9: Tsukune at Yasu Sushi Bistro

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Visit our sister blog, Jackalope Ranch, for a companion series on 100 Creatives who make Phoenix a little more interesting for all of us. We'll be posting the next 8 picks daily through the rest of the summer.

Number 9: Tsukune at Yasu Sushi Bistro

Considering the name, sushi's a given at chef Yasu Hashino's hip North Phoenix izakaya (I'm a big fan of the uni shooters here, with sea urchin and raw oyster you down in one gulp), but there's just as much good stuff coming off the grill that's worth a try -- amazing fish, whole squid, yakitori, bacon-wrapped scallops and more, all seared over a hot bed of special binchotan charcoal.

Yasu's homemade tsukune (chicken meatballs) are irresistible. For some reason, this ubiquitous Japanese street food/bar snack is hard to come by in Phoenix, so I was impressed the first time I saw them on the menu. And when I tasted them, I was hooked. Formed into patties, skewered, slathered in savory-sweet glaze, and grilled until the outside has a smoky, caramelized sheen, this juicy ground chicken is one of the highlights here. 

If Japanese cuisine strikes you as austere, a bite into one of these beauties will show you how lusty it can be. A cold beer goes perfectly with them, too.

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