10 ways to enjoy sushi, sweets, and sake at one of Japan’s favorite revolving sushi restaurant chains.

In Japan, you don’t have to go very far or spend very much money to have a great meal. As proof, last month we assembled a panel of SN24 reporters and sent them to Saizeria, Japan’s favorite inexpensive Italian restaurant chain, where they each put together a mouthwatering array of food and drinks for just 1,000 yen (US$7.65).

Today, we’re heading to another budget-friendly restaurant that’s kind to the taste buds too: Sushiro, one of the most popular kaiten sushi (revolving sushi) chains in Japan. Same rules as last time: a strict budget of 1,000 yen, and no two people can choose the same combination of items.

Let’s see what they came up with (as always, the names of these sets are made up by our reporters, so you’ll have to order the items individually if you want to recreate them for yourself).

P.K. Sanjun’s Have-It-All Perfect Set (1,000 yen)

● Tuna (2 plates, 120 yen each)
● Negitoro (minced tuna with green onion) (120 yen)
● Shiojime iwashi (salted sardine) (120 yen)
● Kakeudon (160 yen)
● French fries (130 yen)
● Mini chocolate parfait (230 yen)

OK, so P.K.’s selections are all over the place, without much in the way of a defining theme except for the fact that this is a set for the person who wants it all. He doubled up on tuna since it’s a type of sushi that Sushiro does especially well, and the kake udon (the simplest udon noodles on the menu) are a cost-effective way to satisfy a big appetite.

In recent years, many revolving sushi restaurants have branched out into side items from outside the boundaries of traditional Japanese food, and like many members of our team, P.K.’s French fry cravings are constant. Add in a sweet dessert to cap the meal, and this covers all of his eating-related ambitions.

Ahiruneko’s Sushiro Senbero Set (960 yen)

● Sake (480 yen)
● Ankimo (monkfish liver) (180 yen)
● Tara shirako (cod milt) (180 yen)
● Maguro yukke (tuna with egg yolk) (120 yen)

As SoraNews24’s top tippler, you can always count on Ahiruneko to work some sort of alcoholic beverage into his meal budget, so his plan was to put together a Sushiro senbro (1,000-yen drink and side snack session). To that end, he spent almost half of his allotted funds on a bottle of Nihonsakari-brand sake from Hyogo Prefecture, and since sake is non-carbonated and meant to be sipped, he could enjoy his drink at a leisurely pace

Even Ahiruneko’s sushi choices are in service of his senbero goals. They’re all gunkan-style sushi, in which the diced, chopped, or scooped ingredients are placed atop the rice and encircled with seaweed. Usually you pop the whole piece into your mouth, but instead Ahiruneko used his chopsticks to pick up a bit of the toppings at a time, nibbling on them between sips of sake.

Masanuki Sunakoma’s Eat Almost All the Limited-time Items Set (1,000 yen)

● Benizake ikura (sockeye salmon roe) (120 yen)
● Bluefin negotorotsumi (120 yen)
● Large-cut seared salmon (120 yen)
● Mala-style fried shrimp (120 yen)
● Seared chashu pork with green onion (120 yen)
● Yellowtail seasoned with sesame soy sauce (120 yen)
● Salted pork kalbi short ribs (120 yen)
● Kake udon (160 yen)

Japan loves limited-time menu items, either because their ingredients are seasonal or because they’re innovations that might be too bold for most people to eat at every meal. Masanuki wasn’t about to let his chance to try them slip away, so he used his entire budget on non-permanent parts of the Sushiro menu, with the exception of the udon noodles.

The result was tasty and timely, but with the mentally bittersweet sensation of knowing that he’s still going to be craving some of these items even after they’re no longer available.

Mariko Ohanabatake’s Mixed Japanese and Western Sweets Paradise of My Dreams Set (980 yen)

● Strawberry and Berry Spring Parfait (420 yen)
● Vanilla ice cream (130 yen)
● Warabi mochi (130 yen)
● Daigaku imo (130 yen)
● Hot coffee (170 yen)

“To me, Sushiro isn’t a sushi restaurant. It’s a dessert cafe,” declared Mariko as she added dessert after dessert to her set, which even included daigaku imo, a glazed sliced sweet potato confection with a retro appeal to it.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Mariko’s selection is that by combining the vanilla ice, warabi mochi, and daigaku imo, plus a dash of the free green tea powder, she was able to make a second parfait right there at the table.

Just 980 yen for two parfaits and a drink? Maybe Mariko is right about Sushiro really being a dessert cafe.

Yuichiro Wasai’s Set for Enjoying Beer and Sushi (990 yen)

● Draft beer (430 yen)
● Basil cheese shrimp sushi (120 yen)
● Boiled anago (conger eel) (120 yen)
● Tzukemaguro (marinated tuna) (120 yen)
● Miso soup with clams (200 yen)

Yuichiro gets straight to the point with the name of his set. While Ahiruneko opted for sake, Yuichiro is mainly a beer man, and that’s the focal point here.

Unfortunately, Sushiro’s draft beer isn’t especially cheap for its size. So in addition to choosing sushi that he feels pair well with beer, Yuichiro ordered a bowl of miso soup with clams, which not only added an old-school sophisticated touch, but also some extra liquid to help fill him up.

Seiji Nakazawa’s Udon Alchemy Set (1,000 yen)

● Kitsune udon (330 yen)
● Noodle refill (130 yen)
● Ikura (salmon roe) (120 yen)
● Tuna and salmon one-piece-each plate (120 yen)
● Hamachi (yellowtail) (120 yen)
● Uni tsumi (wrapped sea urchin) (180 yen)

Leave it to our staff’s biggest otaku to pick a dramatic-sounding set name. It turns out that he really does have a point, though. Kitsune udon is udon with fried tofu slices. A lot of places only give you two slices per bowl, but Sushiro gives you three. So by initially limiting himself to only eating too, then ordering a refill of noodles…

Seiji can magically create a second bowl of kitsune udon!

Takashi Harada’s Remember Your First Revolving Sushi Meal Set (960 yen)

● Maikamimi squid (3 plates, 120 yen each)
● Bintoro (albacore tuna) (120 yen)
● Bluefin negotorotsumi (120 yen)
● Seared chashu pork with green onion (120 yen)
● Yellowtail seasoned with sesame soy sauce (120 yen)
● Tsubugai and akagai shellfish (120 yen)

“That’s a lot of yellow plates” you might be thinking, and there’s a reason why. At Sushiro, the lowest-priced items come on yellow plates. And why do people come to revolving sushi restaurants? Because in addition to being tasty, they’re also a bargain compared to more traditional sushi restaurants.

So Takashi’s plan wasn’t to get buzzed or satisfy him sweet tooth, but to reacquaint himself with the core appeal of Sushiro and other restaurants of its type.

Yoshio’s Set that Rambunctious Kids Will Love (1,000 yen)

● Benizake ikura (sockeye salmon roe) (120 yen)
● Tuna (120 yen)
● Three-piece salmon plate (180 yen)
● Tsubugai and akagai shellfish (120 yen)
● French fries (130 yen)
● Kakiage udon (330 yen)

Salmon and ikura are broadly popular kinds of sushi, but they’re especially big hits with little kids. Tsubugai and akagai, meanwhile, usually appeal more to more mature diners, but Yoshio says that his two young daughters love them.

Add in some fried food with the French fries and the kakiage mixed tempura disc with the udon noodles, and you’ve got something great for kids and kids-at-heart.

Mr. Sato’s Health-Conscious Salad Set (960 yen)

● Shrimp salad (120 yen)
● Tuna salad (120 yen)
● Sea salad (120 yen)
● Crab-style salad (120 yen)
● Corn (120 yen)
● Pancetta broccoli (120 yen)
● Tarako (cod roe) with mayo (120 yen)
● Minced salmon with takuan pickles (120 yen)

On the surface, Mr. Sato’s selection does indeed seem very healthy. Corn, broccoli, and pickles, plus no fewer than four different kinds of salad!

However, we should point out that in Japanese sushi jargon, “salad” is used in the same way that it is in “potato salad.” In other words, all those “salad” sushi types? They’re pretty much the marque ingredient covered in mayonnaise, so you’ll be eating a lot of mayo in one siting if you follow Mr. Sato’s suggestion. But hey, if you’re a mayo kind of guy, this could be your ticket to a white, creamy paradise.

Go Hatori’s American Diner Set (990 yen)

● Fish and chips (240 yen)
● Iced caffe latte (200 yen)
● Chocolate cookie parfait (330 yen)
● Hokkaido milk crepe (220 yen)

We’ll point out to Go that fish and chips are generally considered more of a British food than American, right after we untangle his logic that “’Sushiro’ sounds like ‘Ichiro,’ and Ichiro was a big success in America, so Sushiro is like an American diner, right?”

In any case, like Mariko, Go completely skipped the sushi at Sushiro this time around. Instead, he went for the bold sweet and salty flavors he associates with greasy spoon diners in the U.S. The result is a delicious meal, though also one that’s pretty heavy.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional eating-out indulgence, especially since Go can make healthy food himself at home, thanks to the recipe he tricked an online scam artist into teaching him.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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