Sushi Topia

So, we're sitting at Sushi Topia, downtown Salem next to La Capitale, watching sushi travel by on a conveyor belt. My wife is looking over the menu and says to the server that she would like to order the tempura shrimp. The guy goes down to the end of the conveyor belt, finds what she ordered and brings it back to her. The whole point of her ordering it was so that the item would be hot and fresh. We saw these same crustaceans roll by before and had already passed up on them. I guess we should not have expected anything more from $1.50 sushi "all day" at Sushi Topia on State Street. We did expect the guy to bring the ice tea and miso soup that she also ordered which never arrived. This put a damper on our dinner and might explain why on a Saturday night the place was empty except for one other table. I'll have to say, for $1.50 the sushi was not so bad. The portions were generous but the choices limited. Again, $1.50 for anything on the sushi carousel. The atmosphere bordered on strange, with a video monitor playing a movie, entirely ignored by the hungry patrons. Maybe free movies is a perk for working there? The good thing is that we got out of there without spending too much money.

With money being tight for lots of folks out there, it seems like restaurants are slashing prices to draw in customers to their tables. If effort is made to prepare the food with care and quality I will gladly give up on the atmosphere part. Watch whatever movie you want. The server at Sushi Topia told me that it was unusual that the restaurant was empty and that the busiest time was during the lunch hour on weekdays. That would make sense in that the Marion County Courthouse is right across the street. I can imagine this place does well with people seeking a cheap, healthy and quick bite to eat on a busy schedule. I have thought about whether or not I would go back and my only answer is that I would not rule it out.



9 comments:

Sam I Am said...

I was dissapointed with my first visit at Sushi Topia, but I, too, didn't rule out a second visit. But that second visit only confirmed my initial reaction. I won't be going back. I'll happily stick with Sushi Kyo, yum!

alvaonthego said...

If you're looking for good dollar sushi minus the atmosphere I would recommend california monster roll that opened up across from the statesman journal. Comparing the two I just have to say I'm not a fan of the conveyor belt at sushi topia because of all it represents.

Rebekah said...

I had approximately the same experience both times I was there. The miso is good if you can get it, but last time they never brought it. I also had to ask for my water three times and got it just before I was done eating. I guess I wouldn't totally rule it out for a cheap snack, but I would go regularly if they just had some decent service. I definitely prefer Sushi Kyo for my sushi train needs!

Anonymous said...

The sushi was OK and cheap, but half the food didn't have covers and one of the plates of food I picked had a large hair in it...probably won't go back. Try California Monster Sushi

Anonymous said...

I have ate there twice. Both times were mid-day around 2 pm. I was one of two customers both times. The sushi all looked like it had been around a while. Very average food, nothing special at all. The service wasn't bad, but not the most efficient.

I will not go back after two average experiences

Anonymous said...

I went to Sushi Topia almost daily until I found newly-serving-sushi spot California Monster Sushi at 635 Chemeketa St NE. Honestly so much better. Everything is made fresh, and it is even cheaper than Topia ($1!). It takes a little bit longer because everything is made to order, but I would sacrifice time for quality any day. One time a worker at Sushi Topia told me I could get my own water. Not in a rude way per se, but in a I'm-too-busy-to-serve-you way... Anyway to all readers who enjoy sushi, I highly recommend giving CMS a shot.

Anonymous said...

I went to California Monster Sushi today since me and my girlfriend had the day off and it was a good thing we didn't have other plans. It took over an hour for us to have lunch. It was honestly the worst service I've ever suffered through. I had to ask twice to get water, they forgot my girlfriend's miso and salad but we were so disappointed in the experience we were just ready to get out of there. On the plus side, the sushi was pretty good and they do let you call ahead to pick up food. All things considered though, I think I'll be sticking with Sushi Kyo...

Anonymous said...

My wife and I went there tonight for dinner at around 7 on a Wednesday night. One of 3 parties there (1 family w/ kids, another couple, and us.) We were greeted and sat by the young lady who attended to the customers. Avatar was playing on the giant flat screen overlooking the dining room. A little quirky, but we went with it.

Besides, we were hungry and dug right in, grabbing things that looked good right off the belt. However, as we were eating, we then noticed plates going by that didn't have covers (roughly about 1/3 of them). I don't know if they just don't have enough of them or what, but it was a little unsettling.

I wondered how that could possibly pass a health inspector's visit with a passing grade, and my wife said, "we'll see if I get a stomach ache later."

The food was VERY delicious though, and cheap too. Aside from the belt sushi, we ordered both the Big Crunch roll and the shrimp Tempura. Both were well done, fresh, and delicious. However, the tempura wasn't accompanied by any sort of traditional tempura dipping sauce (tentsuyu)...in fact, our waitress didn't even know such a thing existed for tempura. (Sadly, we were offered Teriyaki sauce instead.)

Overall, I feel that this place shines as a great example of somewhere to go for very little money, or perhaps a quick lunch place: The food is great AND cheap. As for its decor, staffing, and seating...it just isn't nice enough for a nice dinner out.

Jia said...

Just when I thought it couldn't get worse, it did.
I've a disproportionate amount of bad experiences versus good ones here and I will definitely not give it another try. The only reason to even go to this place is for the price of 1.50 per plate.

They have since changed this and now it is 1.50 or 2.50 a plate, which is still way too much to pay for the quality of their food.

I walked in yesterday and it was terrible. The sushi rice was mush. I had to stay and buy two more plates before I could use my credit card. They have a $4 limit on cards and I didn't bring cash.

When I told the manager that the rice was too mushy, his reply was "I must have put too much water in the rice".

I was so disappointed. There is absolutely no reason to eat at this place when there are so many better options in town. I can still remember the texture of that rice in my mind.

Awful.