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Sushi Box

Sushi Box

In a word:  Best when it thinks outside the box.

The specs: #0618  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at The Fussie Foodies, Restaurant DB, Yelp; listing at Eat Drink Madison; official web site, Sushi Box on Urbanspoon

Latest Sushi Box news and reviews at del.icio.us

Alex ate the shrimp tempura, gyoza, unagi, and scallop with a green Ramune soda.
Greg and Trish shared the chef's combo (six pieces of nigiri sushi and one shrimp tempura roll) and each had a Coke.
JM ate the shrimp tempura roll and miso soup.
Nichole ate the scallop roll and the musubi.
Phoebe ate the spicy scallop roll.
We all split a California roll.
The bill was about $11/person plus tip.
Nichole gave Sushi Box an A-; Greg, JM, Phoebe and Trish gave Sushi Box a B; Alex gave Sushi Box a C (see our grading rubric).

Mystery progressive dinnertimeOne of the only truly tough things for us at A to Z is when a bunch of similar cuisine piles up in a bunch. The places with "Pizza" and "China" in the name are two notable examples. Since we had to hit three "Sushi" spots in a row, we decided to plan a Black Friday Mystery Progressive Dinner (BFMPD) for the day after Thanksgiving, which involved foodnapping a few locals and having them come with for all three in one night.  This was the first of the three. 

Sushi Box is an apt name for this small venue that specializes in fast, grab-and-go sushi. The staff was warm and friendly, and the ambiance was casual, almost cafeteria-like. The reach-in cooler did little to disabuse us of this notion.  Atop the cooler was a nifty feature: a closed-circuit monitor lets customers watch the chef's work area.

MenuClosed circuit

We ordered California roll at each restaurant on the BFMPD to serve as a baseline (hat tip to Alex). At Sushi Box, she was pretty sure it was made with "krab," but the cucumber was amazingly fresh and the avocado was ripe. On all the rolls, the rice was bright, sticky, and sweet, but the nori was unconscionably tough and chewy. The wasabi was the hottest any of us had ever had, and Trish especially noted that it covered up any and all of the other flavors.

Miso soupMusubiSmall plateScallop roll

Nichole was distracted from the scallop roll (which was fresh and clean) by the musubi. She had been sure she'd never see the Hawaiian delicacy again. It's SPAM and tamago, it tastes exactly how it sounds, you can get it at any 7-Eleven on Oahu, and it inspires a powerful charge of ambivalence in its eaters - kind of like a McRib.

JM got a bowl of miso soup. It had a nice smoky flavor and small pieces of tofu. His shrimp tempura had a nice balance of breading, fry medium and shrimp -- though it was only one piece. We tried to get him to try a roll, but in vain; even the fresh, spicy scallop roll Phoebe picked did not win him over.

Alex gave excellent comments about her mix-and-match plate:

Shrimp appeared to be "processed" - too uniform in shape. No real discernible shrimp flavor and a little greasy. Goyza had a great flavor but was also a little greasy. It also was an odd gray color. The dipping sauce that came with these two items was ice cold which was very off-putting. Again, decent flavor but the cold sort of wrecked the interaction with the warm appetizers. My scallop had a nice texture that would indicate freshness but was marred by the fact that it was also served ice cold. My eel was weirdly flavorless but, again, had a decent texture.

Greg and Trish chef's combo was six pieces of nigiri sushi and one shrimp tempura roll. It was good and filling, but nothing special. Phoebe observed that some details, like water cups for the self-serve fountain, were lacking, and the price was a smidge higher than it should have been. "It was pretty much in line with hundreds of other places," said Trish. And other than the musubi, that's spot-on.

Small plateSushi

Comments

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Sushi Box is my favorite sushi restaurant! I love watching the chef on the monitor.

I love sushi box from my days living in that neighborhood. They have an incredible lunch special (IIRC it was $6 for a chicken teriyaki donburi with 2 pieces california roll). My father, who generally hates sushi and 'exotic' food in general, loves this place for its non-sushi entrees.

I agree. I'm not a big sushi fan, but I really liked this place both times I ate there. I thought the Goyza was a plesant surprise. It was very tasty and not greasy the day I ordered it.

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