Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sushilicious - Irvine

I got one for you: What do you get if you smooshed a Japanese restaurant into an Apple store, put it in a bag, added a factory-scene from How It's Made, sprinkled a dash of Yogurtland and shook it all up?

You get Sushilicious in Irvine, which in its pastel-colored sleekness, becomes the first kaiten joint in O.C. to actually have a personality to match the silly-fun experience of revolving sushi.

Its owner, Daniel Woo (who I assume has a background in marketing) knows exactly what he's doing. He recognizes precisely who his customers are: people who drool at the next Steve Jobs iProduct, line up at Yogurtland, follow trendy food trucks, and Yelp-gush or blog on their latest restaurant discovery. People like you. People like me.

Before it was even open, the restaurant was Twittered-up and Facebooked. Actually, it's networked in even more ways than that: Instead of paper pads or calculators, each server has an iPod Touch that's connected to a WiFi-enabled Point of Sale system.

Yeah, there's an app for that.

These newfangled features and doodads makes it easy to forget that it used to be Gen Kai, a more traditional sushi restaurant. Gen Kai who? See? My ADD-addled attention span is already at their mercy.

If I Tweeted during my meal (and I was twenty years younger), this might be what it'd sound like:

LOL, the rainbow roll @sushilicious is called "United Colors of Sushi".

OMG, there's also one named "WMD"! And "Napoleon Dynamite"? No tater tots in it, though.

ROFL, there's a "Twilight" roll! @RPattzFanGirls: be still your beating hearts.


All kidding aside: Somebody obviously set the creative meter on high. The "Sushicalifragilisticexpialidocious" is a two-way mouthful--a soy-paper roll topped with battered rock shrimp covered in a Sriracha-laced mayo sauce. It does its best impersonation of honey glazed walnut shrimp, even if the connection to Mary Poppins remains dubious.

The "Medusa" is what they call their spider roll, because, well, I guess soft-shell crab legs do sorta look like snakes. I have, however, already forgotten what that slightly rubbery shrimp roll I ate in the picture above was called; but you can bet it was something cutesy, which is probably why I took it.

And that's the draw of the place. You will not arrive at any sushi epiphanies. Leave your omakase snobbery at the door. The place knows that it caters to the sushi n00bs not sushi l33ts. The point is to laugh a little, eat a lot, not take things too seriously.

In any case, for conveyor belt fodder, the food is remarkably fresh and well-prepared. If you're still wary of where your plate's been or who it's been seeing before it gets to you, you can order it from the chefs themselves who are within speaking distance of wherever you sit.

Prices start at $1.50 for the basic plates; top out at $4 for premium ones. Bento boxes and side dishes round out the menu offerings. One such item is a panko-covered, deep-fried sweet potato corokke as sweet as Thanksgiving. Their gyozas are softly pliant pork pockets with nicely crisped bottoms, ready-to-be-dipped and gobbled...right after you take a picture and send your Tweet about it, of course.

Me? I'm old school. I blog.

Sushilicious
(949) 552-2260
15435 Jeffrey Road
Suite #119, Irvine, CA 92618

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21 Comments:

At 11:09 PM, Blogger Brian Asis said...

Hahaha, your review was a very interesting read :D I was always loved Japanese cuisine, it's crazy that for the Japanese to invent revolving sushi restaurants. We do have them here in the Philippines, but it's not comparable to what you've featured in your post.

 
At 2:00 AM, Blogger Juliet said...

Cool concept! But this is torture for me! The one food I want more than anything right now and can't have is sushi. I am drooling over that, and counting the days to my due date.

 
At 6:49 AM, Blogger christoofat said...

AS with "Pholicious" over here in Fountain Valley, it would be hard for me to enter a food place named "Sushilicious" I just........

 
At 7:54 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Brian,

I'd actually like to see what a revolving sushi would look like in the Philippines. I'm secretly hoping there's some crispy pata rolls, to be honest!

Juliet,

Your patience will be rewarded (with a child #3 and sushi at the end!) And this one is in your in-laws neck of the woods! It'll be around a while I think...at least I hope.

christoofat,

I'm sure there's a Yogurtlicious somewhere out there. I'm actually holding my breath for when a lonchera will be named Trucklicious.

 
At 10:02 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

Christoofat - I've been to the Pholicious here in Irvine run by the same people who own the FV one. I hate the name too, but I hate them more for bad spring rolls and weak pho. ;)

E, you and Anita both ate here opening week and both enjoyed it. That definitely earned it a "move to the top of the list" bookmark from me. I can make it over for lunch easily.

 
At 10:35 AM, Blogger christoofat said...

Melissa-
Exactly! Weak & diluted, and it seems they take more care on their boba drinks than the food. ick.

 
At 12:10 PM, Blogger Juliet said...

There is a favorite revolving sushi place of mine. But without the online aspect. That itself makes this place seem unique.
Dang it! Next time we are in Irvine, we're going to waste all our money eating out. :-p

 
At 4:00 PM, Blogger brekkie_fan said...

liked your Apple comparison almost as much as the Yogurtland one : )

and oh how I loved the iPods!

 
At 6:12 PM, Blogger EatTravelEat said...

Interesting read :). I thought Gen Kai who too! Very different.

I guess I'm old school as I don't have a facebook/twitter even if my friends keep budging me to...but I already have a blog! That's good enough ;)

 
At 2:32 AM, Blogger joanh said...

wow.. that is hilarious. i was thinking, what? with your opening sentence, but then i saw the photo and it all made sense! something like could really work in taipei too, me thinks

 
At 8:50 AM, Blogger Bill said...

Sound like a fun place to drop by and pig out.

 
At 10:52 AM, Blogger ila said...

great, funny review. i went on opening day and was impressed by the quality.
plus, the vibe reminds me of the conveyer belt places my grandparents used to take me as a kid back when i lived in hiroshima. daniel originally thought up of sushilicious as a kid-friendly sushi joint - hence the pastel glitz and glam.

 
At 1:33 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Melissa,

I just read Anita's review and I'm glad she liked it as much I did. I really haven't tried even half of the sushi. But it's so far so good.

Juliet,

Nah! Not a waste of money in my opinion. I think Roger Ebert recently said that the one thing he missed about going out to eat wasn't the eating but conversations and the bonds you form when you share a meal.

brekkie_fan,

I loved them iPods too! Actually, it didn't occur to me that everyone of the servers had one until you pointed it out!

ETE,

Yeah. I don't Twitter because I have this; and I have this so that I don't have to Twitter!

Joanh,

Taipei would lap this stuff up! I've never been, but I've known a lot of Taiwanese and they likes them their Hello Kitty!

Bill,

It's a fun place. There are restaurants for hard core sushi. This is not one of them.

ila,

Thanks! I struck the right cord with me too. And I could totally see how they geared it with kids in mind. I am glad they stopped with what they have now though. No purple dinosaurs please!

 
At 4:32 PM, Blogger Exile Kiss said...

Hi elmomonster,

Definitely an interesting place. Not sure if it's my cup of tea :), but it's definitely a smart idea (making Kaiten Sushi cleaned up for the i-Generation).

Are most of the orders 2 pieces? The one close-up pic you have shows what looks like a full Crazy Roll of some sort (rather large).

 
At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Kelly von Hemert said...

OK, I've got to leave my snobusive omakase ways at the door: this stuff looks so good! And looks like a good time.

Incidentally, my fave sushi chef, James Hammamori, was one of the original revolving sushi pioneers.

 
At 1:41 AM, Blogger Pepsi Monster said...

Wow! You went to the Su-sh!

I was planing go down there too as well on the soft opening. Caught up on the few things that day. I'm glad Daniel took an active role in promoting his place. Even taking the social media role in talking to his customers. I wish him the best of luck in his venture.

Glad you hit down south for this Elmo!

 
At 11:59 AM, Anonymous San Antonio Employment Lawyers said...

Looks like a great place to grab some sushi. Interesting review.

 
At 4:56 PM, Blogger That's Ron said...

United colours of sushi!!!

that is awesome!

 
At 5:23 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Exile Kiss,

You might enjoy it, actually, if you can get past its Hello-Kitty-goes-to-CES-ness Most of the gunkan maki and nigiri are two pieces. But the rolls (maki sushi) usually number in four. Even the soft shell crab roll, actually.

Kelly,

Hamamori once did a kaiten? WOW! That I'd love to see. But seeing as how he charges an arm and a leg these days, I'm afraid, I'm very afraid.

Pepsi,

Actually, it wasn't much of trip for me to try Sushilicious. I live practically blocks away!

San Antonio Lawyer,

Yes. Yes it is.

Ron,

Yes. Yes it is awesome! ;-)

 
At 6:40 AM, Blogger kelly said...

Edwin,
I just reread this post and love it even more the second time around the conveyor belt! Lovely, fun writing. The soy paper rolls look so good in the photos and the collages add alot. Did you use picnik.com for the collages?

Yeah, James Hammamori was one of the pioneers, but I'm with you on the high price point.

 
At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Cookie Sleuth said...

Looking forward to trying this soon! The pictures are great. It's right next to Paradise Perks, which I will be reviewing soon (http://www.cookiesleuth.com).

 

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