U-Sushi Promises Robots, Delivers Surprisingly Fun Lunch
I was promised there would be robots. Sushi making robots. It’s pretty much the only thing that would draw me to Beverly Hills for sushi, arguably the worst place in the city if you’re on the hunt for a raw fish bargain. But money is not an issue when robots are involved, and clearly my cheesy robot movies of the 80s filled brain needed to see this maki making machine in action. I mean, are we talking a set of John Lithgow powered robotic arms handling raw fish in a sealed glass case like it was plutonium, Manhattan Project Style. Or was this going to be some kind of love-able Johnny Number 5 type machine, making corny jokes as he rolls my spicy tuna roll. (I do seem to remember him mentioning sushi in one of my favorite lines of the movie. Salmon to be precise.)
Sadly the “robot” looked more like a woodchipper than the Terminator, a headless, armless, legless Wall-E of sorts, minus the personality of course. In fact, the robot portion of the show consists of a metal box that spreads rice onto a pice of seaweed before your roll gets assembled by an organic, sentient being. There’s a second, smaller box at the end of the assembly line that cuts your roll if you want it cut. But calling that a robot would be like calling a hard boiled egg slicer a computer. I quickly came to the realization that the talk of robots was just PR overindulgence meant to sucker people like me into visiting U-Sushi in Beverly Hills, and it worked. Surprisingly, though, even without any A.I. I still managed to piece together a pretty fun and delicious lunch.
U-Sushi employs the assembly method of ordering, which is great until you get stuck behind that guy who can’t decide whether he wants spicy tuna and shrimp tempura, shrimp tempura and eel, or eel and spicy tuna. (On that day, this indecisive fatso was me.) You get the choice of seaweed or rice paper as a wrapper, which gets a layer of rice flattened on top thanks to headless Wall-E. Get one fish in your roll it’s $7.50, two fish is $9.50.
Once you chose your fish(es) you get up to three veggies, which include standard fare like avocado and cucumber, alongside not so standard fillings like asparagus, carrots, egg, cilantro and mango. But the best part is the freebies, which include fish eggs (tobiko), sesame seeds, and tempura flakes (yes please!)
I balked at the price at first, but the 8 piece rolls turned out to be a bit fatter and longer than the standard fast food sushi rolls. Not quite at sushi burrito size, but almost there.
And for an extra few bucks you can make it a combo by adding a drink, miso soup, udon, edamame, or seaweed salad (you choose any two of three) all of which are better than your average take out lunchtime sushi spot. Even with just one sushi roll, the combo turns out to be a nice size lunch for a decent price.
The fish is all pretty standard (tuna, salmon, eel, yellowtail, shrimp tempura, crab salad, spicy tuna) and the display in the front makes it less than appetizing, but for cheap sushi it’s not too bad. And the fact that the rolls are made to order ensures that the texture of the rice is optimal. But mostly it’s just a lot of fun.
I liked that they offer rice paper as a wrapping and egg (tamago) as a filling. And one can never underestimate the power of free fish eggs and tempura flakes. Even if there isn’t a robot sprinkling them onto your roll.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- Finally, I can create the frankenrolls I’ve always dreamed about. Shrimp tempura and eel with avocado, egg and jalapeno? Plus fish eggs and extra tempura flakes? Done and done.
- It’s a little expensive (especially if you go for the two fish rolls) but they’re definitely longer and fatter than your average take out sushi rolls.
- I like that there’s not too much rice.
- Everything is made to order, so it’s much fresher than the places that pre make and pre package everything.
- I like that you can add two side dishes to any roll for just a couple of bucks.
- So much better than a lot of the Beverly Hills lunch options on that street!
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- This place is great and fast until you get stuck behind an indecisive orderer.
- The tempura flakes are great in theory, but their crunch is loss by the time you eat your roll.
- $7.50 is too much for a sushi roll! My local sushi restaurant makes them for less, and it’s better quality.
- There’s no way you’re getting out of this place for less than $10.
- There’s something kind of gross about their sushi display. (Maybe it’s the spicy tuna in squeeze tubes?!)
- I was promised robots and dag nabbit I want some damn robots!
U-Sushi, 168 S. Beverly Dr. Beverly Hills. 310-777-7655