Generally speaking, Wisconsin isn’t renowned for its sushi. Red Sushi challenges that reputation and brings creative, high-caliber sushi to Madison.
Recently relocated from King Street, Red’s new West Washington Avenue spot is sleek, modern and somehow says “nightclub” even when the sun is still up. The location is bigger than the last, offering more seating and less wait time.
Red’s décor is abstract with details reminiscent of the sushi itself, such as light fixtures that look vaguely like fish eggs. All of these elements create a zen atmosphere, ideal for perfecting one’s chopstick technique and enjoying a peaceful meal.
The menu reads like a virtual novel of sushi rolls, while the drink menu is an archive of more types of sake than Madison knew existed. The rolls range from classics like the California roll to more complex rolls like the Eighty-Six, which includes sea snail and octopus among other raw seafood — not for the faint of heart. Along with the lengthy list of sake, a variety of specialty cocktails are available and made-to-order to accompany any type of sushi.
Red pushes the limits of what people traditionally think of as sushi, offering unique ingredients like jalapeños, sweet potato and strawberries. They also offer to customize rolls with the choice of a cucumber wrap, different types of rice and more. For daring customers, quality sashimi is available and made from uncommon ingredients such as quail egg and sea urchin.
Rolls arrive on simple white plates, showcasing their colorful ingredients. The fresh sushi is a work of art, perfectly constructed by chefs visible over the sushi counter. Every plate that comes out is made with the same care as the one before it, filling the dining room with unique and colorful rolls.
Ramen Kid satisfies with hefty noodle portions, savory brothJapanese techno music casually bumps overhead, anime-inspired collages decorate the space above the bar and steam rises from rich bowls of Read…
Sushi, however, is not all Red has to offer. They also serve basics like edamame and vegetable tempura, as well as Asian fusion staples, like ramen and steamed buns with pork belly and kimchi. For vegetarian and vegan customers, there are plenty of options, like the grilled vegetable roll with baby bok choy and eggplant.
Though Red may seem intimidating with its long waitlist and high-end décor, it can be just as accessible and casual as any other lunch or dinner destination in Madison. Calling ahead for dinner or weekend reservations is a good idea, while lunch walk-ins are usually a short wait or no wait at all. Red also offers plenty of lunch and dinner deals on sushi, sashimi and steamed buns that make a meal very affordable.
Achieved through high quality ingredients, friendly wait staff and creative offerings, Red holds a reputation in the Madison community as a no-brainer for sushi cravings — or even just a glass of sake. Their consistent quality makes Red a foolproof destination.