New Haven, Conn.
New Haven is not known for its sushi, and sushi isn’t known for being sustainable. Bun Lai’s joint breaks both of these conventions. The restaurant has even become a destination for discerning New Yorkers.
Why we chose this sushi:
You can’t count on salmon, tuna, or eel on the menu here. Instead, you might find rockfish, tilapia from a local aquaculture school, and wild, local seaweed. The menu will often include “trash fish,” invasive species such as lionfish, and lots of vegetables. A recent dish even featured dehydrated larvae.
On educating the next gen of sushi eaters:
Lai was raised in the Yale community by a scientist father and a chef mother (Yoshiko Lai, who founded Miya’s in 1982). His parents helped him build an appreciation for good food at a young age, and he sees Miya’s as a way to offer the same education. “There are kids who are growing up with Miya’s, and really don’t know any other sushi,” he says. “They’ll go to other restaurants asking questions, like, ‘Why do you do things this way?’”