This week we were taken by a Japanese friend to dine at Sushiro / スシロー, one of Japan's heavy hitters in the sushi train chain ... game. We included it in our Weekly Expense series here.
Normally our friend would turn their nose up at the prospect of 100 yen sushi, but apparently Sushiro does something better than other such fish on rice for 100 yen operations. To be brutally honest, we haven't a clue what that is, and furthermore, probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between 100 yen sushi or the 30,000 yen menus that graced the palate of Barack Obama at Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo.
We do know when the boundaries start being pushed and sushi stops being sushi, and becomes a bit of something else lumped atop a bite-sized ball of rice. Our friend wouldn't touch em, so we did. Let’s call the following Western Style Sushi, for want of a better term
From the 軍艦・巻物 (gunkan / makimono) menu
I reckon my dad would like this. Blunt working class balls of meat, but with a seaweed wrapping to add a flavoring of The East. Personally, it was a bit heavy, and I like my meatballs with a bit more heat.
Dolce Pork Grilled Bacon (ドルチェポルコ炙りベーコン）aka, bacon!
Comedian Louis CK once made a joke about life being so great because you get to eat bacon. Or maybe he wasn't joking. I'm not sure how the locals feel about this interpretation of their beloved cuisine, though. Maybe they struggle to see the funny side. Or the tasty side. Still, it is on the menu, so there must be some demand for it. Nicer than the meatballs.
Grilled Salmon with Basil Cheese (炙りサーモンバジルチーズ)
For those that like their fish ... cooked, and with something to take away the taste of fish. Worked well, I thought, although the cheese/basil combo is a little weighty if you're trying to squeeze in the plates. There's a shrimp version, too.
A nice halfway house this one. The raw fish component is there in the form of the shrimp but it's buried beneath the heavy comfort of avocado, onion and a tonne of mayonnaise.
Sushi Dog (すしドッグ)
A limited time only menu. Perhaps a good thing as the combination of rice, seaweed and weener didn't really get on for us. Still, one has to take some delight in what must be the most bare-faced deformation of sushi character, so to speak. Fun to roll up though! We've included pictures to help.
Honorable mentions should go out to the Grilled Chicken Steak (若鶏グリルステーキ), Corn (コーン).
All of the above dishes are 100 yen (plus tax) apiece.
Getting served at Sushiro is simple enough. Take a ticket from the automated machines and wait to be seated. The touch-screen menus have an English option if you want to make orders, otherwise just pick something off the track. If you do order, a little tune will play when your dish approaches. When you're done, wait staff will come over to 'measure' how many dishes you've consumed. Pay your bill at the door. The tea is free. If you're wondering where the wasabi is, it comes around the track in little packets. Help yourself.
Let us know what Western Style Sushi you've spotted in Japan
For more about the cost of sushi in Japan ...