Denver’s restaurant scene is ever-expanding and with so many new restaurants, it can be easy to overlook the tried-and-true.

One such spot is Sonoda’s Sushi & Seafood in Aurora. While Sonoda’s may not have the glitz of Sushi Den or Sushi Sasa, it has experience in spades. Located in the same building since 1988, the space is comfortable, if a little worn. But what the restaurant lacks in decor it makes up for behind the sushi bar. One of the best bargains can be found midday: Choose the sashimi lunch (pictured) for a generous helping of fresh fish—in my case, salmon, tuna, yellowtail, striped bass, mackerel, and octopus—for $13. (The sushi lunch platter is equally well outfitted and similarly priced.)

When I dined, Masaaki Kawafune, the son of owner Makoto Kawafune, showed me a new trick. The sashimi plate comes with shaved daikon and slightly citrusy shiso leaves. I love shiso, but I generally regard the daikon as decor. He recommended I create my own roll of sorts by folding a slice of tuna and a few shreds of daikon inside the herb. The taste—refreshing and clean—added brightness to the often-nondescript tuna. I have no doubt that it’s details such as this that have kept Sonoda’s sharp after more than two decades in business.

3108 S. Parker Road, Aurora, 303-337-3800

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.