This summer, Sushi 86 celebrated its 20th anniversary, but thanks to Covid, it did so quietly. Like other restaurant owners, Rachel Hsu had shut down operations in March, but ultimately decided not to reopen in the same space or capacity, she explains.
“We closed our sit-down restaurant in March and decided to not reopen because we would have had only six tables and no outdoor patio,” Hsu says. “The overhead was too high.”
The silver lining was that Hsu already was in the process of opening a second business – a poke shop – nearby in the same 5th Street Arcades (530 Euclid Ave.). She decided to roll Sushi 86 into that same space.
“So kind of two businesses in one,” she says.
offers a contemporary take on that classic Hawaiian dish of seasoned raw fish. Sold as customizable bowls, the poke stars proteins like raw tuna and salmon, barely-seared albacore, cooked shrimp and tofu. Those items (and combinations thereof) arrive on a base of brown rice, white rice, kale or romaine. They are partnered with myriad sides, mix-ins, toppings and sauces. Bowls come in three different sizes and prices.
In addition to the poke bowls, Poke 86 offers edamame, squid salad, kimchi, bubble tea and mochi.
, in its present form, is mainly virtual. The menu has been trimmed down to about two dozen small and large rolls. The sashimi and nigiri has been 86’d, so to speak, for the time being. A handful of other items like miso soup, inari and seaweed salad also are available.
“This is how we are surviving,” Hsu states. “We just celebrated, this summer, 20 years downtown, so we weren’t planning on going anywhere.”
Poke 86 is available for walk-up service, pick-up and delivery, while Sushi 86 is pick-up and delivery only; no walk-up service.
As for the future of Sushi 86, Hsu would only tease the possibility of a new sit-down operation in a different location.