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Sushi Deli 1 San Diego

  • l

I live a couple of blocks from the new Sushi Deli 1 on Washington. When ever I drive/walk by there is a line for both lunch and dinner. It has been open a few weeks now and doesn't appear to be slowing down. Has anyone been there? Why such long lines?

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  1. n

    Good question! I too live close to this new phenom. Not seeing any reason to wait on line, my wife and I got some sushi for takeout.

    1. The prices are very very low. As I remember, all rolls are less that $5 and nigiri sushi is about $1-$1.50 per piece.

    2. The quality is really really low, i.e., not flavorful. Moreover, pieces are particularly small; no wasabi under the fish in nigiri; no sauce on unagi.

    Verdict: Let them wait on line. I won't even go back for takeout. Teriyaki Cowboy is much better, and closer. And for cheap rolls, there's always Ichiban happy hour (3-7, Mon-Fri).

    1 Reply
    1. re: notjustastomach


      I bicycle by by Teriyaki Cowboy every week, but I've never given it a try. Could you elaborate a bit on what they have to offer?



    2. Sushi Deli One used to be known as just Sushi Deli. It was located on Broadway for years. Then they opened a second location by the courthouse called Sushi Deli Too. I believe the original has now relocated to Hillcrest. I used to eat at the downtown locations frequently when I worked down there. I can tell you their food is decent - not the best Japanese I've ever had, but good. They've built a reputation over the years (I can remember when they were one of the ONLY sushi places around), and I'm sure that explains the long lines. Plus their prices are very reasonable.

      1. THE BEST PLACE EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been going here since the broadway location since 98...... It is now in Hillcrest.... the location was cooler downtown.......but still the best deal on sushi ever and the service ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        YOU have to go here!!!! I TELL EVERYBODY HOW GREAT THIS PLACE IS... man if this was multilevel marketing I would be a millionare :) just go early because the line goes down the street... but... the wait is worth the while.... CHECK IT OUT!!!!!

        1. Sushi Deli is a San Diego institution, but with the invasion of good quality sushi restaurants that's taken place over the last 5-10 years, it's now outdated. Very low quality food. The reason for the lines is the price and the word of mouth it's built over the years. The best sushi in Hillcrest is Ono Sushi, particularly if you sit at the bar in front of James, the head chef.

          1. I've never understood the attraction of the Sushi Deli's, everytime I went to the two old ones, they were incredibly mediocre. I thought that Ichiban and Niban were better (and that's not a huge endorsement of Ichiban or Niban...).

            1 Reply
            1. re: mikec

              I agree. And as I recall, the non-sushi items at Ichiban and Niban were a little better as well. Definitely ok for the price (back then, that is. I haven't been in years).

            2. I am a regular at Sushi Deli and as everyone already noted - its not for quality. Its dirt cheap. Rolls are mostly below $5 and teriyaki and other cooked stuff is equally cheap. Not that the fish is not fresh - its pretty good stuff. The problem is the amount of fish to rice is a bit off. Though, for the price, I love it - I can't afford Ono every night.

              BTW, Ono is great - but go for the designer rolls. Far from authentic, but a good atmosphere and creative rolls.

              1 Reply
              1. re: afinkle

                EXACTLY. Ono is not Sushi Ota -- ít's not sitting down at the bar and having a chef from Japan educate you. It's about the creativity, California cuisine done well, a roll with the thinest shavings of Jalapeño giving it that subtle extra spice. I'm telling you, go there, put your name in, tell them you want to sit in front of James and you'll wait...then you sit at the bar (the booze one), get a couple drinks and wait. When your name comes up, sit in front of the head chef, put a folded ten (or 20) on the bar where he can see it, and tell him to make you something special...

              2. Sushi Deli is also something of a "place to go" downtown - kind of a lunch institution where you run into everyone you know (especially if you're an attorney.) It's not gourmet, but it is tasty and fast and really really cheap. If you go, avoid anything that has fake crab. They don't even bother to mash it up, and just stick the pieces of surimi in the roll. I like their teriyaki chicken, but it's probably too sweet for most people.