Bun Lai Miya’s Sushi

Miya’s Sushi in New Haven, Conn., revamped its menu about seven years ago. We’re not talking about a fancy leather-bound book with new photography, higher prices and snazzy descriptions of the dishes. No, the chef went in a wholly different direction: Bun Lai, conscientious young culinary visionary and son of the restaurant’s founder, Yoshiko Lai, took off staple sushi products that he deemed were in disharmony with the health of the oceans. “I started with the least popular items that I knew would create the least protest from our guests, such as Maine sea urchin and octopus,” says Lai, 40. “When I removed freshwater eel the following year, guests often walked out, fuming.”

Nobody’s storming out of Miya’s these days; in fact, the 29-year-old restaurant is becoming a foodie destination as the accolades come streaming in. Lai’s efforts to source sustainable seafood have been recognized by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Huffington Post (“Greatest Person of the Day” on Oct. 25, 2010) and the city of New Haven, which gave him the key to the city and the Elm Ivy Award for enhancing collaborative endeavors with Yale University. Lai is always updating his 60-page menu, full of only original recipes. Sixty pages? You might want to study the offerings at miyassushi.com before you visit.

Click here to read the Q&A with Lai, which appeared in the August issue of SeaFood Business magazine.

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