Teiichi Sakurai was ahead of his time when he opened Teppo more than a decade ago. These days there’s a sushi joint on every corner, not the least of which is the famous and flashy newcomer, Nobu. Heck, you can even buy sushi at Kroger. But we have a soft spot for this sleek and small Lower Greenville mainstay. A recent late dinner started off well enough—plum wine for her, Sapporo for me, and a slab of miso-glazed sea bass, so sweet, so hot, so fleshy. But then things started to slide. True, Teppo has a reputation for the exotic, like beef tongue and quail eggs, but sticking with the basics couldn’t have been a mistake, could it? Surely something as simple as yellowtail, salmon, and tuna sushi should be a snap to prepare. But a heavy dose of wasabi ruined any chance we had at tasting the beautiful slabs of raw fish, which we peeled off the rice and ate like sashimi, once we’d wiped off the residual green stuff. Despite the rumors we’ve heard that too much wasabi implies the fish isn’t fresh, we know that wasn’t the case that night, because those same three varieties made a pristine wrapper on a rainbow roll filled with a cool crab center. We’d like to think this was an isolated incident, but could it be that Teppo is finally feeling the heat of the competition?

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