A Guide to All You Can Eat Sushi
All-you-can-eat sushi is an experience every person must have at least once (but preferably many times) in his or her life. For Tufts students, the best option in terms of proximity and price is Nijiya Sushi. Located in Medford square, an easy 20 minute walk from campus (or a five minute bus ride on the outbound 94 if you’re feeling lazy), Nijiya Sushi offers all-you-can-eat lunch deals for $13.99 and dinner deals for $21.99. If you plan on heading over quite hungry and ready to dig in, you will get far more than you paid for. This experience is not about savoring the intricate flavors of exquisitely fresh and creative sushi pieces but rather about eating as much as you can of as many different rolls and dishes as possible. It’s all about getting the bang for your buck while fulfilling that unrelenting sushi craving. Without further ado, here is your handy guide to the do’s and don’ts of all you can eat sushi.
Do: go with an appetite.
If you are going to all-you-can-eat sushi, you have to have your game face on. This is a test of determination and endurance. Come with a (mostly) empty stomach and a hankering for sushi. But be careful – they will charge you double for uneaten food, so be mindful of how much you can actually consume and don’t be wasteful! It’s better to underestimate, as the waiters continuously bring you new menus so you can always order more.
Don’t: go when you’re absolutely starving.
It may sound like a good idea, but it’s not. If you’re overly ravenous, you’ll shovel sushi down your gullet at light speed and get destroyed within the first ten minutes. It’s all about the long game. Plus, you’ll appreciate the food more if you’re not so focused on quenching your hunger. Consider a light salad or some fruit a couple hours before the meal. This will get your digestion system up and running and will allow you get off on a running start.
Do: mix up your orders.
One of the best features of Nijiya’s deal is that you can order limitless quantities of not only sushi, but also appetizers, noodles, soups, salads, teriyaki dishes, katsu, and more. You should definitely take time to try out the gyoza, tempura, and shrimp shumai, and I also recommend keeping an order of edamame on the table as a delicious pallet cleanser between orders. In my opinion, avoid the teriyaki dishes. I tried the teriyaki salmon and was not impressed with the sauce, as it somehow managed to be simultaneously watery, sticky, and flavorless. The katsu was not bad, if a bit dry. However, I was quite impressed with their seaweed salad – it was very fresh, and after trying almost everything, it came out as one of my favorite options on the menu. Switching up textures is a great idea: alternate between raw, crunchy, and cooked rolls and dishes. Mixing up your orders will keep the meal exciting and allow you to take full advantage of the meal deal.
Don’t: expect the highest quality sushi.
There is simply no way Nijiya could stay in business if they offered the highest-grade sushi. That said, the salmon sashimi is still worth a few orders. I’d avoid the hand rolls (not too exciting, a bit soggy), and focus on the makimono (sushi rolls). In particular, the rainbow roll and dragon rolls were quite good. The rainbow roll was very generous with avocado, and the dragon roll’s fried sweet potato gave it a deliciously warm, crunchy texture and sweetness. The quality is not top-notch, but it is more than acceptable and the menu is diverse enough that everyone is guaranteed to find something tasty.
Do: continue to order the group’s favorite.
For whatever reason, my crew could not stop ordering the shrimp shumai. It wasn’t a particularly well-done version, but it fit the group’s needs: warm, fried, tasty, addicting. It came through for us in times of doubt. If we were faltering, the question of “one more shrimp shumai?” was always met with an emphatic “yes!” If you find a similar reliable fallback dish, don’t be afraid to run with it.
Don’t: rush. You must pace yourself.
I know all-you-can-eat sushi is exciting, but don’t get ahead of yourself. Pacing yourself will allow you to better enjoy the food and try a wider range of dishes. Also, take note of the free refills on hot tea and fountain drinks.
Do: take this opportunity to order something new.
Try not to get hung up on one classic dish. This is a chance for you to try that one sushi roll you always consider but never choose. Expand your horizons! The world is your oyster unagi.