I don’t know about you, but regardless of whether I’m on a vacation or a business trip, there are bound to be days where I don’t want to spend a couple hours in a restaurant for lunch and/or dinner. I would rather pop into a place and grab something to take away. Something that will taste good by the time I get home, is made relatively quickly and is – of course – healthy. I often turn to Japanese or South East Asian fare in this regard as nothing can beat a bowl of piping hot rice noodles or a plate of mineral rich fish. At least with Asian food I feel pretty confident I can avoid dairy, and can easily skirt my way around any gluten.
While in Istanbul there were a couple of evenings where I wasn’t interested in cooking for myself and I didn’t want a long wait in a restaurant. Walking towards the Galata Tower one particular night (Beyoglu) I passed by a brightly lit restaurant with cartoon drawings of sushi, origami cranes and sumo wrestlers on a large blackboard and capital letters screaming next to them “ALL YOU CAN EAT SUSHI!” Excuse me? All I can eat? For 48 Turkish Lira (26 USD)?
Sushi Express has several locations across Istanbul that serve a variety of Japanese and Chinese dishes, from Bento boxes, sushi and sashimi to spring rolls, salads and chicken fried rice. I was tempted to go for the “all you can eat offer,” but I am aware of my limitations (my eyes are bigger than my stomach) and I was rather keen on curling up at home. I settled instead for a take away box that was composed of a funked-up California sushi roll, along with some salmon rolls and a mix of shrimp and salmon nigiri. I had a feeling the fish would be pretty damn good.
And it was. The rolls – stuffed with tuna, salmon, avocado and spring onion – had a smattering of roe on the outside and they were good. I’m normally not a big tuna person (thanks to a few unfortunate experiences in Cairo), but these rolls were highly appetizing. The shrimp was equally nice, but it was the salmon I went utterly mad for. It had that melt in your mouth quality one hopes for when ordering sushi. Wonderfully delicious.
The service at Sushi Express was quick and the place was clean. The only thing questionable was the price tag (50 TL for my sushi box), though for price-quality I would happily pay that amount again if I can get salmon that good. Hell, next time I’m going to wear my yoga pants, slap down 48 TL and go in on an empty stomach.
No doubt about it.