By David Minsky
By Jen Mangham
By Bill Wisser
By Laine Doss
By Bill Wisser
By Dana De Greff
By Laine Doss
By Zachary Fagenson
That became immediately clear the first time I tried Sushi Express, several years later. From the time I walked in to the time I walked out with a huge order: six minutes. I've waited longer at McDonald's. This truly is fast --and, more important, truly fresh and healthy -- fast food, for little more than the price of a Big Macoronary.
A double hat trick nigiri plate, for instance, features three pieces each of salmon and hamachi sushi for $4.95; usually this would run $2 to $2.25 per piece. And the hamachi is just as glistening and silky, the salmon just as succulently striated and buttery, as any in South Beach.
17048-50 W. Dixie Highway
Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160
Region: North Dade
A dozen of Sushi Express's eighteen sushi combo plates feature maki (rolls) as well as nigiri, at similar savings -- and some offer more than standard sushi. There's the $4.50 L.A. for cooked sushi fans (two pieces each of eel and shrimp, plus a four-piece California roll); the $5.75 vegan Veggieville (one piece each of avocado, asparagus, and sweet fried bean-curd inari, plus a six-piece kappa cucumber roll and a huge five-piece vegetable roll of avocado, asparagus, carrot, cucumber, spinach, and pungent pickled kanpyo-- sort of an eggless futomaki); or the $9.75 Three Peat, with three large makis, including a shrimp tempura roll and a salmon California roll that upgrades the standard style, using raw salmon instead of the fake crabstick.
Especially nice is the Lady's Finger: three hosamaki (ice cream cone-shape seaweed hand rolls) of your choice for $5.90. These normally run at least $3.50 each on the Beach. I've tried negi hama (chopped yellowtail and scallion), spicy tuna (tuna, scallion, and hot chili sauce), salmon skin (crunchy cooked salmon skin with scallion, sesame seeds, and eel sauce), and dynamite (cooked scallops, masago roe, and mayo sauce). While a bit skinnier than most hand rolls, all were very tasty. And a big plus: Hand rolls come individually wrapped in a high-tech plastic film that keeps the seaweed cones dry and crisp in transit; even the dynamite's creamy filling caused no sogginess.
There's cooked Japanese food, too, some good (edamame, stir-fried yaki udon noodles with shrimp), some just okay (somewhat spartan beef sukiyaki; an "assorted seaweed" salad that's actually just wakame). But there's one cooked item that's not to be missed: the corn cream croquette appetizer. Authentically Japanese? More like Latinese. But these whole-kernal studded cloud-light bites, crunchy outside and delicately creamy-rich inside, like a breaded flan, beat any croqueta I've had anywhere.
Best news: A SoBe branch just opened on Washington Avenue, with better hours -- and the same prices.