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Canton’s new sushi-focused Sizka dazzles and invites repeat visits from neophytes and connoisseurs | REVIEW

I’ll typically make a return visit to a place when my first experience was bad, to ensure it wasn’t a fluke. However, it’s when a restaurant dazzles me on a first visit that I want to invent excuses to go back again and again.

This was the case with Sizka, a new sushi spot in Canton’s O’Donnell Square. From the miso soup through a multi course tasting menu to mochi dessert, it was one of the liveliest weeknight dining experiences I’ve had lately.

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I’ll admit to being a sushi neophyte, the kind of person who orders California rolls and drowns them in a wasabi soy slurry. To compensate, I brought a more seasoned sushi connoisseur to help assess the situation. Perhaps it’s a testament to Jung Kim, the restaurant’s South Korean-born chef and owner, that we both had fun. His new restaurant offers an experience that seems to appeal equally to beginners and pros alike.

First impressions: The renovated firehouse is casual and BYOB, with white walls, black tabletops and lighting as bright as a Mac store. The decor doesn’t quite match the great meal that awaits. Take a seat at a table or better yet at the counter, where chef Kim is slicing and rolling the evening’s meals.

Must tries: Kim imports his fish from Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Spain, Norway, Sweden and elsewhere, slicing them up with a white steel blade. There’s an over-the-top 10- or 15-course sushi tasting menu called omakase, which gives diners the choice of the freshest fish offerings available for the evening. We shared the 15-course selection, which Kim divvied up, delighting us with plate after plate of raw Spanish mackerel, sea bream, fatty tuna adorned with gold leaf and slippery orange sea urchin encased in seaweed.

This was followed by slices of buttery Wagyu beef, seared before our eyes with a blow torch. We finished with temaki, or seaweed cones stuffed with minced, raw salmon. Not bad for a Wednesday.

Pro-tip: Of course, spending $75 for a non-special occasion weeknight meal may not be in your plans. In that case, the restaurant’s California rolls are also an excellent and more economical choice. The lump crab stuffed “crazy roll” ($15), wrapped in seared salmon, is the best use of crab since the invention of the crab cake.

Special touches: We started off with a savory Japanese cabbage pancake called okonomiyaki, a popular street food dish in Osaka. At Sizka, try it with vegetables ($8) or scallops and shrimp ($10). Ours arrived with upright topping of fish flakes swaying in the air, as if the plate was breathing in and out. For dessert, matcha and black sesame mochi ($5) were just the right amount of sweet to cap off the meal.

Bottom line: I anticipate some grousing about prices from readers. The hefty cost took me by surprise, given the overall casualness of the atmosphere. Then again, let’s remember we’re eating raw fish here. This is not an arena where you want to take chances. To quote Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential: “I can’t imagine a better example of Things To Be Wary Of in the food department than bargain sushi.”

IF YOU GO

Serves dinner daily; lunch available Friday through Sunday. 1030 S. Linwood Ave., Canton. 443-708-3723. sizkarestaurant.com

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