3 Quality Sushi Rolls for $10? Aoki Me!

**************The Price of This Lunch Has Gone Up to $11******************

The search for good (but cheap) sushi in Midtown has been an arduous one. Good is not really the issue, since there is plenty of amazing Japanese food in Midtown. Good and cheap is a different story. Try for under $10, and you’re in a danger zone, where better quality is tempered with smaller portions- and cheapness leaves you wondering about exactly what it is you’re eating. There are a few mediocre take out choices (Naruto or Midtown delis), but I think if quality is your main concern, then the sit down restaurants, where the sushi is made to order, is the way to go.

Most of the mid range places in Midtown have a lunch deal where you can usually get two rolls with a soup or salad for under $10. Taki (on 48th btw. 5+6th), and Kikku (on 55th btw. 5+6th) are two pretty popular choices, but two rolls for lunch always leaves me wanting, both for quantity and variety. Give me 3 rolls for $10, and now we’re talking. For months now, two of my co-workers have been extolling the virtues of Aoki, a sit down sushi place (on 48th btw. B’way+8th), with the holy grail of sushi lunch specials. My craving for quality sushi overtook my usual reluctance to get lunch from a place where you have to order from a waitress, or take the food to go… but 3 rolls for $10 will do crazy things to a man.

What I got, and a +/- after the jump…

Even at sit down restaurants there can be concerns when it comes to sushi. 3 rolls for $10 sounds great on paper, but what are you actually getting? Some places will limit your selecton, forcing you into choosing from cheaper rolls, like california or cucumber. Not Aoki. Their sushi roll lunch menu is pretty long, and even includes some big money items like the shrimp tempura roll. They also improve upon the standard spicy tuna roll by offering a “crunchy” version, that includes the addition of tempura bits into the spicy tuna mixture. (Is there anything not improved by adding bits of fried stuff to it?)

My favorite combo is the eel and avocado roll and spicy tuna roll, so I went with those two (the cruncy version of the spicy tuna roll of course), and for my third roll I couldn’t resist ordering the shrimp tempura roll. I wouldn’t normally order more cooked food than raw, but the lure of the shrimp tempura, a roll that can cost $10 on its own at some sushi restaurants, was just too great to overcome. The remaining two fears (quality and quantity) were pretty quickly put to bed…

A ton of food, and it tasted great. The quality of the eel was much better than you get at most cheap sushi places, and everything tasted really fresh and delicious. Since spicy tuna is usually the chopped up dregs, it’s hard to judge the quality of a restaurant’s fish based on that one roll- but considering my experience and how much my co-workers love this place- I think you’d be hard pressed to find better sushi in Midtown for the price. If 3 rolls seems like too much, they offer a two rolls lunch special for $8- but for an extra $2 it’s almost like they are paying you to take a third roll. Don’t be a wuss…

Of course, when something is too good to be true, then chances are it’s too good to be true, and with food costs rising at a pretty alarming rate, I give this place about a month and a half before they realize what suckers they are and raise the prices. In other words, get in while the gettins good, because eventually, they are going to pull a Del Frisco’s, and the holy grail of sushi will become a mysterious hidden treasure once again.


  • 3 rolls for $10. Does it get any better than that?
  • You get 24 rolls to choose from, and includes some particularly great ones like crunchy spicy tuna and shrimp tempura
  • The rolls are a good size, unlike the 1/2″ tall rolls you get at delis and even though they’re only 6 pieces each, it’s a pretty great deal for the quality.
  • They’re made to order


  • It’s a sit down place with waitresses, so in order to keep the cost around $10 you have to order for pick up and take it to go.
  • The rolls are only 6 pieces each, not 8 pieces
  • Eventually they are going to raise the price…

Aoki, 234 W. 48th St. (btw. B’way+8th), 212-956-2356


  • Damn, I wish you didn’t tell everyone about this place. It is a great deal and the quality of their fish is above average. They actually don’t seem to do a great take out business, but their eat in crowd is strong. Maybe if they get a better take out crowd, then they won’t raise their prices!

    Btw, their salad is much better than their soup, good dressing.

  • i’m such a pessimist about lunch prices lately… half the time i end up getting charged more than the menu price, with the customary “we haven’t had time to update our menu prices” excuse. times are tough, man…

    but this place looks promising. did you get soup AND salad with those rolls, zach?

  • Aoki is one of the best deals in midtown. can’t go wrong with their lunch special and it’s actually good quality sushi (unlike places like Taki which are terrible).

  • Have you tried Akane? It’s on E39th between 2nd/3rd (not sure if it’s outside of the Midtown area). Also 3 rolls for $10, plus soup & salad. They also include the shrimp tempura roll as part of the lunch special. Not sure if their costs have risen…I don’t work in that area anymore =(

  • I can’t believe that you just called them suckers….

  • Mmm… sushi. We have some good deals around here for Japanese places, but it’s hard to say they’re fantastic, they’re just your average neighborhood Japanese takeout place in my mind…

  • Wow. You ordered the *exact* same rolls I would have! I always go for the eel/avocado, and spicy tuna or salmon (and crunchy is better!). I also would zero in on the shrimp tempura for #3. You kinda seem like the big brother I never had…

  • This place also delivers! Their spicy tuna rolls are *actually*spicy the way the Japanese meant them to be…a back-of-the-throat lingering heat.

  • *****why the fucking stars*****

  • Thanks for the tip, Zach. I went there today and got the two-roll combo (yeah, I’m a wuss): vegetable tempura and avocado rolls. I can’t, therefore, vouch for the quality of the fish but the veggie rolls were really good. Way better than Taki, for example.

    I did takeout but the restaurant looks like it’s a nice place to eat. Loved the water feature.

  • They’re on Seamless! But for some reason, the Shrimp Tempura roll isn’t one of the options when you click into the 3roll lunch special to choose. -=(

  • ZACH. get this. i went to aoki today for the first time and all the menu prices were whited-out… it’s now two rolls for $9, three rolls for $11 (and for the record, i got two rolls and they charged me $9.50) … seems my honeymoon’s over before it even began. :(

    on a good note, the soup, sushi, and even the damn water was fresh as can be, and the waterfall wall did wonders for my stress level.

  • that stinks, dude. i was all set to check this place out for 10 dolares.

  • Zach-
    Have to say that this was a great find. Sushi was fresh, prices very reasonable (11 dollars if you order a Tempura roll, 10 if not), and the help was very friendly. Not to mention, this deal includes miso soup or a salad, which makes it the best Sushi deal in midtown to my knowledge.

    Great find…

  • Just tried this place, came out to $10.85. All in all a good deal. Not my number one sushi place, but my number one usually costs 3 times as much for the same amount of food. As far as the 2nd tier sushi places, this definitely tops my list, especially at this price point. Thanks for the tip! My coworkers and I thank you!

  • Get the Chilean sea bass lunch box special for ten bucks. you can’t go wrong!

  • Just had lunch there – the prices are now $9 for 2 pieces, $11 for 3. Some of the kitchen lunch specials are still under $10. Still a great place, though. Fast service (always important at lunch) and fresh ingredients.

  • Update:
    3 rolls are now 11 plus tax.
    Still a great deal especially with the miso soup that comes with it.

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    I have to say this was a great suprise. I did not expect to see such a beautiful restaurant with gigantic fish tank and huge waterfall.

    The rolls were great, very fresh. This is the best Sushi deal for $ 11.00 ! The staff was friendly and the service was great. They have a very large menu and I will definately be back!

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    Aoki is one of the top restaurants of NYC but some restaurants I really want to mention just like Jack’s sliders and sushi restaurant. I eat the sushi food of this restaurant this is also good and delicious. They offer sushi food and wine with different flavours and tastes.

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