Go Ahead, Get Café Sushi Delivered

The Cambridge mainstay is still a winner, even in its takeout-focused era.

Overhead view of a salmon donburi bowl and seared tuna in black plastic takeover containers on a wooden table.

Café Sushi, delivered. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Sure, we’re all a little bummed that the Cambridge mainstay Café Sushi has suspended dine-in service indefinitely, especially after its beautiful 2018 makeover. The 39-year-old business has been beloved by local sushi enthusiasts for years, particularly for its thrilling omakase of the latter half of its existence. (Chef and owner Seizi Imura took over the restaurant from his parents in 2007 and fancied up its offerings.) Here at Boston, we’ve given it a Best of Boston award four times, and I’ve personally celebrated a few life milestones at that sushi counter. (I fondly remember one such meal, sipping sake and snacking on delicate bites of kanpachi with house-aged soy, poblano taki-miso, and kaiware; shima aji with wasabi oil, mint, and orange; and iwana with sesame oil, ssam jang, negi, and lime zest.)

But! Don’t despair: The not-so-hidden gem’s pivot to takeout, delivery, and retail is deserving of acclaim, too. At the end of 2022, Café Sushi transformed into Café Sushi Shoten, building on takeout and delivery service that it first offered in 2017—and improved upon during the black hole of 2020—and adding in a whole lot of other Japanese groceries, sake, and more to buy. Now, the restaurant that was Café Sushi serves up gorgeously packaged sushi platters with all of the zest and creativity of the dine-in days, plus an outstanding selection of specialty products to buy.

Digging into a home-delivered paper bag might not feel quite as special occasion-y as a few hours of bliss at a sushi counter, but taking out each item, wrapped neatly in colorful tissue paper and secured with an adorable cat sticker, does feel like opening a present. And what a gift to yourself: Beyond your meal, you can order everything from wasabi-infused finishing salt to a made-for-connoisseurs $40 bottle of roasted sesame oil to a jar of house-made furikake to the best packaged Japanese snacks (hello, pizza chips) to wooden chopsticks topped with cuddly animals. Throw in a bottle or two of sake from over 50 selections at a variety of prices, a range that includes a $5 juice box-style Lucky Dog Box or a $300 “rare, splurge-worthy” Tatenokawa “18.” (Also, I have trouble resisting well-made restaurant merch, so I can report that the “chubby kitty” T-shirt is as “super-soft” as advertised, and I will be wearing it on a near-daily basis until further notice.)

Is this the Café Sushi of the 2007-to-2020 era? Well, eating on my couch can’t quite match the the sushi counter’s pleasantly buzzy energy, and I’m holding out hope that dine-in will return one day. But even if it doesn’t, I fully endorse the new era of Café Sushi Shoten—and can’t wait to place my next dinner order while restocking on ginger tea, candied yuzu peels, and sushi lollipops.

1105 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-492-0434,