On a mission to find good food on a tight budget, I came across not one, but two Sushistop restaurants on the same boulevard. Their signs posted along the sidewalk announced, “All items $2.75,” and without any hesitation, curiosity lured me inside. A server welcomed me and asked me to write my name and the number of people in my party on a piece of paper provided at the entrance. Inside the spacious, single room there is a sushi bar encircling the chefs. There is enough seating for 24 to 28 people around the bar, while more customers can wait inside the dining room or outside, where some chairs are placed along the window.
It does not take long to be seated; you can even take the time to pre-order your food so it will be ready soon after you sit down. Soy sauce, napkins, and chopsticks are placed in front of you, and the servers are ready to bring what you need.
Other than eating, you really have nothing to worry about. At Sushistop you know you’re being taken care of.
Your table space is enough for two to three dishes, and if you order more, servers will continually clear the empty dishes. They also constantly refill your cup of water, so you don’t even have time to get thirsty. Last but not least, the place is pretty quiet. Some music is played in the background but if you don’t pay attention to it, it’s not bothersome. Santa Monica College student and server Hana Paz, 20, informed me it is always an employee’s playlist.
“We understand the young generation lives on a tight budget. Low cost attracts more customers and brings more income,” explains Kazuo Kīshīguchī, a busser at Sushistop.
Thanks to the low fish market prices in Downtown Los Angeles, the chain can serve top-quality sushi to its customers. “The more you buy, the less expensive it gets,” Kīshīguchī says.
The fixed price includes everything from two pieces of sushi and sashimi, to eight original rolls and four specialty rolls. For those with bigger appetites, there are mini bowls of rice with meat, udon noodles, salads, appetizers, and even desserts. For $1.60 you can buy bottled or canned drinks, miso soup and sodas.
“I like the variety of food you’re getting for the price!” said Rita Lima, a fellow customer who works nearby.
If you are not sure what “Aburi Sushi” is, look on the wall, and a sign will be displayed with a description of the plate. The proximity of the sushi chefs also allows you to ask questions so you do not waste your time wondering if you should take a risk trying something new. That being said, what is there to lose when you get to experience new tastes without emptying your wallet?
Two Sushistops are located on Sawtelle Boulevard, north of Pico Boulevard. One is just before Olympic Boulevard near the mall where Marshalls and Starbucks are, and the other is at the cross street with Mississippi Avenue. The restaurants open at 11:30 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. everyday.
Note that it is cash only, but there is an ATM on site. If you drive to the restaurant, be aware of the street parking, and bring quarters to feed the meter. You can also pay the valet or park your car in a public parking structure. If you go by bus, the Big Blue Bus line seven will take you there in twenty minutes from Santa Monica College.