Monday, May 16, 2011

Sushi Topia

(UPDATE 3/15/12: Sushi Topia is apparently for sale. The owner has a handwritten "for sale by owner" sign in the window of this establishment.)

Sushi Topia opened about two years ago in downtown Salem, Oregon. Sushi Topia is your conveyor-belt sushi establishment, where the price of a dish depends on the color of the plate.

They originally started with a happy hour from 11:30 a.m. to about 1 p.m., where almost all dishes on the menu were $1.50, but, after a few months, revamped their service so that all their regular sushi offerings are either $1.25 or $1.50. There may still be the more expensive dishes on the menu, but it appears you may have to order it from the server to get it. In my view, such a move is a smart one. Sushi Topia is located within walking distance of Willamette University, and while many downtown workers and college students may love sushi and are able to get to the traditional lunch hour times, there are still people with irregular schedules that would need to arrive earlier or later.

Honestly, the sushi I have had there is nothing special. I will say that I like their array of choices. Suppose you don't want sushi today but your friends drag you to Sushi Topia anyway for lunch. Sushi Topia may have some edamame, some fruit bowls, salad, sweet and sour chicken, or teriyaki chicken available. Care to be just a little more adventurous? Sushi Topia offers fried sushi as well, made from some of the leftover sushi pieces (perhaps there were an odd number of pieces cut and they smartly wanted to use all the sushi). I've had Philly rolls and California rolls, deep-fried. Beware, though. the deep-fried stuff is only nice when it's fresh. If it's been on the conveyor belt for a while, steer clear unless you're real hungry or real curious.

The decor is nice (complete with a TV that plays a random movie). The yellow walls somewhat work to give the place a happier, brighter atmosphere. The conveyor-belt setup is always a welcome sight to me at a sushi place.

For pictures and reviews on Sushi Topia, go to eatsalem.comYelp, or Urbanspoon. The overwhelming majority of reviewers like this place, so apparently I am in the minority that prefer to go somewhere else for sushi. Sushi Topia can an acceptable stop for hungry people seeking cheap sushi eats, but that's all it is to me. 3/10

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