Sushi delivered in the Delhi heat?
Call me brave, call me foolish, but I called myself desperate to bite into rolls of raw fish and crunchy vegetables, packed in rice, dipped into soy sauce and wasabi, topped with sliced ginger. The only foods I’ve missed more from the US are bagels and pizza. So, hearing about the new Sushiya: The Sushi Shop, I placed an order.
To boost my expertise and keep me honest, I invited a few friends, including a long-time Japanese-American journalist friend and another American who has lived in Japan for the last 17 years. The former is leaving India and the latter just arrived; a menu promising “the bourgeoisie and elitist face of sushi will change forever in Delhi” seemed quite an appropriate welcome and farewell dinner all in one.
We ordered two sets off the vegetarian menu, mixes of asparagus, avocado, spinach and cucumber rolls. Then four sets off the non-vegetarian, red tuna, smoked salmon, prawns and squid—a mix of rolls (where the seafood is inside) and nigiri (where the seafood sits atop the rice).
If you plan to order, order early—the operator says it will take 1 ½ hours, but our order arrived just after the two-hour mark. The delivery guy assured me it had been in a cooler in his car, although he took the plastic boxes out of a tattered leather briefcase that looked like it also held legal papers. As he turned to leave, I reminded him of the chopsticks. Sushi without chopsticks, after all, is like eating a paratha without your fingers.
The good stuff
As Steve, the American, said: “Tastes like takeout sushi, but the real test comes in 12-18 hours.” Well, it’s been that much time—and I am pleased to report I am just fine.
That’s the best thing I can say about this sushi. Also, the presentation was very nice, (“well-formed,” pronounced Steve), reminiscent of the sushi I used to buy at a New York supermarket. The tuna, a little soft, still tasted fresh and yummy, as did the shrimp nigiri. But overall, taste was definitely not the forte here, novelty was.
The smoked salmon nigiri was cut too flat, tasting like it belonged on the bagels of my dreams. The rolls seemed all rice, overcooked and soft at that, with just an ungenerous sliver of fish or vegetable inside.
There were little of the fancy options of sushi I love—spicy or crunchy, dragon rolls to spider rolls, red roe or mixtures of veg and non-veg. There were too few soy sauce or wasabi packets. It was, sadly, boring sushi. It tasted about as good as some of the sushi I’ve had at art openings and wedding receptions. I guess it tasted like, well, takeout sushi.
Each vegetarian set is priced at Rs250, non-veg between Rs270 and Rs370. The party packs on offer ranged from Rs1,050 to Rs1,350. I didn’t try this latter option, but I suspect that will fuel this business.
Sushiya’s concoctions might not sit well with the Delhi elite’s palate—but the coolness of having sushi at a party, somewhere between the pad thai and the pasta station, might drive orders. If I were the host, I’d wait for winter, just to be safe. Can’t wait? Call 93124 44086 to order.