No. 1 Chinese/ No. 1 Sushi: Sushi delivery to Kensington, be still my heart!
As a contented long term resident of Kensington (a Kensingtoner, if you will), my top three wishes for my neighborhood have long been a) an express stop on the subway b) not having to go to windsor terrace/park slope every time I crave sushi and c) a nice coffee shop hospitable to bleary- eyed, sad-sack graduate students like myself.
Wish #1, well, forget it. And I was optimistic with wish #3 when I saw the coffee place going up around Church Ave and E. 5th Street, but they've yet to open. However, progress has possibly been made on wish #2. I got home today and found, in the foyer of my apartment building, a bunch of takeout menus for a new place called #1 Chinese Food (front side of menu) and #1 Sushi (back side of menu) at 420 Ditmas Ave. The Chinese half of the menu was nothing special, but the very concept of delivery sushi in my 'nabe was enough to make me grab a menu and run up the stairs to my apartment two at a time.
A second major shock came while reading the prices on the menu. The regular sushi rolls (all pretty standard stuff - veggie, tuna, salmon, yellowtail, spider, shrimp tempura, philadelphia, etc) are all $2.50. The sushi and sashimi (again, standard choices) are all $1.00. Prices for noodle tempura and teriyaka meals were also quite low and include miso soup, rice, and salad. The special rolls on the menu are all $7 and include such unique combinations as the #6 Freedom Roll - crab, fried banana, crunch and mayo inside with shrimp and avocado outside.
The logical part of my brain said the food couldn't possibly be any good at these prices, but the optimist in me decided to give it a go anyway. I ordered a philadelphia roll, an eel roll, yellowtail sashimi, and one of the special rolls that was crunchy spicy tuna inside and shrimp, crab, mayo and tobiko outside. And I have to say that, while it doesn't rival the better places in Park Slope, for fifteen dollars it was damn respectable. Eel and yellowtail both tasted fresh, and eel roll was not drowning in sauce (a pet peeve of mine). The philadelphia roll was also quite good, although it could have used some green onion or chive in the roll. The special roll was less of a success, but part of that was my fault - i thought the mayo on top of the roll was going to be spicy mayo, but it was just plain white mayo. Once I scraped it off and was left with basically a spicy crunchy tuna roll, it was fine. The delivery was quick and I ended up not even having to touch the veggie lo mein I ordered in case the sushi was inedible, so No #1 Sushi gets a thumbs up here. It certainly won't replace sushi dinners out in the Slope (nor AM Thai, still the best Kensington delivery option IMHO), but it will hit the spot for days when I have Japanese cravings but don't feel like dealing with the outside world. Not to mention there are sushi rolls for double this price elsewhere that are half as good.
So, any other chowhounds care to share their experiences with this place? Any intrepid soul willing to try the crab/fried banana/mayo/crunch roll and report back with the results? Anyone...anyone..Bueller?
HankyT - Sadly, Kiku won't deliver this far down. I've tried blatant bribery, but it's still a no-go.
Hamstrman - I meant the coffee shop on Church Ave between E. 5th and Ocean Parkway called the Old Brick cafe. I walked by it again this morning and it was still shuttered. There was a thread on this board about it a few months back - one person mentioned that it was going to be another Eastern European men's club type place, but I am holding out (completely unfounded) hope that it'll be a Kensington version of VoxPop in Ditmas Park.
And yeah, I agree that when you're in the mood to go out and get good sushi, it's worth making a trip. But my point was more that when you're NOT in the mood to go out but still want sushi, this is a mundane but respectable and ridiculously cheap option. And I have to say, the only other part of the city where I spend lots of time is the Morningside Heights/Columbia University 'hood, and of the three sushi places in that neighborhood, the sushi i had from No.1 was equal or better than two of those places and less expensive than all three.
Fingers crossed for that express stop, HankyT!
Kate, I live on Ocean Parkway and Albermarle. What do you mean that the coffee shop on E5th and Church Ave hasn't opened yet? You mean the Russian diner? They've been open for over a year. And I agree AM Thai is amazing! Of course I've had better, but it's pretty damn good! As for this #1 Sushi place, I've never been, but I cringe at the thought just because of a) the neighborhood we live in, b) they serve chinese AND sushi in the same place (blecch!) and c) I think it is worth the trip anywhere in New York for amazing sushi over junky sushi. My screenname on AOL is hamstrman. Instant message me and we can discuss our favorite nearby restaurants.
Very funny post Kate. I'm afraid I can't comment on #1 Sushi, but I'm up the hill in WT and we get Kiku delivered all the time. They're a pretty solid sushi place. Don't they go to Kensy? On your other point: I had a friend who worked for the MTA and he said an F express was in the works. Fat help to me though at the George Hamilton Parkway stop.