For just 300 yen, you can try some of Japan’s most luxurious sushi ingredients, but is it worth it?

Sushi is, of course, one of Japan’s delicacies, and if you want to sample really good sushi, naturally you might want to go to a world-famous restaurant like Jiro’s or Sushi Dai. But if you’re not able to get on the year-long waiting list or willing to stand in line for two or more hours, another great option is to visit a conveyor belt sushi restaurant like Kappa Sushi.

Kappa Sushi and other rotation sushi chains have a tiered pricing system for the menu, denoted by the color of the plates that pass by on the belt, but everything is generally very affordable. At Kappa, for example, they used to have the most popular kinds of sushi for just 50 yen (US$0.45) apiece, which is a great way for beginners to get a taste of everything without spending a lot. But what you really have to try is the fancy stuff, particularly their newest limited-edition menu items: the high quality “Three-layer Tsukami-sushi”.

Tsukami-sushi is like nigiri sushi, but it comes with a sheet of nori seaweed that you wrap around it. Made up of caviar, sea urchin, and fatty tuna or spiny-backed crab, all piled on a bed of rice, these two luxurious varieties cost just 300 yen ($2.68) in spite of their expensive ingredients. But at a rotating sushi chain, is it really worth trying these fancy sushi if they’re so cheap? We just had to find out, in the name of journalism, of course.

As it turns out, these aren’t the first of Kappa Sushi’s tsukami-sushi, actually; they’re the fifth pair in a series that started last August, and which all feature different kinds of high quality seafood and fish roe. The star of these two tsukami-sushi, however, is the caviar, which is made from lumpsucker fish eggs. It’s the first time Kappa Sushi has ever offered black caviar on their menu!

So without further ado, let’s dive right into the flavor of the sushi, starting with the variety that comes with extra fatty tuna, or otoro. First of all, we were super impressed to see that the sushi itself looks almost exactly as advertised! The otoro tuna is also cut nice and long, so it extends past the rice, so the tuna-to-rice ratio is good, and it doesn’t look like they were being stingy with the sea urchin or the caviar, either. 

The seaweed also looked like good quality seaweed. Apparently, it was from the first batch of the Reiwa period harvested from the Ariake Sea off the coast of Kyushu. It felt very crunchy and fresh, which is just what we like to see.

Now, the proper way to eat tsukami-sushi is to drop a dash of soy sauce on it, then wrap it up in the seaweed from the top down and take a bite.

When you bite into Kappa Sushi’s three-layer tsukami-sushi with fatty tuna, the fat from the otoro just melts in your mouth and has a delightfully rich flavor. After that comes the unique taste of the sea urchin and the ocean flavor of the seaweed. As a whole it’s super delicious! However, we did feel that the taste of the urchin and the caviar were a little drowned out by the seaweed and the fatty tuna. The caviar, especially, disappeared from the flavor profile, even though it stood out visually on the sushi.

On to the second kind of tsukami-sushi available: the one with spiny-backed crab.

There definitely appeared to be plenty of crab meat to enjoy…but would it overwhelm the flavor of the caviar?

We first did a taste test without the seaweed, and the caviar did have a distinct flavor and a good texture. Sadly, however, we once again didn’t think it stood out much when it was eaten together with the seaweed.

All in all, however, we think 300 yen for each of these tsukami-sushi is well worth the price! These are generally very expensive ingredients, and especially considering that, at some conveyor belt sushi restaurants you might find otoro sushi by itself for 300 yen, this is a great deal. And even though all of the flavors didn’t come out as strongly as we might have liked, the combined flavors were fantastic anyway, so if you like quality sushi, definitely check this out!

These will be on the menu at Kappa Sushi until March 1, or until supplies last, so if you’re interested, get there sooner rather than later! And don’t forget to apply to get free all-you-can-eat sushi at Kappa Sushi…because who doesn’t want free sushi?

Top image: Kappa Sushi
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