Bushi Sushi is Buttery owner's new endeavor

Wilson Gates has owned The Buttery in Lewes for about two years now.

“About five nights a week after work, I’d drive all the way to Rehoboth to have a roll of sushi and a cocktail and relax, then drive back home to Lewes,” he said. “One thing this town has never had is a sushi restaurant, and I was like, ‘You know what, I think I can do it better than everyone else.’”

The 35-year-old Gates is from Centerville, in New Castle County, near the state line. He attended the Culinary Institute of America and then spent time in Jacksonville, Wyoming opening a Four Seasons. He moved to Orange County, California and later Ocean City, Maryland for business ventures, before buying The Buttery.

“I consider myself a chef, but I am in love with the business of it all more so than the cooking,” Gates said.

Gates owned The Gate House, which was in the building that is now Bushi Sushi.

“The Gate House was a little bistro, and that style of food, you can go to the Buttery, to Kindle. A lot of restaurants serve very similar food in this town,” he said. “The chef at The Gate House, he had to move, so I decided to close up and open a sushi restaurant.”

Gates started searching for a chef online and came across “Chef Steven,” who has been a sushi chef for 26 years. He’s worked all over the world and was in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands when the hurricanes came through last year and destroyed the area.

“Steven has a real affinity toward quality of product,” Gates said. “He refuses to use yellowfin tuna. We go up to New York and pick out bigeyes twice a week. He really cares about the quality of food; it’s not a dollars and cents thing.”

Steven’s sushi is different from the sushi most Americans are accustomed to, according to Gates.

“Not to sound pompous, but what everyone else does is very generic, what we do is very unique. Our ingredients are unique,” Gates said. “I think the quality of products we use is a little bit above everyone else. There’s not one sauce that comes out of a can here, not even teriyaki. Everything is made in-house.”

Gates recommends the Cruz Landing roll, which includes black sushi rice, snow crab, teriyaki shitake mushrooms, microgreens and bubu arare (a garnish of tiny toasted rice balls) and is topped with eel.

“Steven loves microgreens because around here we have some amazing microgreen farms,” Gates said.

Specialty roll prices at Bushi Sushi range from $12-19. The restaurant, at 109 West Market Street, is open Tuesday through Sunday at 5 p.m. It closes at 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends. More information is at sushibushi.com.