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Sustainable sushi in Florida: a locavore's guide

Sustainable food is all the rage these days. Culinary arts schools teach Farm to Table programs and grow local herb gardens, while restaurants scramble to find organic, local and fresh foods to serve to guests hungry for a little environmental change along with their lunch. Sushi can be hard to locally source, but the Florida restaurants below have figured out a way to do it.

1. Sushi Maki South Miami, Florida

The king of local sushi in Miami is eco-conscious Sushi Maki, but responsibly sourced ingredients are just the beginning of what makes this fresh fish house special. You can grab lunch at one of their local restaurants in South Miami, Coral Gables and other locales or pick up a tray while you're shopping at Whole Foods. Their 10,000 ft. fresh-fish operation features sushi-making robots -- don't get your hand stuck in one of those.

  • What to order: Try the rock shrimp tempura tossed in a spicy aioli or the miso-glazed sea bass.

2. Tampa Kaisen Sushi Tampa, Florida

This fun sushi joint is obsessive about freshness and quality, using local catches you might not find on any other sushi menu in Florida. Dinner is served Izakaya style, where you're given a wet towel to clean your hands before the pleasures of food and drink. Want proof of the local catch? On Tampa Kaisen's Facebook page, you'll find pictures of the chef's fishing trips, catching fish and making sashimi on the boat.

  • What to order: Check out the restaurant's Facebook page before you go and find out what's local and fresh or ask the chef behind the counter.

3. Tokyo Bay Japanese Restaurant, St. Petersburg, Florida

Locally sourced, natural and tasty, Tokyo Bay claims top honors in St. Petersburg. The restaurant fuses Japanese and Korean standards, including udon, tempura and katsu, but the sushi stands out from the rest. Students from culinary arts schools in Florida can stop in to check out a range of cuisine at this eco-friendly location.

  • What to order: The Local Catch Tataki, seared and served with ginger ponzu and daikon sprouts.

4. Nu-Sushi, Coral Springs, Florida

At this Coral Springs sushi joint, eco-friendly is a long-term philosophy, not a short-term trend. Locally sourced sushi has been on the menu for almost 20 years, and while nationally sourced items are also on hand, it's simple enough to ask the chef for the sustainable selections.

  • What to order: Start with a traditional Japanese appetizer of squid salad and move on to the catch of the day.

No matter where you go in Florida for your sushi fix, it's important to order responsibly. Look for gulf or locally farmed options, like king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, or yellowfin from the Atlantic. Avoid Japan farmed yellowtail, king crab from Russia and other fish that needed a passport to get to your plate.

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