Auston Li / Sun Contributor

April 27, 2017

The Return of Sushi to Cornell Dining

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Cornell Dining has added Wegmans sushi to its array of quick café options, now served at practically every café on campus. In the past, Cornell has served Sushi with Gusto in its various cafés, but that brand has been absent for just over a semester. As a result, one of the only sources of sushi from a Cornell eatery available this spring was the Miyake sushi from Mac’s.

I tried out the Big Red Roll, the sushi Wegmans developed just for Cornell, which costs $11.99. The Big Red Roll contains eight pieces of sushi, each with salmon, cream cheese, cucumbers, and avocado in the center, topped with salmon marinated with a chili garlic sauce. Each roll also comes with three different packets: “real Japanese” wasabi, premium sushi ginger and gluten-free, low sodium soy sauce.

The packaged wasabi has the typical bite that you come to expect with wasabi, but it leans toward the blander side. The ginger packet contains a bit of brine, and comes out yellow and a bit slimy. Put together with the different sauces, the sushi tastes pretty average. The flavor profile of the salmon and avocado are very pronounced, and it pairs well with the smoothness of the cream cheese and the freshness of the cucumber.

While this sounds very promising, the sushi is ultimately let down by the poor quality of rice. Because the rolls are refrigerated for long periods of time, the rice loses a lot of moisture and its texture becomes rather unpleasant. With the rice being such an important component of sushi, and with the Wegmans sushi doing a rather poor job of maintaining the texture of the rice, the Wegmans sushi simply does not satisfy the taste buds.

When viewed among its competitors like the Grab-N-Go items, Wegmans sushi is decidedly average. As its predecessor, Sushi with Gusto, was of rather abysmal quality, Wegman’s sushi does come out on top. However, when you compare the new sushi offerings with the other Grab-N-Go options, such as the wraps, salads and sandwiches, they don’t have that much appeal over them other than being a change in food style. The portion size of the sushi is comparable to the other choices, but its price can be easily 50 to 100 percent more, and sushi generally takes a bit more fuss to consume with the chopsticks and sauce packets. Although the Wegmans sushi is slightly superior to the other Grab-N-Gos in terms of flavor, there isn’t enough difference to make up for its failings in the other departments.

When considering price, flavor and convenience, the new sushi from Wegmans is relegated to being a snack or meal that can tide you over, but it definitely should not be the first choice you look for when you’re buying food at a Cornell eatery.

Overall rating: 3/5