [Yellowtail Tuna] as well as a Ikura [Salmon Roe] Nigiri (with rice) with Quail Egg on top. Wonderful to the last bite. I expect this quality of sushi in major cities and was pleasantly surprised to find the same quality on the North Carolina coast. Even the gyoza and other dishes/sides are hand-made and/or prepped the same day in which they are served. You are sure to never be served anything frozen or old.
Upon paying my bill, I was offered a treat from this restaurant’s four, flavoured selection of home-made caramels. I tried the Green Tea, Plain, and Chocolate caramels. Delicious and melt right in your mouth. A sweet end to a lovely meal.
With both the quality of the service and the food, it’s no wonder this sushi restaurant is voted the best in Wilmington. I highly recommend visiting the next time you are traveling on the coast of North Carolina, even if you are not staying in Wilmington.
Genki Sushi: Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar
4724 New Centre Drive, Ste 5
Wilmington, NC 28405
Tues – Fri: 11:30 am – 2:00 pm, 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Sat: 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Sun: 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm