If you think about it even briefly, a sushi bar is a natural forum for cocktails: The sushi itself is perfectly packaged for noshing while drinking, and there are typically dozens of other light options that don’t break the bank. And though sake and beer are obvious choices in this environment, cocktails crafted to complement the food are not only possible but downright exciting in their potential. Enter Sushi Zushi.
The yin-yang bartenders (one’s blond, the other moreno) may not have designed the drinks menu, but they will happily explain it — and some ’splaining may be required. There are 16 “signature” drinks that are normally $7.25 but go for $5 during a happy hour that runs from 3-7 p.m. Monday to Friday. Ingredients such as unfiltered sake and green tea liqueur crop up in descriptions; we tried drinks with each and liked them well enough.
The Cucumber Saketini is a blend of Tito’s Vodka, Sho Chiku Bai Nigori Sake, and a sweetened cucumber purée. The cucumber dominates, but only just, and the drink would be a tad too sweet for our taste if not for the chili-spiked salt rim that puts it all in perspective. A Zen Green Tea-Tini features Skyy Vodka, Zen Green Tea liqueur, iced green tea, simple syrup, and a hint of lemon. We’d hint less and hit more with the lemon — and the vodka — but found this very refreshing and almost too virtuous. Both were good with a serving of squid salad with seaweed and sesame.