Does cheap, pre-packaged sushi that’s good exist? Or is it some sort of enigma- like cheap General Tso’s made with real chicken. Is it even possible? Or, is pre-packaged sushi all bad, because it is pre-packaged?
Now, I should probably quantify what I’m talking about, because the word “sushi” can mean so many different things. I feel like when talking about good sushi, you can divide people into two main camps. The first camp is the real fish eaters. People who love sashimi (just the raw fish) and/or sushi (slice of fish laid over some rice). The more you spend, the fresher and better the fish, so you don’t really want too much of a bargain when it comes to eating this kind of sushi. If you are in this camp, and can’t imagine eating sushi that doesn’t fall into this category- you might as well stop reading… because my search is for something totally different. You might say “The cheap stuff”.
The second category, is the rolls camp. When someone in this camp says ”I love sushi”, they really mean, I love rolls. Totally different animal, because in this camp the flavor of the roll doesn’t necessarily come from the fish. In these rolls the fish comes prepared in many different ways. Fried in batter (tempura), chopped and mixed with mayo (spicy tuna rolls), or sometimes in a special “imitation” form that isn’t actually fish (that crab stuff in cheap California rolls). Liking rolls also means that you can probably tolerate eating at cheaper places…
Which brings us to my dilemna. I’m one of those people who falls in both camps. I can enjoy the $100 omakase at a real deal sushi place, but I can also eat a $4 pre-packaged Eel & Avocado or Spicy Tuna roll with the best of them. And when it comes to having lunch in Midtown, I’m looking for that elusive cheaper, quicker option.
With that in mind, I had lunch at Yummy Sushi the other day. It’s a take out only, quick sushi place underneath Rockefeller Center. It’s fairly cheap, good selection and like most cheap sushi- not particularly great.
What we ate, the +/- and my plea for help, after the jump…
Shrimp Tempura Roll, $5.95
If you fry anything, it’s going to taste good… of course if it’s pre-packaged and sits for an hour- it’s not exactly going to be hot (but it’s still sort of good).
Spicy Tuna Roll, $3.95
Not a good fish to rice ratio (as you can clearly see from the picture). Oh, and by the way- to all you people who eat sushi because it’s “low fat”, spicy tuna rolls have mayo in it. Sorry to ruin it…
“Lunch Box 1″, $7.95
Your choice for variety. The shumai are probably the best part (not good or great- just best)… it also comes with salad, a tuna roll, edamame and miso soup.
THE + (What people who like this place will say)
- It’s quick and easy
- It’s cheap
- It’s at the bottom of my building (I’m guessing most people who eat there, work in Rockefeller Center)
- It’s pre-packaged sushi. All pre-packaged sushi sucks.
- Not enough fish in the rolls
- Not fresh enough
- Once you start getting into the combos with Teriyaki and multiple rolls, it’s almost as expensive as a sit down place
All in all it was a pretty mediocre lunch, and it got me wondering if there is any good take out sushi in Midtown. All the delis have it, so somebody must be eating it, right? So help me out. There’s got to be a place where they have pre-packaged sushi that actually tastes good (for pre-packaged sushi). Here’s my guidelines:
- I’m not a big California Roll fan. It’s gotta be good Spicy Tuna, Eel or Salmon & Avocado or something like that
- They’ve got to have a chef making the sushi during the lunch-time hours. That guarantees that at least it hasn’t been sitting there since the morning
- Take out only. No sit down places… not even if you take it to go. (I know there are good sit down places with good lunch specials that you can order and take it to go- but that’s not what I’m looking for)
- It’s gotta be cheap and of course- it’s gotta be in Midtown
Just post your suggestions as comments to this post… and remember- next time someone says “I love sushi, you should try this place”, make sure to ask them what camp they fall into… or you might be stuck eating “the best” california rolls in the city.
Yummy Sushi, 30 Rockefeller Plaza (Concourse Level), 212-459-2100