Shinju Sushi

In Mexico we have a word for sushi:  bait.”  Jose Simon

Eatery:   Shinju Sushi, 164 Pearl Street, New York NY

It all started when we lived in London.  Husband and I got into this habit of dining at our local curry house on Friday evenings, and Friday night thus became Curry Night.  Then, when we moved to New York, we began visiting the sushi restaurant just behind our building on Monday nights.  So, Monday night became Sushi Night.  There was no reason whatsoever for the designated night or restaurant choice – they were just these little habits that became enshrined as “official” nights for certain cuisine, and it’s somehow always exciting when the designated night rolls around.  The e-mail exchange on Mondays goes something like this:

Husband: “How is your day going?”

Me:  “Fine – the same as all others. How is yours?”

Husband: “It’s ok.  Sushi tonight?”

Me:  “Yay – sushi!!!”

Husband:  “Yay!! Xx”

We are exceptionally easy people to entertain.

A few months ago we found Shinju Sushi, a cheaper alternative in our neighborhood to the fancier place we used to visit regularly.  To be honest, I don’t really enjoy eating here – the setting is low on ambiance and Shinju seems to do most of its dinner business as deliveries, so there are rarely more than two other people in the restaurant whenever we visit.  The place is so quiet, in fact, that we routinely walk in during the siesta of one staff member (she literally puts her head on a table near the front of the restaurant to take a nap).  Our Shinju visits are more of a means to get good sushi at a reasonable price than they are dining “experiences,” and the food is a good enough value that I feel a bit compelled to talk about it here.

In true boring married couple fashion, Husband and I have a protocol at this restaurant.  We always order the same three things – spicy crunchy salmon cut roll, spicy crunchy tuna cut roll, salmon sashimi.  We keep things sexy by adding a different “special” roll each week.  Woo-hoo!!  This week, the special roll was Salmon Love Roll.   Once the food arrives, we practice this sort of eating-in-tandem thing, with each of us having one piece of the same type of sushi at the same time.  This prevents the confusion of not remembering how many of what item we have each eaten and keeps everything fair and square.   Here is how it plays out:

ACTION:  Husband picks up a piece of spicy tuna roll; I follow by doing the same.  We each eat our piece.

Me:  “What are you going to choose next?”

Husband: “I don’t know – what would you like to have next?”

Me:  “I don’t know – you choose!  I don’t feel like making decisions.”

ACTION:  Husband selects a piece of salmon sashimi; I follow by doing the same.  We each eat our piece of sashimi. 

Repeat this scene over and over, and you can visualize how the meal progresses (though we do vary the dialogue).  As oddball as this probably sounds, it has become such a comfortable and familiar ritual that we actually kind of avoid eating sushi with other people because outsiders probably would not take kindly to following our unwritten rules – and the stress created by risking an imbalance on the sushi platter seems like too much to bear.

“The Usual” with Salmon Love Roll

I am not as adept as discussing sushi as I am about dissecting the merits and demerits of food that is fattening, so this food description may seem quite basic – certainly paling in comparison to the drama of the sushi liturgy.  Essentially, I like this place because the fish is fresh and tasty, the prices are quite reasonable considering we are in Manhattan, and we quite enjoy that the waitresses know what we want when we walk in the door – except, of course, for the ever-rotating “special roll” that only gets selected on the day.  And they execute the various dishes well; the spiciness and texture are just right.


I especially enjoy the salmon sashimi – I like the freshness and the thick, rhombus-shaped pieces they

Salmon Sashimi at Shinju Sushi (photo by MJ Byers)

serve (as opposed to our former Monday night sushi place, which sliced the sashimi into longer, thinner pieces).  Other favorites are the Salmon Love Roll (spicy salmon, crunch and avocado inside, topped with salmon and black tabiko) and Sweet Heart Roll (spicy tuna and crunch topped with tuna).  One of these occasionally comes with its constituent pieces shaped like little hearts, but I can’t remember which one it is.

Price:  $28.35 before tax for one spicy tuna roll, one spicy salmon roll, one Salmon Love Roll and six pieces of salmon sashimi.

Destination Meal:  The lack of atmosphere forces me to say no, but definitely worth a visit if you’re in the neighborhood.

Healthy vs. Tasty:  Definitely selected for taste with health rewards a fortunate side benefit.

Full-O-Meter:  As full as sushi ever gets you…..we’re typically quite satisfied with what we order.

Today’s Weigh In:  Are you kidding? There is no friggin’ way I’m weighing myself right after Thanksgiving.

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  1. Brynn says:

    Cool blog,looking to communicate

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