By Summer Sewell
U-Sushi opened in the Financial District and is responsible for the line of suits on Market
and 1st Streets that has been appearing since January. It’s Ozumo’s answer to quick,
customizable sushi. There are no chairs so it’s impossible to forget the objective is to
grab and go. It’s set up like a cafeteria line, but replace the angry lady in the hairnet with a sushi expert, and trade microwaved tater-tots for tempura shrimp.
The process at U-Sushi is machine, human, machine. The Rice Sheeter and Robocutter
machines are what enables a whole roll to be done in about a minute. Machine: brown
or white rice is put into the Rice Sheeter, which cranks out perfect squares of flattened
rice. Human: The sushi chef offers seaweed or soy wrapper, and you point at which of
the daily-delivered roll ingredients you like. (The glass is clearly labeled with selections
like Yellowtail, salmon, spicy tuna, asparagus, avocado, cilantro, crunch pickle, tofu
abura-age, furitake, goma, tobiko). Machine: Your craft is inserted into the Robocutter,
and pops out as eight precision-cut pieces seconds later. The rolls are wrapped in paper so you can eat sushi one-handed, while walking, with no flavor sacrifice- the sauces (wasabi soy, unagi, peanut for example) are already inside the roll.
If you’re not feeling creative, there is a “U Classics” list of tried and true combinations.
But just take a minute and make your own. That’s the whole point.