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Tuesday, April 13, 2004
I just got back from Sushiland. The first time I went to this cafe in Beaverton, I thought I was being led into a pet store by mistake. A large, neon sign on the outside reads MARINEPOLIS in huge letters and sushiland in tiny letters.
I've since visited several sushi joints around town but this is the only one with a conveyor belt. Diners sit around a large, circular bar with chefs in the middle. As they toss around large knifes and play with flame throwers, tiny, color-coded plates make the rounds. A green plate costs $1 and pink runs a cool $1.50. There's also the mysterious $2.50 purple plates but they're few and far between.
A trip to Sushiland is always an adventure. The plates aren't labeled so its hard to tell what's what. From a distance and underneath a foggy, plastic cover, the cooked items all look the same. By the time it gets close enough to distinguish their true identity, there's only a scant second or so to snatch it off the conveyor. You're also competing with everyone else. It's not uncommon to waste 30 seconds watching one of a plates like a hawk only to have it snatched by the customer next to you.
As much as I love these bars there's one little problem: I don't like sushi. Fortunately, Sushiland also offers miso soup, fried bean rolls, green tea ice cream and, best of all, EEL! Qeue the Ween song:
"I can not repeal
the words of the golden eel"
When I took my seat at Sushiland today, a mechanical cartoon advertisement on the conveyor belt cheerfully informed me that today was eel day. "ALL EEL! $1!" While this may sound revolting, eel is one my top three favorite meats (behind buffalo and whatever hot dogs are). It tastes like a strange combination of tuna and chicken. Brushed with teriyaki sauce and on a tiny bed of rice, these things are edible heaven.
I took a chance on a plate of mysterious fried balls covered in chocolate sauce for desert. The outside tasted like a warm donut but the inside was filled with cold vanilla custard. How can something be both hot and cold at the same time? Whatever these things are called, they're a whole new taste sensation.
More Portland restaurants should incorporate these conveyor belts. If there was an Italian place in town with one, I'd eat there every night.