We're so over turkey this Thanksgiving, we decided to go out for sushi instead. (Just kidding, turkey! We still love you and can't wait to eat you all week long!)
To celebrate our very sushi Thanksgiving, we hit up four sushi hot spots in Concord and rated how they did against one another. To even out the playing field, we dined in and ordered the same item from each menu - tekka maki (that's a tuna roll for those of you who don't speak sushi) - and jotted down our thoughts on the price, presentation, freshness and taste, as well as any stray menu observations we had. Our mouths were pleasantly surprised by what we discovered.
Still not convinced? Don't worry. We don't judge you for having a less refined palate than us. Editor Katie MacKenzie seemed repulsed by the idea of eating sushi, so you can join her in dining on macaroni and cheese from a box and chicken fingers.
Kanpai! (That's "cheers" in Japanese.)
Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar
118 Manchester St.
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Price: $5.50 for a tuna roll. Includes six pieces.
Presentation: This was certainly the most innovative – it looked like a sushi volcano just waiting to erupt into utter deliciousness. Ah, if only all volcanoes erupted sushi. We’d be a much happier, safer world. Plus, two of the six pieces were much larger than your average sushi roll, so extra points are deserved for that.
Freshness: So fresh, I was wondering if they had secret access to an ocean in their backroom.
Taste: Yum! Definitely my favorite. It was full of flavor without tasting fishy and the texture was spot-on. This was my first visit to Ichiban, and trust me – I’ll be back.
Menu observations: Their sushi menu was expansive and their house rolls looked creative and tasty. On my next visit, I’m definitely going to order the “hot babe roll” – pepper and seared tuna, avocado, spicy salmon and crunch with wasabi tobiko and spicy mayo for $11. Not only because the name makes me giggle, but because I love anything spicy and with tuna. Plus, Katie (a non-sushi either) was ecstatic to discover she could still order hibachi even though we weren’t sitting at a hibachi table.
Moritomo Japanese Restaurant
32 Fort Eddy Road
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m and 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m and Sunday, noon to 9:30 p.m.
Price: $4.50 for a tuna roll. Includes six pieces.
Presentation: Nothing out of the ordinary, but it certainly looked yummy. The tuna was a reddish color as opposed to a dull pink – red looks much more appetizing.
Freshness: I also wondered if Moritomo has an ocean in their backroom to catch their tuna. Very fresh.
Taste: Simple yet tasty. No complaints here!
Menu observations: Had all the typical sushi menu items and then some. I’ve had lunch at Moritomo before and love their bento boxes – my favorite is No. 3, which includes shumai, gyzoa, chicken teriyaki and a California roll for $9.95.
Beijing and Tokyo
61 S. Main St.
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 10 p.m.
Price: $4.50 for a tuna roll. Includes six pieces.
Presentation: Good. I smiled when I saw an itty-bitty carrot flower in the corner of my plate.
Freshness: Tasted fresh to me!
Taste: Any time I’ve ordered the sushi at Beijing and Tokyo it has been consistently good. Nothing outstanding – but when ordering sushi, it’s nice to know I’ll always enjoy what’s on my plate.
Menu observations: As far as the sushi menu goes, all of the usual sushi suspects are there as well as some “special design rolls.” The “fantastic hot roll” for $11.95 is perfect for the person who can’t walk into a Chinese/Japanese restaurant without ordering something deep friend – it contains deep fried mixed fish and avocado with three different sauces on top.
Beijing and Tokyo also happens to be a staff favorite to get a quick, inexpensive lunch. They have many lunch specials less than $10 that include a ton of scrumptious Chinese or Japanese food. You’ll leave with a full stomach and leftovers!
Red Apple Buffet
161 Loudon Road
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Price: $8.25 for lunch buffet, $12.75 for dinner buffet. All you can eat.
Presentation: The sushi has a designated spot on the buffet tables next to the salad bar. It looks appetizing enough; however, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting. I scouted out a tuna roll, but didn’t see one, so I got other assorted, mystery rolls.
Freshness: Fresher than what I expected to find at a buffet.
Taste: Fine. I wouldn’t go back to Red Apple Buffet for the sushi alone, but if I happened to go there for another reason – I’d consider piling some sushi onto my plate once again.
Menu observations: Where else in Concord boasts of Chinese, Japanese, American and Italian cuisine, all under one roof? Katie’s favorite item on her plate was the General Tso’s chicken – I enjoyed the dumplings. Katie also got this flaky, lemon dessert that was yummy.