Kelly the Culinarian: Food find: Sushi Para

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Food find: Sushi Para

What's better than sushi? All you can eat sushi, of course! Sushi Para has a bit of a cult following in the Chicagoland area. Located on Dundee Road in Palatine, the little eatery is easy to miss. While inside, the environment is pretty standard and perhaps forgettable. But the sushi is a great deal.

Here's how it works: the dinner special is $16.99 per person and includes all you can eat rolls and sushi, but if you can't finish everything your ordered, they charge you for it. So the key is to come hungry and order small because you can always get more later.

Tim had been to this joint a couple of times and suggested it when I said I had a serious craving for sushi. I hadn't eaten in and months, so I wanted to try different things. But first, I had to make sure this place was OK -- after all, it is a buffet place. First of all, there wasn't any smell at this place; good sushi should never smell like fish. Also, everything appeared clean and the posted health rating for the joint was 87 out of 100 -- not perfect, but I can deal.


So here's what you see, starting with the plate on the left: There's salmon sushi on the left and eel sushi on the right. In the middle, the roll is the Pop-up Roll, which has spicy salmon, crab, shrimp, cucumber and avocado inside with tempura chips and tobiko on top. In the background is the Sapporo Roll, which has crab meat, avocado and cucumber inside with spicy tuna on top.

The plate on the left has salmon, tuna and eel sushi on the left. The roll next to that is the Mountain Roll with avocado and cucumber inside with spicy sauce and tuna on top. In the middle is the standard Philadelphia Roll with salmon, cream cheese and scallion and the last roll is the Volcano Roll. That had spicy yellowtail, spicy tuna and spicy salmon inside with tobiko and chili sauce on top.

I thought the rice on all the rolls was a little undercooked, but Tim said he thought it was fine. I was impressed at the freshness of all of the seafood components; there was no odor or discoloration in any of the fish and they were all firm and clear. There also wasn't a ton of filler in the form of rice and veggies, which I almost expected for the price we were paying. The only other complaint I had was that my spicy rolls weren't all that spicy. I really liked the volcano roll because of the variety of heat provided by the different spice sources. The favorite on my plate (the one on the right) was the pop-up roll.

The service and atmosphere here sucks, but you get what you paid for and all that cost goes towards what you're putting in your mouth. According to the menu, Tim and I got at least $25 worth of sushi per person and enjoyed every bite. I recommend this place, but remember what Anthony Bourdain taught us in Kitchen Confidential: Never order fish on a Monday.

14 comments:

daphne said...

yum. Volcano roll huh? with Yellowtail! now that's impressive, especially for that price. Certainly 16.99 is a really good price for sushi buffet! The name "pop up sushi" is quite hilarious and I wonder what's the connection between crab and it being "popped up"? LOL

savvy savorer said...

i know a place like that in Toronto.
I love it!

New Kid on the Blog said...

wow - sushi!!!

Retno Prihadana said...

Wouw..Kelly, I love sushi. All you can eat sushi cost 15 €uro in Hamburg.

Asha said...

Never tried Sushi, don't think I ever will! Sad, I know!!:D

Susan said...

Hi Kelly! Looks like you found a seriously good sushi place. I just finished The Zen of Fish and I highly recommend it if you are interested in reading about sushi. About the soymilk in my mac n cheese post, I wouldn't use vanilla flavored soymilk in the recipe...that would be too weird, even for me! I think it's funny that "vanilla" flavor is achieved by adding more sugar.

Tracy Tan said...

i love sushi! i can eat loads at one go.

Meg Wolff said...

My favorite used to be "maguro" (tuna)...now it is vegetarian...I really LOVE natto rolls, or shitaki! Great post Kelly.

the pleasantly plump vegan said...

pre-vegan days, what Anthony Bourdain taught me about food was word.

pass me some vegan sushi and i'm set!

Erin said...

I'll definately have to try this place out! My husband and I order sushi like linkebackers and usually spend about $70. This would save us a lot of dough!

Matthew said...

i like sushi!

just to emphasize,

sushi: i liek it.

Mansi Desai said...

I have always loved the way sushi looks!! i think its time I tried making veg sushi at home...looks like u had a good time Kelly:)

Taylor said...

If you can't finish it all, can you slyly stash it in your pocket/purse/bag? That's what I'd do.

People St.Clair said...

all of this looks delicious!!!!