When it comes to “belt” sushi restaurants in the 541 area, the pickings are slim. Mio once had a belt, which they quickly removed after what seemed like less than a year of business, and many other eateries are sit down restaurants with a mini-belt that can seat maybe 10-15 people max.
To begin with let’s talk price. That’s what it boils down to when you’re a grad student on a budget, or you’re paying for anyone other than yourself, or if you just don’t have much to spend on luxuries that month. Yes, I wish I was at a point in my life to not call sushi a luxury, but for the most part it is. Sushi island is less expensive over all. Especially as they have Happy Hour 2-4pm 7 days a week at their West 11th location, and 5-7pm 7 days a week at their Patterson location.
Oishii has a higher price tag per plate, and does not have a Happy Hour option, at the time of this article. It is clear that Oishii attempts to take a slightly more classic approach to sushi preparation in terms of dish selection, and nigiri availability. I had not seen a Salmon Toro option anywhere else, which is salmon cut from the fattier part of the belly, giving it more flavor and more tender texture. Conversely, Sushi Island’s menu is still very americanized and what you sacrifice in price you pay for in filler. Many of their rolls are filled with Krab Mix to the max. However, at Oishii I also saw this, and in terms of true fish availability they appeared fairly on par. Though as I said Oishii had a slightly more elevated selection.
Both locations offered a menu in addition to their belt, and allows for ordering extra items and are particularly quick on delivery and preparation. However, here is where I am going to take a stand, the quality to price ratio between the two is skewed. It was apparent to this eater that the quality of fish between both locals was on par, that is extremely similar. Both were fresh, not “fishy”, flavorful, good color, and good texture. That being said, I had a hard time swallowing the price at Oishii. I have eaten at Sushi Island outside of Happy Hour, and noted that my price was not near as high as at Oishii.
Oishii’s high prices I can only attribute to their newness, and the overly large building space in its prime location in Springfield off Q st. with a lot of traffic and customer availability. Additionally, the inside is very modern including the magnetic belt.
My final say is, if you are a casual sushi eater, enjoy good quality, and exotic ingredients are not a requirement, then Sushi Island is your place. Whether that be inside or outside of Happy Hour. If you have more money to spend, and I mean an additional overall $10-$15 for a meal, and you want to try things you may not find anywhere else, and must have a belt, then Oishii is your place. I say this because many of the other locals make the items Oishii has that Sushi Island does not, but in a plate option and are a slightly better deal in money to portion ratio.