Every Sunday evening, I am faced with a daunting decision: $1 tacos or half-priced sushi. Rather than make this proverbial Sophie’s choice, I do tacos for lunch, sushi for dinner, and then often sushi again on Tuesday. Now many have said they refuse to eat sushi at any restaurant where the ocean is not visible, and perhaps I am not as much of a sushi snob as I ought to be, but Totto’s Sushi Bar does a topnotch job. Located on the North Shore, Totto’s overlooks Coolidge Park and is conveniently located near a Clumpies for some post-fish ice cream.
If you’re new to the glorious sushi realm and are having trouble mentally getting past the whole raw fish encased in seaweed thing, Totto’s is an excellent place to have your first exposure. On Sunday and Thursday nights, they offer half price on their specialty sushi rolls which puts them within a college budget and outside taste bud comfort zones. If you want to slowly acclimate to sushi, try the Steak Roll with a spicy-sweet effect, smooth cream cheese, tuna, seared steak, all topped with finely-chopped scallions. The Big Tempura Roll is another good option for sushi novices as it is flavorful and deep fried, thus appealing to our American side.
If you love living life on the spicy side, you will go for the Double Spicy Roll which highlights their spicy crab, complex sauces, and a hint of cucumber to provide balance. The Orange Blossom Roll focuses exclusively on the fish by pairing tuna, avocado, salmon sashimi, and finished with massago. Not only is this roll delicious, it comes in the shape of a flower and thus is prime for Snapchatting your culinary experience to other college students who are sadly eating sodium-filled packaged ramen.
Other favorites include any of their Totto-named house special rolls, the Pink Lady’s Roll, and—if you want something a little different—the Sensual Pleasant Roll which is wrapped in cucumber. All of the specialty rolls are made cohesive with smooth, vibrant sauces and beautifully plated. They are at a discount for $5-7 per roll on these selected nights, but keep in mind: one negative to the Totto experience is having to pay for parking. Do not let that deter you, however, when there is sushi to be eaten.
While the ocean might not be visible from Chattanooga, Totto’s artistry and detail in their food makes this place a worthwhile stop. This cuisine is perfect for when college food is becoming bland and you need something entirely different. Totto’s Sushi is a long-standing Chattanooga classic that deserves to be next on your list of go-to places—if you aren’t too scared by eel sauce.