I Am Big Enough to Admit I Wasn’t Entirely Correct About How Much Yushi Sucks

Seeing as I am addicted to all Asian food, I was pretty excited a year ago when Yushi Bento Bar opened up on 47th St. btw. Park and Lex. Maybe that explains why I was so disappointed to find pretty bland, overpriced bentos, in a setting where salad and low calories seemed more important than taste. I called it “style over substance”, meaning that clearly they were more concerned with making beautiful food than filling you up. There is no question the bentos are made with quality ingredients, and they have a wide array of sauces to spruce up whatever you order- but with so many other great Japanese bento places in Midtown, this expensive bento bar just didn’t seem to make the Midtown Lunch cut.

That is until last week. It’s been a year since I’ve been inside Yushi, and I decided to just pop in and see what was going on. And that’s when I noticed this: “Peking Duck Roll.” Oh yeah? Delicious roasted duck, in sushi form? Expensive or not, how could I not try it?

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When I first visited Yushi a year ago, I’ll admit, I didn’t try any of the sushi rolls. They were sold in these weird tubes, and at $4 to $5 it seemed too expensive. I don’t even know if I realized they were rolls (you have to look real close to see that they are in fact sliced inside those weird tubes.) Two rolls for $10 from a take out sushi place was more than I wanted to pay, and it was called a “Bento Bar”. The sushi seemed like an afterthought. Since that time, I’ve noticed it’s tough to get even take out sushi in Midtown for less than $4-5 a roll, especially from a place with quality ingredients (which I admit, Yushi definitely is.) So, after noticing the Peking Duck roll, and realizing that with some creative math I could get two rolls for under $10, I decided to give Yushi another go.

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Not as satisfying as real Peking duck, but it still tasted good- and there was alot more meat than I was expecting. Their “hoisin”, which came in a little tube attached to the roll, was a little too gussied up for me (plain hoisin would have been better) but it still worked. At $5, it was almost worth it… I mean we are talking duck here. The rice was cold from being prepackaged, and in the fridge, but the texture was still moist and pleasing (unlike some other prepackaged sushi places.) I can’t imagine how this could only be 135 calories- but hey, I’ll take it! (I don’t count calories purposefully, but if I can eat something tasty- and be able to not get any fatter than I already am, sign me up.)

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To round out my lunch I went with the Spicy Salmon roll, which at $4.35 enabled me to come in at exactly $10 for my lunch. I’m mostly against places that promote healthiness, but the fact that they give you extra spicy mayo on the side is a pretty nice touch. That way you can regulate according to taste. It also means you can actually see the real chunks of salmon (or tuna), unmasked by the spicy tuna sauce. Most sushi places use the mayo sauce to cover the fact that they’re just chopping up their crappy, leftover fish.

At $10 for 2 6 piece rolls, it wasn’t filling enough to qualify for full fledged Midtown Lunch status, but there is no question that Yushi is using some quality ingredients, and at least they’re trying to slip in some fat guy’ish tasty items. Peking Duck Roll? I mean, you’ve got to admit that’s good. Still not for everyone, and to truly fill up I’d probably have to spend $15, but the sushi rolls are tasty- and as far as good, reasonably priced sushi goes, we don’t have too many other options.

THE +

  • They’re doing some creative things with their sushi rolls, like Peking Duck
  • They give you an extra container of spicy mayo on the side (for those of us who like to lay it on thick)
  • The ingredients are very high quality
  • The rice stays tasty and good despite being put in the fridge

THE -

  • For $10 you may not get enough food to fill you up
  • They don’t give you ginger to go (you have to get it from the self serve area that is mostly used by people who are eating their food in the store)

Yushi, 245 Park Ave. (But it’s actually on 47th St. closer to Lexington), 212-687-1900

13 Comments

  • Speaking of refrigerated rice, I’m amazed at the delicious $2 vegatable fried rice tub I got from Woorijip yesterday – it held up impressively overnight after my $9 buffet feast for yesterday’s lunch (did I really think I could eat the rice too???). Anywho, spending $2 on lunch today makes $10 on sushi rolls tomorrow seem like a just reward for my frugality :)

  • Bypassed them couple times and seeing they are always empty, I didn’t bother trying but now that I see they have the peking duck roll, think I am gonna go soon! :o)

  • Mmm, Peking Duck!

  • I was intrigued by the duck as well, but have to voice a dissenting opinion. I half expected the duck to be medium rare, as in a good breast slice. Which I realize is not Peking style. But, IMO, you don’t get the best of either worlds. No juicy red meat, and no crispy skin and melty duck fat.

    Blah. And I was so excited, too. Oh well, I’ll stick to ‘wichcraft next door.

  • @jtg – you know what, you’re right. i should have been more clear so that your expectations would have been as low as mine were! there is no delicious crispiness, or creamy fattiness… the appeal lies solely in the fact that it is something new and different from the average take out sushi.

  • jtg.
    So you want peking style crispy,which is generally cooked through, but with underdone fattyness.

    It’s duck rolled in sticky rice..wha u wan for 5 dolla? foie gras?

  • Luv this place! :o)

  • Yes, my expectations were a bit too high as well. Crispiness is kinda key. But give this place kudos for style… once in awhile it’s nice to have an inexpensive lunch not at a generic deli fighting over the chairs and mini tables. The spicy salmon was quite tasty… had plenty of sauce already on it, so the generous extra container of spicy mayo will be saved in the fridge for a boring turkey sandwich day. But Zach, you should have also pointed out that it was sprinkled with wasabi-coated sesame seeds (nice touch). True, under $10 bucks for the two rolls, especially when you get their points card which gives you a discount (for every dollar spent you get a point… I did the math.. [can you believe it I can do math?!! sometimes i even impress myself] it’s basically a 10 cent discount on every dollar… which you can redeem later to buy food items with.) So with the card in essence i got a dollar off the meal… so yes, this clearly clocks underneath $10 bucks.

  • Went back today (too convenient not to). Couldn’t decide which rolls to get, luckily they had a variety pack… 3 pieces of 3 types (crab, salmon, egg/sundried tomato)… very tasty. But the magic to mention was that on the salmon sushi, instead of sesame seeds, it was wrapped with sprinkles of chopped dill. Which when you think about it, that’s a very common garnish for salmon, but i never had on sushi… it really gave it a nice light and refreshing flavor. What??!! Did i just give kudos for something as “light” and “refreshing”… damn, this stuff is way too healthy… definitely will need to wash it all down with some fried food tonight.

  • Mr Midtown Lunch

    I have only just seen your July 17th comments, i’m not even sure owners are mean’t to write here but what the hell

    You initially said we were too expensive when we opened, FYI:

    1. We haven’t raised prices in a year, unlike the rest of the world, even though rice has doubled in price, tuna is up 30% and salmon 25% etc

    2. We set up My Yushi, it’s like a coffee card for sushi, basically a 10% discount without all the hassle usually associated with this kind of thing, you should try it

    About our maki rolls:

    1. the weird tubes are actually designed to become a convenient little plate if your eating back at your desk

    2. the salmon and tuna we use is absolute Grade A, even in the makis, the expensive stuff that comes from the same suppliers as the top sushi restaurants, it comes in every day, sometimes twice a day, fresh, never frozen

    3. the comparison to “other pre-packaged sushi” is unfair. check our products out, do you see a “packaged on” date? we make EVERYTHING fresh in the store throughout the day, not the day before at some factory in Queens

    our Bentos never sit unsold for more than a couple of hours from when they are made, we throw them out otherwise, there’s even a time stamp on them, this way we keep things super fresh

    so whilst technically pre-packaged, our format is more about being super convenient for our guests than mass production

    did you also know that all the salads, sauces and dressings are made by hand at the store everyday?

    our biggest mistake? not having an open kitchen so everybody can see what goes on, we’ll fix that next time!

    If you like a very filling lunch you might try the chicken teriyaki bento (we’re soon to add sweet miso and satay to this range) as they fall well under the $10 price point.

    Watch this space for a few impossibly delicious new menu items we are soon to launch.

    Cheers

    Luke

  • “our Bentos never sit unsold for more than a couple of hours from when they are made, we throw them out otherwise, there’s even a time stamp on them, this way we keep things super fresh”

    Can I have the bentos you’re throwing out? Maybe 1/2 off if I buy them after the 2 hour limit :-)

  • I missed your original entries until now and now I want to try this place thought a bit far from the office….

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    The truth of the matter is anywhere you go in the area it is expensive , besides that they have decent sushi there although I’m not sure the “convenient” package is PVC free but that’s beside the point. I’ll give you one good reason to never step foot in this place ever and that is the owner(which now I know is named Luke fryer) is the biggest a hole I have ever seen. Once while I was at yushi I witnessed what was the most embarrassing tirade unleashed on a staff , this man turned insanely red And I swear I saw steam coming out of his ears. I felt terrible this manager(which I thought at the time) would treat people this way, I was going to contact the owner so asked the cashier of the name and title of the asshole in question and much to my surprise it WAS the owner. Then I see his defensive pompous post here and it just confirms how full of himself he is and how he only cares about profit(which I guess is why he is in the business) So if anyone here has ever had that asshole boss they didn’t like take a stand against yushi this man doesn’t deserve to earn a penny for the way he treats people. Cheers to all hope you find this post helful

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