Service Entrance Hole-in-the-Walls — The Kosher Sushi Edition

The last thing you’d want a sushi place to be is sketchy AND cheap. I’ve been eyeing Sushi Fussion for a good half year since it opened, wondering if I would end up in ER from food poisoning, but sometimes you just gotta take one for the team, and that’s where the best stories come from.

I’ve walked by this restaurant’s sign (a simple flag) SO many times, but never bothered to check it out since I get sick of everyone around me wanting sushi ALL the time, even in this polar vortex weather! Can’t say the hidden entrance really helps, either.

trash alley

How sketch is this place? You enter thru a half open dumpster entrance that’s flanked by their signage. Hidden in the dark, just to the right, is a door with a small Sushi Fussion sign, which leads to a flight of stairs.

sushi lantern

A tiny red lantern, with “sushi” written on it, dangles at the top of the stairs, assuring you that you’re headed in the right direction. Definitely doesn’t give confidence that the place is authentic Japanese. Then again, even the name incorporates misspelled “fusion”. To the left of the landing is the store front — a door leading to the bustling operation in the kitchen, and a window for ordering and pickup, all plastered with bright posters of their rolls. An “A” rating displayed promininently next to the kitchen door is the first sign to give any confidence in the joint. None of that C-rating-obscured-in-the-bottom-corner business here.

kitchen and order window bright photos

If the mini scavenger hunt wasn’t odd enough for you, a man wearing a yamaka, that small Jewish cap, greets you at the window. On the counter of the window are boxes to donate to different Jewish community organizations. Maybe it’s not your first Kosher sushi experience, but definitely a first for me! If you’re a Japanese purist, you should have turned around a long time ago, but I can’t help but wonder. The large photos of their rolls look delicious in the creative way, a mishmash of colors, sauces, textures. Even their menu of rolls is organized by cooked, purple rice, vegetarian/fruit, and fish. If you get choice paralysis, you might want to check out the menu online before coming here. The lack of heat/air conditioning might hurry you along, though.

order window CU

I’m here for the 2 Roll Combo at $8.95, advertised on their sidewalk board. Most places, you can only get California rolls or a few simple choices. Here? You have 50 rolls to choose from for the combo! I’ll admit that when I opened the bag, I was a bit disappointed with the size of the rolls, though Asura’s across the street is the same. It managed to just fill me up in the end. However, if you choose your rolls carefully, you may manage to put together a larger meal. (I’m a fan of the Cherry Blossom, Canary, and Rock ā€˜nā€™ Roll so far.) Or add $2 to get a larger Fussion roll included. All Specials come with a beverage (soda, Snapples, etc.) And bring cash! You’ll get 10% off the price.

2 roll lunch special

And the food itself? Solid! I definitely didn’t end up in ER. The avocados were ripe, the cucumbers crunchy, the rice fresh, not cloyingly sweet. And most importantly, the fish tasted fresh. Of course with all the toppings piled on, how can you really tell? Simple nigiris are included within ML budget in the Combo Lunch Special for those that want to REALLY taste test the freshness. It took less than 10 minutes to prepare our walk-in orders while a steady stream of regulars picked up their phone orders. Safe to say the regulars don’t get sick, either.

My coworker went for the Zodiac Lunch, above ML budget at $13.95, like most of their menu. However, the cashier suggested it as best bang for your buck. This special gave the option of more creative (and pretty!) rolls, piled up with toppings. The last 4 pieces looked like a struggle to finish, so this one would fill anyone up. I should have stolen a piece or two…

Zodiac Lunch with coke

If you want to go beyond budget and also get adventurous with your palate, they have a sushi pizza, flatbread topped with sashimi. Not sure how I feel about eating my raw fish with bread, but maybe I’ll be bored enough one day after trying their bazillion types of rolls.

sushi pizza flatbread nigiri

As a barebones operation with the worst entrance/location, Sushi Fussion overcomes it all with quality and creativity. Just don’t expect authentic Japanese food, and you’ll enjoy your unorthodox, yet quintessential New York lunch.

The + (moar toppings!)
+ 2 roll Lunch Special under $10
+ More rolls and ingredients than your usual sushi lunch special
+ Mini scavenger hunt to find the place
+ 10% off if pay by cash
+ NYC melting pot at its finest

The – (How is this authentic? Where are the Japanese?!)
- odd mix of ingredients in sushi
- most menu items above $10 budget
- no place to sit
- no heating/air-conditioning

Sushi Fussion, 224 West 35th Street, 646-476-5246

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