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Downtown sushi joint disappoints

Andrew Hahn

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Recently UE Kara Grill opened on C St. between Eighth and
Ninth Ave. making it a convenient lunch option for City College students and staff, especially those who are time and money conscious.

I
know I’m not the only one who is tired of spending $8 on
cafeteria sushi, yet continues to purchase it because of a need for a quick sushi fix. If you know what
I’m talking about, then UE Kara could be the sushi restaurant you have
been waiting for.

The
first time I went to UE Kara I was happily surprised with the weekday lunch specials, which feature three different rolls for $6 each.

I visited on a Tuesday and ordered the albacore special which
has artificial crab and avocado inside with cuts of albacore tuna on top. Isn’t it strange that artificial crab
meat has become so socially accepted that
most places just refer to it as crab, ignoring the fact that it is
actually a type of fish?

I also ordered a bowl of edamame for $2 that was about
as good as you could expect for the price; a freezerific appetizer.  

Of
course not all sushi is the same and the difference between gourmet
sushi and cheap sushi is huge in terms of price, range of flavor and freshness. UE Kara is not a high-end sushi
restaurant, but the prices are not high either.  

My
second visit to the restaurant was after 3 p.m. when they stop offering
the lunch specials and charge full-price. I ordered the Las
Vegas roll, the Lion King roll and another bowl of
edamame but this time I ended up paying $25, which defeats the
purpose of cheap sushi.

Even more disappointing was the presentation of these sushi rolls, that were less like traditional sushi and more like rice-wrapped “McNuggets.”  These rolls were both stuffed with cream cheese, deep-fried,
covered in mayonnaise and spicy ketchup, then topped with shaved jalapeño. The albacore special was decent but these rolls were absolutely
repulsive.

These
rolls represent the westernization of Eastern ideas being taken too
far. Somewhere beyond the point of recognition, after losing all
virtue in the deep-fry, you find franken-sushi sitting amongst sweet-and-sour
pork, Hello Kitty memorabilia and miracle seaweed-ginseng supplements
that cure American discontent and cancer.

My
advice is to check out UE Kara for the lunch special and try
to keep your order simple. If the roll has some type of raw fish on
top, that is a good sign. If it has nacho cheese or whipped cream with sprinkles, then order at your own discretion.

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Downtown sushi joint disappoints