My average day at work consists of the regular BS of professional duties followed by constant blog reading and writing. One of my top 5 reads of the day is Midtown Lunch. I am a Downtown Luncher but really love the constant updates and being in the loop when it comes to the latest street cart drama and where to find the best eats for the best prices. While getting my daily Midtown Lunch fix, Zach – Midtown Lunch creator, was offering up a free lunch to Yushi for 10 readers. All I had to do was leave a comment and wait for a random chance… and wouldn’t you know it – I got picked!
Yushi Bento Bar. A sushi bar in Midtown (duh) that offers up unique and healthy rolls. You might be wondering, “What makes this sushi bar so special?” (look down)

Yes. A conveyor belt. They serve conveyor belt sushi. My first fascination with conveyor belt food was while channel surfing, catching a documentary on how competitive eaters trained. Takeru Kobayashi was sitting at a sushi bar in Japan and must have racked up about 150 plates of sushi. I was amazed. And that little rotating table became the whole reason I was so eager to enter this contest on Midtown Lunch.
Before I get into the food porn, I must explain the comedy of errors that ensued…all for a free lunch. Upon receiving my “Congratulations” email from Zach, I had just the person to invite. My free lunch was for me and a guest!
My coworker Jess and I, back when I wasn’t paying rent, used to venture out for sushi 3 times per week. We love sushi that much! So when i asked her, she was more than happy to accept- We haven’t had a sushi date in quite a while. Not only was she the perfect sushi luncher but we both had the awesome experience of learning to make sushi together at the Institute of Culinary Education – so we KNOW our Sushi Shit!
So, I got my guest-Now I need to pick a date. I had a scheduled day off for dental work and a physical and damned it all- I was going to get my free lunch and my root canal and my blood work done all in the same day! Here’s where it gets bumpy… To get the maximum enjoyment out of my free lunch, I moved my dental appt till after lunch and it was working out perfectly…. until the morning of.
*ring*(thats my cell phone)
Me: Hello?
Nurse: Monique?
Me: yes…
Nurse: Dr. E needs you to come in because he can’t do the later appt.
me: can I come in another day?
Nurse: No (and a list of reasons why)
DAMMIT.
So i contacted Jess and My new lunch time wasn’t going to work for her.
I hate when shit like this happens.
I am all about order and planning and when one thing on my agenda is f*cked– the whole day might as well go to hell.
And that’s when my boyfriend called to say he had the rest of the day off (due to the rain) and I felt like the clouds parted and the Food Gods spared me of having to *gasp* eat alone.
Of course I’m being Melodramatic. But there were other blips throughout the day but I was happy the boyfriend saved me.
He was late, as usual.
So while I waited at Yushi, I watched the tasty choices passing me by (food choices!) and i was FREEZING. The conveyor belt is refrigerated and everything from the chest and up was freezing from the refrigeration.
I ordered a bowl of hot soup to warm me up (in JULY) while I waited for darling LATE boyfriend. The miso soup had a spicy kick to it and definitely did the trick in warming me up. It had lots of seaweed (PLUS) and yummy bits of tofu. It had what tasted like some red pepper flakes in it and that just sent me over. Score one for Yushi. The soup was $2.25 for a large (and heavy) bowl of soup.

When DBF arrived (FINALLY) the server brought us some drinks and explained how to order. I ordered a diet coke and it came in a bottle… not fountain! SCORE. I hate fountain soda. Anyway. The conveyor belt had a few selections going ’round but as the lunch hour passes, fewer things get placed on the belt (in an effort to not waste food) But if you see anything on the menu that is not on the belt, you can order it a la carte.

First thing I grabbed off the belt was some good ol‘ salmon sushi AKA “Simply Salmon”. Salmon is my favorite. Yushi was granting us 4 free plates a piece and the rest was out of pocket- NO PROBLEM. Plate 1: salmon. I love how the the plates come color coded and have the caloric content on them!

Next up is the Chicken Terriyaki Handroll. It had grilled pieces of chicken terriyaki and stuffed with chives and drizzled or should I say dressed with Japanese mayo. This was very delicious.

Henry went for the Ebi Nigiri which was shrimp on top of sushi rice garnished with a red pepper and “stuff” i couldn’t identify. Henry really enjoyed this number as I took a bite and preferred never to look at it again. Im a big fan of Ebi but the pepper kind of threw the taste off.

Next up. “Simply Tuna”. Tuna is a runner up to my Salmon. While this in no way tastes like salmon (because its Tuna-der) it has a fresh taste and a delectable texture. But I’m a big fan of sushi and sashimi so really, this was fab.

Not pictured was our favorite piece that we ordered twice. The Terriyaki Unagi had was nice chunks of eel atop a tiny ball of sushi rice with a smoky terriyaki for dipping. It was our favorite – in a new category of Non-traditional favorites (because we still love salmon).
We started to order off the menu because the rotation was offering some slim pickins (Tom Tom Salad, Firecracker something, Rainbow Salad, etc) and I peeped the menu and ordered 3 things. Peking Duck Maki Pictured above and below for a close up of the innards.

This maki roll was really good. It was unique. It had a slightly sweet taste to it. They provided a sweet dipping sauce and paired really nicely with all the sesame seeds.

This is the beef nigiri. We did not care for this one. When we ordered it, the server came to us and told us that it would be ready in 10 minutes because it was frozen and had to be defrosted. That is totally understandable – HOWEVER- if I was just a regular paying customer, NOT representing Midtown Lunch, would I have gotten the same treatment? Would a regular customer get the chef to do all that? My guess is not. I have had plenty of requests get denied because “they ran out of it” or something… Its just a lil weird to me… especially since at the time we were eating NO ONE ELSE was there. And to make matters worse, the beef was still frozen when we took a piece- FAIL.

We ended lunch with what the menu dubbed the “Salmon Session” and it came with sashimi and sushi. It sounded like it would be a bigger portion but that’s all we got. We enjoyed it… but we thought we were getting more.
So…. what did we think?
Pros:
+ Colored plating makes for easy ordering
+ Calories printed on menus and plates to make easy healthy choices for the dieters or weight conscious
+ great decor
+ excellent menu items with a bit of fusion
+ friendly staff
And YES there are Cons:
– Pricey
– conveyor belt items def sit there for hours. we ate there for 1 hour and the stuff that was rotating when we got there was STILL going around. Thank goodness for refrigeration.
– small portions. For the prices they are charging can I get a regular 6 piece roll instead of a 4 piece one. I know the photos look like big pieces of maki but they were regular sized. If I’m paying $4.75 for a roll, i would like the whole roll- thanks.
-Conveyor belt is a total gimmick. Half the things we wanted to try weren’t even on the belt so… we sat at a cold bar to watch salads go by.
– I don’t like cold sushi. I pulled my selections and let them sit while I ate my soup. They were still pretty cold..enjoyable but cold.
I am EXTREMELY grateful for the opportunity to try Yushi! It was fun doing research. LOL. Henry was definitely sold with the joint and wants to go back. We order sushi for dinner at least once per week and he told me to write that he would come back for the selections because “we can have sushi at home but that Unagi was the shit!” and he’s right. it was!
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