5 reasons to stop by Middleton’s new sushi spot

Chef worked in Japan, New York
5 reasons to stop by Middleton’s new sushi spot
Sensational Sushi: Takara 88 owners Erica and Brian Ni; the BMW roll.

1. THE BACKSTORY: If you want to see an American success story, meet Brian and Erica Ni. The two grew up in China but now find themselves running three Madison-area restaurants. Brian spent years working as a sushi chef in Japan and New York before moving to Wisconsin, where his sister Jeanne already lived.

2. THE VIBE: The restaurant’s name is auspicious–takara means “treasure” in Japanese, while the number eight brings luck. If all good things come in threes, the Nis’ third restaurant has good fortune in its future. The modern aesthetics at the Middleton location include a breathtaking sushi bar with low lighting throughout.

3. THE FOOD: Sushi is king, but some of Erica’s favorites are what she calls “kitchen foods” like teriyaki, tempura, udon noodles or hibachi. “We have a variety,” says Erica.

4. THE MUST-TRY: If you crave sushi, you must try the BMW roll made with crunchy shrimp and avocado and topped with seared salmon and cheese–you won’t believe how much your taste buds will agree with the cheese. Other favorites include the Wasabi Stringer and Puppy Love, both featuring shrimp tempura. Go big with the chirashi, an assortment of sashimi over rice. And if sushi’s not your thing, those kitchen items like udon and tempura can’t be beat.

5. THE BOTTOM LINE: Takara 88 in Middleton tops the local sushi list. The space is cool and relaxing, plus it’s still a nice place for a family dinner. Erica manages the locale and loves seeing familiar faces. “We have regular customers and they know my name,” Erica laughs. “They come here every week.”

5 reasons to stop by Middleton’s new sushi spot