First Look at Sushi-teria: Good Food, or Just a Gimmick?

We recently received a tip from Lunch’er “Victor” alerting us to a new sushi place that popped up in the atrium of the Citi Building on 53rd and Lex. But this isn’t just any old neighborhood sushi joint. Here, all orders are placed on iPads! I know what you’re thinking. “Sure, that’s pretty cool, but is the food any good?” ┬áLet’s take a look:

The menus on the iPads are easily navigable and it’s pretty simple to place your order and pay without ever actually having to interact with a human (although there was someone walking around helping if you are unfamiliar with using an iPad).

Most of their sushi is offered in “maki bite” form, which is fancy lingo for a single piece of a sushi roll. These cost $1 to $1.20 depending on the variety, and you can mix and match so you don’t have to get a whole roll of a single kind. So, that comes out to $6 for a standard six-piece tuna roll, which is quite a bit more than the usual $4 to $5 I’m used to spending. I realized quickly that I wasn’t going to get out of here for under $10 with a satisfying lunch. I ended up choosing six Maki Bites and an order of gyoza, for a grand total of $12.63 including tax.

It was a paltry amount of food for the money, but I just couldn’t bring myself to spend any more on my meal. I had an order of 5 pork gyoza ($5), 4 salmon-avocado maki bites ($1.15 apiece), and 2 yellowtail maki bites ($1 each). I didn’t mean to get so many salmon-avocado ones, but I took too long playing with the iPad and perusing the menu and forgot I had already ordered it. Whoops.

The pork gyoza were pan-fried, with a crispy bottom, delicate skins, and very flavorful pork filling. They came with a slightly spicy soy dipping sauce that had a strong lime flavor, unexpected but enjoyable. The maki bites were actually very good. I was glad to see there was plenty of fish inside, more than your usual “lunch special” sushi roll. The avocado was ripe, the rolls were well-constructed, and the fish all tasted very fresh.

Sushi-teria is definitely in splurge territory as it is all but impossible to get out of there for under $10. The food is good and the people are very nice, but $1 or more for a single bite of sushi is just painful to pay. It’s unfortunate, but I won’t be replacing my regular go-to sushi lunch special with this place anytime soon.

The + (What someone who likes this place would say)

  • iPads! Cool!
  • There is lots of fish in the rolls, I’m tired of getting a bunch of rice with a teeny piece of fish in the middle.
  • I work in the Citi Building and this place is super convenient.

The – (What someone who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • I don’t care how much fish there is in there, these Maki Bites are just way too expensive.
  • Why do I need to mess with this iPad, can’t I just tell someone my order?
  • Did I mention it’s expensive?

Sushi-teria, Citigroup Building Atrium, 601 Lexington Ave (btw. 52 + 53rd), (212) 355-2229

15 Comments

  • so not a Midtown Lunch

  • Please leave the CES out of my food.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Anna: Where is your regular go-to sushi lunch special from?

    {MidtownLunch readers would like to know}

    • My go-to is Umi Sushi, but it’s out of bounds on 56th btw 1st and 2nd which is why I haven’t written it up yet!

      • User has not uploaded an avatar

        Thank you!

        Since you are in the area, for Chinese, you might want to check out Land of Plenty in the old Mia Dona space on 58th btw 2nd and 3rd. Not really midtown lunch since most lunch items are priced at $9, but good food.

      • Awesome, I’ll check it out! Thanks for the heads up.

  • It seems gimmicky unless people don’t mind buying by the piece to try them out/ snack on. Too expensive to get full-on sushi lunch here. Eat less than 10 pieces and drink lots of tea perhaps will do the trick.

    What are their lunch specials like? At least 3 of them are listed below $10 before taxes.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    @joer and Anna:

    Robert from Fork in the Road just reviewed Land of Plenty (but dinner menu) for this week’s restaurant review. Apparently, the spiciness isn’t foresaken for American taste.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    The place is great! I would rather spend a bit more for quality and cleanliness…….ESPECIALLY when it comes to sushi. If you wanna save money on sushi, go buy it at a convenience store and take your chances- you’ll end up spending the saved money on diarrhea medication. Anyway, the yellowfin and shrimp tempura Mali bites are my favorite. A+

    • User has not uploaded an avatar

      robbo-lunch-guy: Thank you for signing up here and providing feedback. If you didn’t read the review or all of the comments before posting, you should. Nobody here except for you mentioned buying sushi from a “convenience store”. There are multiple options in midtown with similar quality for less money and Anna was nice enough to let us know where she goes.

      I like the convenience of placing my order at the Sushi-teria store. I feel that the iPads are a gimmick, but none the less convenient.

  • I checked this place out last week. The food is on the lower end of quality range. It’s better than Duane Reed sushi, but not much. I ordered 5 roll pieces and 3 pieces of sushi. It tasted pre-made because there was a chill in it. The sushi pieces were slightly on the small side. One of the rolls pieces had a very chewy item in it. The bill came out to $16 with a bottle of water.

    I am not a fan of midtown sushi and this place didn’t change my opinion.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    That’s really awesome. I would love to visit this place, as I found this food menu very interesting just like Jack’s sliders and sushi restaurant at lower east side of New York.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I like this place the sushi food is not too bad but the taste not as good as compared to other restaurants like Jack’s sliders and sushi.

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