[chopsticks]With a plethora of places to buy sushi within walking distance of campus, The Big Green decided to put them to the test. Based on four simple factors, taste, atmosphere, presentation and service, we ranked four of the closest sushi restaurants. At each place we vowed to try whatever the staff said was their best or most popular roll. We rolled as a crew of five, ready to try anything. (Save Laura who was wary of raw fish and ended up picking apart each piece of sushi, searching for something \”recognizable\”).
So on a rainy Monday, we hopped from each sushi joint, cracking our chopsticks, digging in and acting like the sushi snobs that we aren’t.

SUSHI-YA
Hayley Outslay
There is only one word that comes to mind when I think of Sushi-Ya, and that is comfortable. It’s the kind of place where you can kick back with good food and good company and talk for hours. The wooden tables feel very much like those in your family kitchen, and the warm miso soup, served as an appetizer, adds to the relaxing mood. It’s easy to slowly sip, watch the cars speed past on Grand River, and simply daydream. However, once the sushi is served (by a waitress who acts like your best friend), it’s hard to stay quiet for long. You’ll want to shout rave reviews about the food and the service to everyone in the passing cars. Whoever invented fried sushi should be given an award, because it’s one amazing combination. An even better combination is this restaurant and the students of MSU.
Taste-5
Atmosphere-4
Presentation-4
Service-5
Overall-5
Petra Canan
The feel of Sushi-Ya was very traditional and cozy. The restaurant is small and unexpectedly transporting. The meal began with a bowl of miso soup, which introduced me to tofu for the first time. The taste was very flavorful and delicious. Next was a refreshing house salad with a soy ginger dressing. The salad was crisp and fresh and perfect to cleanse the palette after the soup. Finally, we ordered the MSU Roll. The idea of fried sushi was honestly not something I was interested in at first, and being that I am not a cream cheese fan, I was pretty skeptical. To my surprise, the sushi was rich and delicious, almost dessert-like.
Taste: 3
Atomosphere: 4
Presentation: 3
Service: 5
Overall: 4
[crazygroup]Jordan Barnes
Our first stop on the crawl was Sushi-Ya, my personal favorite. They have nice oddly-wide seats and wooden tables. The waitress was really nice. Patrons have a large selection of sushi to choose from. We ate the popular MSU Roll. Now this was all of our first times eating fried sushi, and boy was it good. Cream cheese and crab = crazy delicious. I love that our country feels the need to deep fry everything, including sushi rolls. God bless America.
Taste: 5
Atmosphere: 4
Presentation: 5
Service: 5
Overall: 5
Laura Martin
As I entered my first ever sushi restaurant I prepared myself for what lay ahead. I was going to try everything tonight, I told myself, no matter how unique it was. Unless it looked really weird, of course, or had something in it that sounded gross…or was made with some strange under-the-sea creature that should stay in the ocean and out of my stomach…so I was going to try almost anything tonight. The restaurant was nice, with bright lights and large booths. The waitress was very friendly, chatting with us and recommending deep fried sushi, as it was the most popular item they had. I relaxed – deep fried sushi didn’t sound so bad. After eating some tasty soup with a very large spoon, the waitress brought us our sushi. No matter how much I was grossed out by the thought of sushi I had to admit it looked pretty tasty. With the rolls deep fried, displayed in an attractive pattern, and covered in a light shiny sauce, I almost forgot that they were filled with seaweed and other things that belonged in the ocean. Bravely, I took a large bite. The deep fried-ness definitely improved the taste of the sushi, and when I dipped it into some soy sauce it wasn’t so bad. Trying not to think about what I was really eating, I ate the entire piece of sushi and actually sort of liked it, though not enough to eat any more.
Taste: 3
Atmosphere: 3
Presentation: 4
Service: 5
Overall: 4
Cara Binder
Although I’ve always adored sushi, I somehow hadn’t managed to try Sushi-Ya before our crawl. A mere five minute walk from my house, I now plan to frequent it. The atmosphere is a delicate balance of quiet and alive, and the staff warmly seats and serves you. After glancing over the menu, our server pointed us in the direction of the MSU Roll. A deep fried combo of cream cheese, crab, and avocado, we decided to give it a shot. Ordering this roll made me feel less than authentic, but it is the biggest seller, and that was our rule. While waiting, we were treated to warm soup and a refreshing salad, a traditional way to wet our appetites for the sushi that was being prepared a couple feet away. It was soon no mystery to us why this roll was the most popular.
Taste: 4
Atmosphere: 4
Presentation: 3
Service: 5
Overall: 4
OMI
Hayley Outslay
The moment you enter Omi, you\’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a work of modern art. The white walls all around are contrasted with what look like waves of bright blue. These two colors create a striking contrast and a bold statement in the otherwise bare restaurant. The tables and chairs are very simple and the overall atmosphere is upscale. The sushi bar offers a wide selection of sushi and rolls sure to satisfy everyone from a first timer to a connoisseur. Because of this, I highly suggest stepping outside of your comfort zone. Be brave and dare to leave those classic California rolls behind. After trying sushi with “crunch,” I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back. Although not entirely sure what the extra ingredient is that makes such a difference, and not sure if I want to know, I can tell you this: it’s time to get your “crunch” on.
Taste- 3
Atmosphere-3
Presentation-4
Service-1
Overall: 3
Petra Canan
For a first date or a night out with the girls, Omi is perfect. The décor is trendy and hip, bringing New York-style dining to East Lansing. The food was prepared beautifully with great presentation. The Crunch Bunch roll was delicious, with a hint of spice, and had everyone trying to guess the mystery “crunch” ingredient. The only downfall of Omi is the service. Our waitress offered little guidance on selecting a roll, only pointing out a few. The food took a little while, and once it got there, we were never checked on thereafter. The menu did have a range of prices, which accommodates anyone’s budget. I will still go back, because the food was delicious, but I recommend knowing a lot more about sushi before trying to eat there.
Taste: 5
Presentation: 5
Service: 1
Atomosphere: 3
Overall: 4
[omi]Jordan Barnes
This place is ultra-modern and really cool. They have track lighting and the etched glass widows make you feel like you’re underwater. The wait staff could have been a little bit friendlier, but the food was really good. They get you with “the crunch.” We’re not sure what it was, but it was good. If crunch is an ingredient in a sushi roll, try it.
Taste: 5
Atmosphere: 5
Presentation: 4
Service: 2
Overall: 4
Laura Martin
Stepping into Omi was like stepping into an art gallery in Chicago. Everything was adorned in blue with sleek modern-shaped chairs and cool overhead lighting. The service wasn’t nearly as good as Sushi-Ya, as the waitress seemed annoyed when we only ordered one dish. Nevertheless, the presentation of the sushi roll was equally impressive, despite the fact that the menu had warned me it was covered in eel sauce. How exactly do they make sauce from an eel, and who decided this was a food? As I had already conquered my fear of trying sushi, my mission here was to be able to use chop sticks correctly. My previous method of tightly gripping the sushi between the two pieces of wood and slowly lifting it to my mouth was turning out to be counterproductive. After many failed attempts at the correct method, I finally gave up and resorted back to my old “picking apart the sushi and eating only the ‘recognizable pieces’” method, and decided this sushi did not measure up to the tastefulness of the restaurant décor.
Taste: 2
Atmosphere: 5
Presentation: 4
Service: 2
Overall: 4
Cara Binder
Omi has always reminded me of a scene out of Lost In Translation, and stepping inside makes you feel like you’ve stepped out of East Lansing, which is refreshing. The modern décor and harsh edges make you feel like you should wear a dress and speak softly. But we were in jeans and bursting with conversation.
Although we pretended to be quasi-official sushi experts, none of us really knew what we were doing. We asked the server for some recommendations, and she hurriedly pointed at the Crunch Munch roll. It listed several ingredients, all of which were your standard sushi components, except for “crunch.” We had no idea what this meant. We took her word for it and waited for this enigmatic roll to appear. We scarfed it down and even split the last pieces so that all of us could enjoy exactly the same amount. I now know that the \”crunch\” is just fried tempura powder, but at the time it seemed like we all just discovered the most perfect ingredient for sushi.
Taste: 5
Atmosphere: 3
Presentation: 4
Service: 1
Overall: 4
Q SUSHI
Hayley Outslay
How can you not like a restaurant with such a unique soundtrack? Songs played in the dining room ranged from Celine Dion to 50 Cent, and this variety is sure to entertain. Even more entertaining is the presentation of the dish. The sushi chefs at QSushi take special care to create a masterpiece on every plate. The staff also pays extra attention in making sure that all customers are helped, whether offering suggestions on favorite dishes or assisting with special requests. Upon the arrival of the food, it looks so good that you won’t want to touch it. It is a true entrance when a slithering green dragon emerges from the kitchen, complete with what looks like red fire spitting from its open mouth. The restaurant and its food are both authentic and fierce – and this will leave you feeling full of both food and life.
Taste-4
Atmosphere-3
Presentation- 5
Service-4
Overall-4
[50cent]Petra Canan
When it comes to originality and presentation, Q Sushi takes the cake…ahem, sushi. We ordered the Dragon Roll upon recommendation from the owner and it was beautifully prepared. It was an eel roll wrapped in avocado, drizzled in sauce and twisted to resemble a dragon. Although I almost didn’t want to eat it, I am glad that I did. I have never been a fan of avocado, but I certainly am now. The roll tasted very fresh and rich in layers of flavor. It was a perfect introduction to Q Sushi. The restaurant was larger than the rest, but a little confusing in décor and atmosphere. I don’t know if it was the pizzeria style booths or the acoustic hip-hop music, but Q Sushi had a quirk to it that made it all the more enjoyable. The service was very helpful, and you just can’t beat a sushi place that delivers!
Taste: 4
Atmosphere: 2
Presentation: 5
Service: 4
Overall: 4
Jordan Barnes
Q Sushi pretty much looks like an old Pizza Hut. The owner was pushy when he found out we were from a publication, and the music was pretty odd, but we let the food speak for itself. And it spoke well. We tried the Dragon Roll – which actually looks like a dragon – and found ourselves loving the crunch once again. We also learned that splitting a piece of a roll is nearly impossible. I had to bite a piece in half and give Cara the leftover pieces because we couldn\’t bear to let the other finish it.
Taste: 4
Atmosphere: 2
Presentation: 5
Service: 3
Overall: 4
Laura Martin
[laura]Our final sushi destination of the night proved to be far less attractive than the previous one. The inside of the restaurant consisted of a few wooden booths, various plants and a plethora of decorations that looked like they came from a garage sale. We ordered the Dragon Roll, complete with the mysterious “crunch” that all my fellow sushi crawlers had been raving about at the last place. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you which “crunch” was better because this sushi pretty much tasted exactly like the last one. A little bitter, a little tangy and in the end I was still eating dead, uncooked fish wrapped in seaweed. Nevertheless, I ate it – crunch and all. Despite my sushi misgivings, I did learn a few things on that fateful sushi night. With the help of the others, I finally mastered chopsticks (as long as I continued to hold on to them the entire night), I learned that sushi is an art form as well as a traditional Japanese dish, and I realized how much better Cold Stone ice cream tastes when you’ve been eating seaweed all night.
Taste: 2
Atmosphere: 2
Presentation: 5
Service: 2
Overall: 3
[dragon]Cara Binder
Q Sushi doesn’t make a big deal out of itself. It sits humbly on Grand River and doesn’t waste time with fancy signage or hip tables and chairs. It is a place that has regulars and treats them well. Crammed into a booth and listening to a karaoke version of 50 Cent, we all instantly felt at ease. Our server, who happened to also be the manager, told us that we wouldn’t be disappointed with the Dragon Roll. Presented to look like a dragon, complete with a tail and fire made out of shrimp, I was impressed immediately. After immersing it in soy sauce, I popped one into my mouth and fell more in love. If you’re looking for some good sushi and quality music, head to Q Sushi.
Taste: 5
Atmosphere: 3
Presentation: 5
Service: 3
Overall: 4
UDON SUSHI BAKERY
Petra Canan
To put it simply, Udon was anything but what I expected. First of all, we were disheartened to find that they only offered two types of rolls. We ordered the California Roll, and took our seats. Food was ordered deli-style, and then we waited to be called back up for it. While our one roll did take nearly 20 minutes to be made, there were plenty of ways to amuse ourselves in Udon. For starters, there are six televisions in the tiny place, and two large leather couches, one boasting a back massaging pad. The rest of the tiny restaurant is cluttered with unique items. A set of cubbies is packed with prosthetic noses and breasts for dress-up and one could spend hours studying the thousands of miniature polaroids. The price was perfect, the roll only $4, including soup and free appetizers. All of it was decent in taste, but nothing special.
Taste: 2
Presentation: 2
Service: 1
Atomosphere: 3
Overall: 3
Jordan Barnes
Despite the name, the Sushi Bakery has only a few types of sushi rolls. And they weren’t the best. It was our one and only stop on part two of the sushi crawl. What was great about this place was that it looked like one of your hippy friends’ apartments. They had Christmas lights and a dress-up corner, complete with tiaras and fake breasts. Sushi isn’t the most filling food in the world, especially with three people splitting one roll. Cara, Petra and I decided to go to Menna’s and have a dub after we were done.
Taste: 2
Presentation: 2
Atmosphere: 4
Service: 2
Overall: 2
Cara Binder
Open until 3 a.m. most nights, I always wondered what Udon was all about. I thought it might be a place with some character, but I didn’t expect it to have this much.
I hoped to avoid the ever-popular California Roll on the crawl, but with only two options for sushi, we gave in. The sushi itself was mediocre, no creative shrimp tails or peculiar ingredients, but for less than $5 a pop, it will fill your stomach just fine. The sushi, however, is not the draw of Udon. While I waited for the roll, I sat in a massage chair and watched the Food Network on one of the several televisions behind the counter. Petra and Jordan found the corner of dress-up clothes, complete with a flimsy, drooping set of fake breasts. There was also a stack of board games, darts, and CDs hanging from the ceiling. With so much to do, we hardly noticed that our simple California Roll took about half an hour to make.
Taste: 1
Atmosphere: 5
Presentation: 1
Service: 2
Overall: 3
So the sushi crawl was complete, and the overall winner is…drum roll, please…Sushi-Ya! Somewhere among the crunch mystery, chopstick confusion, fake breasts, and 50 Cent sing-alongs, you are sure to find entertainment at any of the aforementioned sushi joints, but when it comes to taste, atmosphere, presentation and service, we salute you, Sushi-Ya.

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