Meet Your Merchant: Nourishment with quality and style in Nevada City
Sushi at Nourish
106 Union St., Nevada City
Lunch hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday
Dinner hours: 5 to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday
Call for reservations
“Nourish,” which initially opened as a Nevada City smoothie and juice bar in 2014, became “Sushi at Nourish” in 2016 and has been booming ever since.
“There just weren’t enough people in town to support an organic juice and smoothie place,” said co-owner Travis Wood. “So we took a step back and decided we’d start serving sushi a couple of nights a week. We knew there were other sushi establishments nearby, but we offered a different vibe.”
Sushi nights were a hit, and soon two nights a week weren’t enough. Wood and his business partner, Michelle McConnell, knew they wanted to land — and keep — a top-notch sushi chef for their newest venture, especially if they were to drop the daytime smoothies and juices. That’s why, when they approached Jeb Cornwall, who had apprenticed under a Japanese chef for four years, they asked if he wanted to come in as a third partner.
“I was skeptical at first — but then business started growing,” said Cornwall. “Then, when we started offering sushi almost every night and got our liquor license, I knew this could work. That was when I quit my side job in construction. I was all in.
SUSHI HOT SPOT
Today, reservations are recommended at the Union Street eatery, which is now open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and Tuesday through Sunday for dinner. Cornwall, who runs a tight ship of highly trained sous chefs, is a perfectionist when it comes to choosing ingredients. Fresh fish comes in every other day, including sustainably raised whole salmon. He doesn’t have any qualms about rejecting fish that doesn’t meet his high standards.
“I take quality very seriously,” he said. “I think it’s paid off because we’re getting a very positive response from the community. Some customers eat here three to four times a week.”
Cornwall also said he loves the creative freedom that comes with the job, and he appreciates the confidence McConnell and Wood have in his culinary adventures. Given a blank canvas when it comes to dishes, new specials are popping up weekly. But on the menu, Cornwall’s favorite dishes to make are sashimi plates and the impressive “Shiso Spicy,” which includes spicy tuna surrounded by fanned slices of avocado and a Shiso leaf on a bed of rice topped with habanero masago (spicy roe), ponzu sauce, chili oil and Japanese 7 Spice Blend.
In addition to traditional favorites such as miso soup, poke, seaweed and house salads, tempura plates, teriyaki chicken, spicy tuna, California rolls and children’s bento boxes, Cornwall has outdone himself with such signature dishes as “The Trimmigrant,” which includes avocado, cucumber, imitation crab, daikon sprouts, salmon, ahi, albacore, lemon and tobiko (flying fish roe); “The Ridge” boasts tempura sweet potato, green onion, cucumber, lemon, avocado and house made ginger miso dressing; “The Yuppie” combines unagi, basil, garlic and cucumber with macadamia nuts; “The Harvest Roll” includes spicy marinated tofu, mango, cilantro, cucumber, avocado, lemon, daikon sprouts, chili oil and Japanese 7 Spice.
Other popular out-of-the box items include Sushi Burritos made with spicy tuna, tempura shrimp, avocado, imitation crab and sushi rice, and the Sushi Nachos, with a choice a fish, avocado, jalapeño and green onion tossed in pink and Ponzu sauce and layered on a bed of fresh wonton chips.
While Wood says they appear to have hit upon a “recipe for success,” the 1,800-square-foot space has its limitations. Seating is limited (call for reservations unless you’re sitting at the bar), and the kitchen is tiny.
“This used to be a children’s clothing store — there’s not much space,” Wood added. “At some point I’m hoping we can find a location that enables us to expand the menu.”
But for now, Cornwall, McConnell and Wood are happy with the status quo. Their rule of thumb has always been to create the kind of dining experience you would want for yourself.
“This place has exceeded every expectation,” said Cornwall. “It’s changed my life.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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