(Not so) Yummy Sushi

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)

THE -

  • 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:

  1. I’m not a big California Roll fan.  It’s gotta be good Spicy Tuna, Eel or Salmon & Avocado or something like that
  2. 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
  3. 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)
  4. 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

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13 Responses to (Not so) Yummy Sushi

  1. sam says:

    try Amish Market on 9th ave between 50th and 51st st. I only went a couple of times to get their premade sushi, but I recall that it was a good and tasty place. The fish also seemed fairly fresh. It’s better than the take out sushi the Food Emporium on 49th and 8th Ave, and cheaper than the Go Sushi On 9th and 54th (which is also just decent). I know these locations are a bit further west, but I think it’s still considered midtown. cheers

  2. MidtownLunch says:

    Yeah, I’ve actually been to Amish Market and Food Emporium. Both of their take out sushi are pretty good (although they are deceptively thin). Unfortunately, I try to stay East of 8th avenue with all my posts. Thanks for the comment…

  3. Brian says:

    Would love to see you do a feature on non-takeout (i.e. sit down) Sushi in Midtown. I think that some of the best is a place you’ve already reviewed for other reasons – Sapporo – but would love to hear about some other spots too.

  4. MidtownLunch says:

    You must be thinking of a different place… I don’t think Sapporo on 49th street has sushi.

  5. Terry says:

    Taka in the village was my favorite sit-down in town, though I haven’t been there in years. Dinner only, IIRC. For quick take out, try Whole Foods.

  6. Sandra says:

    Teriyaki Boy on 7th Ave. between 48th and 49th? I don’t think that’s so bad…

  7. Kodama Sushi on 8th and 45th–there is a restaurant on 45th, but on 8th Avenue there’s a takeout entrance. They also have a nice selection of other Japanese snacks.

  8. hi says:

    Anybody ever been to Iron Chef House in Brooklyn Heights? Why can’t they open one of these in midtown!?
    $10 gets you three rolls of your choice (whether it be eel, spicy yellow tail, etc.) a really good miso soup and a salad. Plus, the quality of the fish is EXCELLENT, and the service is swift. As for midtown, iv’e pretty much given up on the hope for eating sushi for lunch.

  9. Kristine says:

    When are you going to head out of state…

  10. Christie says:

    I am always in search of a decent sushi place. I flow between both categories, so I am relatively easy to please. I was not a huge fan of Yummy sushi downstairs. I think the best deal is Variety Cafe on 48th btwn 5th and 6th. They have pre-made stuff but also have 2 sushi chefs making whatever you want. The pre-made turns over rather quickly so it might be fresher than other places. Anyway, try it out and let me know what you think.

  11. Maria says:

    I just found your site as I was looking for Yummy Sushi’s phone number… to call them and let them know their tuna avocado rolls are off and my desk smells like Hong Kong harbour. I had the sushi from Boca yesterday (on 50th, I think, between 5 and 6th). Very nice, good fish to rice ration, pretty good for midtown take-out really, but I didn’t have time to go there today – damn! Suggest they rename this place Scummy Sushi…

  12. beth says:

    Found a Cockroach in the food we ordered for a client meeting, in the clients mouth!!! Not so yummy Sushi!!!!

  13. badrun says:

    very good taste sushi..i like it..good fish..and nice pussy…

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