Shinjuku Fulfills Need For Cheap Ass Sushi
I’ve been on the lookout for cheap sushi downtown that doesn’t come from a grocery store…or Duane Reade. So when I grabbed a menu from the gritty-looking Shinjuku on Church St. (at Park Place), I got all kinds of excited to discover they had a lunch special that was pretty damn inexpensive at two rolls plus salad or soup for $7.25. Clearly this was worth investigating.I’m not sure why, but sushi is just expensive downtown. It’s like every place thinks everyone’s on an expense account and wants to spend $15 or more on lunch. Previously, the cheapest I’d seen was at Jubilee Market where rolls are about $4, but every other place charges at least $6 or $7 for a roll that doesn’t contain the word “California.”
Shinjuku is not much to look at from the outside, and when you step in, it’s literally one room with a counter at the sushi bar, and another along the opposite wall. Needless to say, most people get their lunch to go.
They actually have a fairly extensive selection of rolls for the lunch special. They also have some sushi and sashimi combos for between $7 and $9. Or if you’re in more of a teriyaki mood, you can get either the salmon or chicken varieties for just under $10.
For my two rolls I chose eel with cucumber, and yellowtail. There are some mystery rolls on the list like the “Cook” or “Boston” or the exotic “orange California.”
And since it was a steamy 95 degrees out, I went for salad over soup. It’s huge chunks of iceberg lettuce with the standard Japanese restaurant dressing (which was hiding under the cucumber). Eating this with chopsticks in a park was entertaining.
The clear winner of the two rolls was the yellowtail. This is not mind-blowing sushi, but I appreciate that I saw them make it fresh when for this price they easily could have phoned it in and just had a bunch of pre-made rolls in a refrigerated case. I couldn’t even taste the eel in the other roll due to the sweet sauce over the top, but maybe that’s for the best.
Overall, the prices can’t be beat, and if you want to go slightly over the $10 limit, you can add a third roll for $2.95. If you’re a sushi snob, you may want to avoid this place, but then again you probably also wouldn’t be reading Midtown Lunch for food suggestions.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- You can get two rolls for $7.25, which classifies as dirt cheap.
- They make the rolls to order instead of grabbing them from a fridge.
- You can get a sushi and sashimi lunch for under $10.
THE — (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- It’s small and kind of dirty. I’d rather pay more for classiness.
- The rolls are kind of small.
- At these prices, where are they getting their fish?
Shinjuku, 105 Church St. (at Park Place), (212) 406-3333 or 7333