The trend of personalized food has reached the realm of sushi. U Sushi, which opened on South Beverly Dr. last December, brings the make-your-own concept to one of L.A.'s favorite foods. U Sushi owner Jeremy Umland, who also owns Ozumo in Santa Monica Place, traces the idea for his restaurant to the pre-made packaged sushi he'd buy — and wasn't exactly happy with. So he decided to make his own sushi, and opened U Sushi in Beverly Hills. A second store opened in San Francisco in February 2012.
Following in the footsteps of Subway — and 800 Degrees — U Sushi allows diners to make their own sushi rolls by selecting different ingredients and sauces. Although we've long had conveyor belt sushi in this town, build-your-own is a new idea.
U Sushi is very Americanized, with nothing on the menu written in Japanese. Diners begin by picking their own rice (white or brown) and paper (seaweed or soy), which are then pressed by a machine. Diners next choose from a collection of fish (seven kinds, including crab and shrimp), vegetables and sauces. The line chef will roll this up and have it cut into eight pieces by another machine. The entire process takes less than five minutes. And if machine-constructed sushi isn't your thing, there's also a menu of selections is also available for those who like traditional sushi. The price range (from $7.50 to $9.50 for one roll) is pretty cheap for Beverly Hills, where sushi is far from inexpensive.
Sandra Reisz, general manager of U Sushi, said people often come in expecting a full-serve sushi restaurant. Sometimes they will turn around and walk out, she says, but adventurists embrace the idea. “We need to capture them as much as we can and try to educate them,” Reisz says. “The challenge is people's expectation.”
Video by Shako Liu.
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