To land a spot on the Detroit Free Press’s “Top 10 Best New Restaurants in metro Detroit” list, written by the newspaper’s new Dining & Restaurant Critic Lyndsay Green, restaurants need more than delicious food and an inviting ambiance. In Green’s opinion, restaurants with a large focus on diversity, sustainability and other humanitarian or environmental efforts rose above the rest. Taking the top restaurant spot this year is the Clawson newcomer, Sozai Restaurant.

RELATED: Detroit Free Press | Here are the Top 10 best new restaurants in metro Detroit for 2022

Sustainable Sushi

Sozai Restaurant Owner and chef Hamije Sato identifies the fish used in his sustainable sushi dinner plate | Photo by One Detroit

One Detroit Editor Chris Jordan met up with Green at White Wolf Japanese Patisserie, in Clawson’s thriving culinary community, to talk about the sustainability efforts that landed Sozai the top honors this year. Then, Jordan heads down to Sozai Restaurant himself to talk with owner and chef Hajime Sato and get a taste of his sustainable sushi. 

Though sustainable sushi isn’t a term you’ll hear mentioned a lot among those in the seafood industry. Chef Sato’s Sozai is only one of a few restaurants across the nation serving sushi sustainably. According to chef Sato, more than one-third of seafood served in America’s restaurants is unsustainable. 

Sozai Restaurant

Sozai Restaurant owner and chef Hamije Sato (right) preps sushi for dinner at his restaurant with his employee. | Photo by One Detroit

That’s something chef Sato is trying to change, though the trend isn’t quick to catch on. Jordan joins chef Sato at Sozai Restaurant’s sushi bar to learn more about the sacrifice that’s needed to change the landscape of sustainability in seafood, the local fish he features from the Great Lakes, and how sushi lovers can practice greater sustainability while enjoying a meal out. Plus, chef Sato shares his thoughts on what’s cooking in metro Detroit’s culinary scene.


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