Fishy Follies

The real bargain sushi in Minnesota isn't in grocery stores; it's hiding in plain sight

 

Dear Dara,

Well, Barry and I took your advice. We made our own sushi and as you predicted the rice was the toughest part. Here's what else we found out:

More nigiri for your dollar: Nami's sushi platter
Kathy Easthagen
More nigiri for your dollar: Nami's sushi platter

Location Info

Map

United Noodles

2015 E. 24th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Category: Restaurant > Noodle Shop

Region: Uptown/ Eat Street

 

Homemade
Prep time: One hour
Cost: $26 for 20 pieces, plus lots of leftover frozen Unagi
Taste: Only fair, because of the bad rice

Grocery Store
Prep time: None
Cost: $30 (3 x $9.95) for about 24 pieces
Taste: Only fair, because, well, it's grocery-store sushi

Combo platter from Midori's Floating World Café, our local sushi joint
Prep time: None
Cost: $30.00 for 10 pieces of nigiri and a roll
Taste: Great!

So we got the most food when we made the sushi ourselves, it took the least amount of time to do grocery-store sushi, and it tasted the best to do Midori takeout. Now if we could just combine all three!

 

Dear Jessica and Barry,

Because I am loath to put anything in my column that I haven't experienced myself, I went out and replicated your experiences. And I have to applaud you for true, core thriftiness! I ended up spending $70 at United Noodles, but then again, I splurged on ridiculous Japanese sodas, one of which is called Miss Parlor and is festooned with a raindrop-peach-head character wearing a garment of pointed leaves. It's cuter than kittens. For my 70 dollars, however, I also ended up with miso soup for the year.

I also ordered both chirashi sushi and a big sushi combo dinner meal as takeout from both Nami, in downtown Minneapolis, and Midori's Floating World, on East Lake Street. I ordered them late Friday afternoon, telling the order takers that I wanted to pick up the meals at a specific time, on my way home from work. Both restaurants had the takeout ready to go on the dot when they said they would, and while I ended up spending more than you did, I also got the full meals at both, which netted me two lovely miso soups and two fresh green salads, along with enough sushi to feel very full.

My total bill? $45.19 at Nami for a $17.95 chirashi sushi dinner and a $19.95 sushi platter of one tuna roll and 10 nigiri pieces, which are those long slices of fish on top of a finger of molded rice. And $41.14 at Midori's, for a $15.95 chirashi sushi and their biggest $22.95 sushi "Jo" platter, with 10 pieces of nigiri, a California roll, and a tuna roll.

I don't really want to use this space to talk about the various merits or demerits in my takeout boxes, but I will point out that both had a few gems (great hotate, that raw sea scallop, from Nami, and excellent mackerel from Midori's) as well as a few ho-hum pieces. However, the rice was flawless, the convenience delightful, and the fish in both better than any grocery-store sushi I've ever had and, considering the volume, not a drop more expensive.

I guess that in this, the latest stage of capitalism, it is one thing to control the means of production, but quite another to do it well. And I suppose it's yet another thing entirely to penny-pinch your sushi, and enjoy it too.

 

UNITED NOODLES, 2015 E. 24th St., Minneapolis, 612.721.6677; www.unitednoodles.com. SURDYK'S, 303 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 612.379.3232; www.surdyks.com. MIDORI'S FLOATING WORLD CAFÉ, 3011 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612.721.3011; www.floatingworldcafe.com. NAMI, 251 First Ave. N., Minneapolis, 612.333.1999; www.namisushi.com.

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