Photos by Preyaa Docu, Words by Natalie Goldberg
When my friend told me that she found a cheap and absolutely delicious sushi spot to try that happened to be located right next to a strange cell phone store, she automatically caught my attention and curiosity. Around campus, there are plenty of yummy sushi places, but Avana Sushi in Chinatown has been my favorite place to go by far. Not only do they have unique rolls, large portion sizes, and a great variety of items, but they also won’t break the bank.
The restaurant itself is a hidden gem along a street filled with a variety of restaurants dishing up different types of Asian cuisine. When we first walked into Avana, I looked around and wondered how it could possibly produce the types of sushi that my friend had described. The walls are lined with pictures of bubble tea and styrofoam plates, filled with some of the most random drawings that customers have made while eating there. And yes, to our right, there exists a small cell phone store with electronics I had never seen before. They squeezed our entire group at a small, collapsible table with a bright pink tablecloth and plastic silverware. I do have to say, being so close together definitely makes it feel home-y.
Looking at the menu, I didn’t know what to expect. They had vegetarian options, cooked sushi, soups, sashimi, and more. So, I looked around for a classic and one of my traditional favorites- a Rainbow Roll. I could not think of anything else to make that roll more simple and perfect, until I saw the Spicy Rainbow Maki under Chef’s Special Maki section. It has everything a typical Rainbow roll would have, a cool and creamy California roll topped with a variety of fresh fish such as tuna, salmon, and yellowtail. However, Avana takes it one step further by adding sweet mango into the roll itself and topping everything off with a tangy spicy mayo. As I anxiously waited for the waitress to bring me my plate, I saw her walking towards me with a monster of a roll. “That can’t be mine,” I thought, until it was sitting right in front of me. Though the menu says eight pieces come in a roll, I looked down at my plate to find 12 pieces that almost did not fit onto the long plate. I lost all skepticism in this tiny place as I took a mouthful of some of the most flavorful sushi I have ever eaten. Every time I have been to Avana since, I have never been disappointed in the satisfying portion size for under $10! That’s right, a delicious, sushi-filled dinner for under $10. You really can’t beat that.
Though the Spicy Rainbow Maki has been my favorite so far, there are so many other unique rolls and combinations to meet anyone’s sushi craving. One of my favorite ingredients that they add to their rolls would have to be the mango. Their Mango Avocado Cucumber Roll takes a classic vegetarian roll to the next level, offering a sweet bite to contrast the salty soy sauce and vinegar taste from the rice. Another would have to be their use of crabmeat, rather than crabstick in some of their specialty rolls. It offers freshness to the cooked rolls and definitely replaces the need for raw fish. Plus, mixing it with spicy mayo makes it a perfect combination. I have also tried, and loved, their Rock N’ Roll, which is avocado and cucumber topped with crabmeat and spicy mayo.
So, when you go (not if you go, but when), I recommend going with friends. Each of you needs to order something different and share all of the different types of mouthwatering combinations Avana offers. Accompany your sushi with some salty edamame, hot miso soup, or sweet bubble tea. Come with an empty stomach, but you won’t leave with an empty wallet. Enjoy!
42 Beach Street
Boston, MA 02111
Open every day of the week 11:00am-10:00pm
Pick up, dine in, or delivery (within ½ mile radius)
Accessible by the Boylston T stop on the Green Line