All you can eat sushi.
What a wonderful thing.
It’s the perfect mx of sophisticated and sloppy. It combines cultures and styles in a weird way that forces you to reevaluate what you’re doing. All you can eat is always something that forces you to reconsider your life, but sushi does it in a different way. Where, then, does punishing yourself to get the last few dollars out of your deal turn a meal into a Randian dystopia? When does eating as sport produce actual, well-earned victories? How can sushi, so delicious and special, become heavy and monotonous under the weight of the infinite?
Maybe I’m thinking too hard. I do that sometimes. But all you can eat sushi is still, to me, the most interesting of our gastronomical co-options. People have written about McDonald’s to death as the peak of American food identity, but the all you can eat sushi is much more nuanced in nature. Sushi is a generally dainty, often healthy food, with higher-end prices.
This, then, is, the inherent gamble of all you can eat sushi is: can you eat your money back without ruining everything that makes sushi great?
I had all you can eat sushi recently, and I can reliably give you tips for the experience.
1. Do Not Starve Yourself Before
It sounds like a good idea, but it isn’t. To fill up on as much sushi as possible, you need an open stomach, right?
Wrong. You’re going to need something to get your stomach going. Sushi sits in your stomach like a brick, and on an empty stomach the zero to sixty change is going to feel heavy, and fast.
Instead, prepare reasonably with a small lunch of diverse, non-sushi food that encourages digestion. Think a good salad, some fruit, and, frankly, some potato chips. You’re going to be craving texture when going through the murk of sushi rolls.
2. Know Why You’re There
Right off the bat, you have to come to an agreement with yourself and others. Mainly: do you want a good experience with lots of sushi or are you here to take the game to its logical conclusion of pushing your limits.
This is not an easy question. Take, for example, the buffalo wing. Buffalo wings are an all-you-can-eat option of a different stripe because buffalo wings are inherently cheap, bad for you, and deliciously sloppy. You are not going to have a dainty date-night out at a buffalo-wing spot. So when a place offers “all you can eat wings” you know it’s just a natural progression of what eating wings is and should be: an indulgent, slopfest of a time.
But with sushi, the all-you-can-eat format undoes what you’re doing, and you have to find a safe spot in the parabola. Do you go for the best possible experience or are you trying to game the system? Are you going for the dignified night out or are you down to clown on as much raw fish as you can handle?
Decide in advance and know that there are two options.
3. Switch It Up
You’re eating the same thing a lot; switch textures. If you can get seaweed salad, use that as a palate changer or a change of pace. Switch in a cooked roll or a crunchy roll or whatever, just to feel again.
Trust me, you’ll need it.
4. Consider Alternatives
All you can eat sushi is not always the best call, even if you’re hungry.
If you’re hungry, maybe have a small snack and some sushi for dinner, which will be cheaper and less of a marathon. Maybe even get a bunch of sushi and still save a little cash and dignity.
All you can eat sushi is an all-in gamble and should be only embraced by the conscious consumer. Ask yourself if you’re ready, and if you have no other reasonable option, sushi or otherwise, than to go for it.
5. Keep Your Eye Open For Pros and Cons
If the all you can eat sushi place has a secret perk, that cannot be overlooked.
Do they have the fancy rolls available on the menu? Are they cheap? Do they come with appetizers which will help end the fish-based monotony of your challenge? Is the all-you-can-eat challenge essentially the price of three rolls anyway, meaning that you’re almost certain to break even?
Those are all reasons to get it.
On the flip-side: do they have some small time-limit like an hour and a half? Is it the cost of four rolls, making it much harder to break even? Do they limit what you can get to a few basic, boring rolls you don’t quite even want anyway? If so, better to just get what you want and call it a day. The allure of “all you can eat sushi” is only as good as the specific offer.
At the end of the day, you’re living like a deranged king, eating as much of a delicacy as you possibly can, unlimited by petty concerns such as cash or dignity. And if that isn’t worth a small premium in price, you don’t understand why you’re doing it.