This has become almost the only method to eat sushi in the 21st century. It’s a recession everybody and sushi’s expensive. That’s where #BallinOnABudget comes in handy. Want to eat like a king and not drop top dollar? That’s our credo. And that’s what sushi buffets are for. Now I’m not talking about a place you go into you and they have a few California rolls that have been sitting there for at least an hour. Such a scene makes me sadder a kid living in a trailer park on Christmas. No, I’m talking about a place with a colorful and dazzling display of sushi, complete with signature specialty rolls. And fresh. Has to be fresh. So let me guide you through the top places to get your sushi game on. In New Jersey of course…
Minado, Little Ferry – This list should start and end here, but that would make for a very short blog post. Minado, situated in my glorious hometown and right on Route 46, might not have the best location as far as restaurants go. It’s not much of a looker from the outside, but once you step inside those doors and see the spread awaiting you and your party, you will regret not having been here sooner. A nice selection of cold entrees such as shrimp and crab legs paired with an assortment of salads is usually what I start out with. And then I move my way onto the sushi. They have pretty much every roll you can think of and more, but their specialty is probably the sushi with things like red snapper, squid, octopus, and mackerel to go along with the more traditional salmon, tuna, etc. While their hot entrees are solid, not spectacular, don’t forget to save room for their delicious green tea soft serve ice cream. While it does cost around thirty dollars to get in, after leaving there, I can assure you that you will feel as if that was money well spent. Better to pay thirty bucks and be stuffed than to go somewhere else and pay the same amount to be hungry. Splurge a little when it comes to all you can eat, it’s worth it in the end. You can only pinch pennies so far. They’ll also make handrolls for you if you want. Nom nom nom indeed.
IchiUmi, Edison – You might recognize the name because there is one in New York City. But why go there if you can go to majestic Edison, NJ? I can’t be sure cause I’ve never been to the one in the city, but I imagine the Jersey chapter is a little cheaper. Don’t quote me on that though. It’s around the same price as Minado, but an advantage it has over it is that it’s BYOB, a #BallinOnABudget approved practice. You can roll in with your favorite bottle or six-pack and just go to town. Their hot food leaves a lot to be desired, but we came here for the sushi anyway. How’s that you ask? The selection and quality at Minado is probably a little better, I’d imagine because it gets more traffic, which is crucial when it comes to sushi buffets. IchiUmi, however, has oysters. You’re limited to taking two at a time, but there’s no limit to how many trips you can make to the oyster bar. That’s winning folks. Much nicer looking than Minado too and adjacent to the Menlo Park Mall, it’s a nice option if you live in central Jersey and Fox and Hound doesn’t cut it as a date destination. You’re probably not getting a blowjob anyway, might as well pig out on some seafood.
Sushi X, Ridgewood – Almost didn’t make the list if it wasn’t for my trip yesterday. I dunno what it is, but whenever I go out to eat with my friends at an Asian place, I feel as if we’ve had sex with their sexually deprived mothers with the way they treat us. And I have a good amount of Asian friends. This has always been puzzling to me. Except when I see the amount of food we order. Then, it all makes sense. Kind’ve. See, the last time we went to Sushi X, it was me and four of my friends. And before you ask, yes, some of them were Asian. Anyway, we get there and it’s not a traditional buffet where you go up and get your food. You write down your order on a paper and give it to them, but you can keep asking for more. We went about an hour and a half before close, which is understandably annoying, so they asked us to put it all on one paper. Which we did. But we were hungry, so between the five of us, we ordered somewhere north of 25 rolls, ten or so pieces of sushi, and some sashimi. A lot of food, yes, but we were ready. They asked us if we can finish it, because they charge a la carte prices for whatever sushi you don’t finish. Bring it on, we said. When it came out, I shit you not, two nice sized plates of sushi came out. We were deprived of about half of the sushi we ordered. We counted. They didn’t have faith in us. We were not pleased.
We went again yesterday, just two of us. And we played their game. We ordered in four waves, so we can count the sushi that was coming out. And so that the chefs didn’t have to ask the host for help like they did on our last visit. Properly spaced out, I left there and I can honestly say I was full. Which wasn’t the case the time prior. And, get this: they were nice to us! I made the waitresses do more work, lift more plates, and they were fine with it. I tipped them handsomely and we walked out of there champions.
Great place and about ten bucks cheaper than the above two places. Also, BYOB and they have a hot food all you can eat as well (same system of ordering as the sushi). Just remember, if you go, order in waves. And bringing an Asian never hurts.
Here’s two other sushi places that while they’re not all you can eat, serve discounted sushi certain days out of the week. Or you can order off the regular menu on other days if you want to not be a cheap fuck all the time.
Sapporo Sushi and Steak House, New Brunswick – Half price sushi, another paper ordering system. The rice leaves a little to be desired and doesn’t compare to the top three places, but is a pretty nice place if you’re a Rutgers student who doesn’t have a car and can’t get to IchiUmi. Also recommended if you just want a few rolls and are not trying to set records every time you eat sushi like I am. They also have hibachi, but I’ve never been.
Fuji Yama Mama, Westfield – Top quality sushi, also half price. Their regular menu looks really impressive as well, but I’ve only eaten off the half price menu. I once spent upwards of around forty dollars here. On half price sushi. It’s that good. And I’m that much of a jackass.
If there’s any others I’m missing, help a brother out. And stay tuned for more #BallinOnABudget segments.