All You Can Eat (AYCE) Sushi

 

BY MARK HYDE

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There are a few things that come to mind when sushi is mentioned. Some people think of sushi as just raw fish, and for some that is an instant turnoff. Some people--including myself--think of price, and to some that is also an instant turnoff. I for one love sushi too much to be concerned with price, however I can understand when people would rather go for something much less pricey. But what if i told you (sushi lovers specifically) that you can get all the great quality sushi your heart desires for a reasonably set price?

It seems to be becoming a trend for some local sushi spots here in Long Beach. For a set price, depending on the time of day, one can order as much sushi as one wants. Because of these places, people can leave on a full stomach without breaking the bank!

 

Octopus Lounge

Location: 200 Pine Ave. Long Beach

Yelp rating: 3.5/5 stars - 808 reviews

My rating: 3/5 stars

Located on the corner of Pine Avenue and Broadway, Octopus lounge is right next to some of the hottest bars and pubs in Downtown Long Beach. Getting there, however, could pose a problem; there is no parking lot, street parking can be challenging, and public parking garages can be pricey, but once you find parking and walk inside, you’ll feel like you’ve walked into a nightclub. There is a full bar and a wall filled with Ty Ku liqueur that separates the dining room from the bar. Its nouveau modern furniture and vibrant colors are definitely eye catching, but their all-you-can-eat deal grabs most of the attention. Monday through Friday from open to 3 p.m. the deal is $19.95 a person, and any time after that plus Saturdays and Sundays the deal goes to $24.95 a person. Instead of paying a whole lot for just a few bites, the price is set, so you can order as much sushi as your heart desires. There is also a happy hour, so you can also get a great deal on a selection of Asian imported beers, sake and other house cocktails.

But like all great deals, there is a catch. This location does not like to waste food, so if you order something off the all-you-can-eat menu and can’t finish more than half, they will charge you on top of the price deal for the entirety of that specific item. It sounds fair; why order more than you can eat? The other guideline would be that the deal is one a person. If someone is caught eating anything you order and they didn’t specify they wanted to do the deal, then they would be charged for the deal as well. These are all things that are easily avoidable. Overall, if you have a deep craving for sushi, this place will definitely satisfy that need without breaking the bank.
 

Aburi Sushi

Location: 4201 E Willow St. Long Beach

Yelp rating: 4.5/5 stars - 482 reviews

My rating: 4.5/5 stars

Although there’s not as much nightlife in this area, it’s much closer to campus. With it located right by the traffic circle and with its own parking, this place is also much more accessible. Walking inside, you’re greeted by the sushi chefs and hosts, so you also get more of a welcoming vibe. Much is the same as Octopus Lounge; they have a great all-you-can-eat sushi deal and the happy hour is appropriately priced. The only difference would be the price, with lunch being $22.99 a person and $27.99 a person for dinner.

The guidelines are exactly the same as the Octopus Lounge in terms of only one person per deal and not ordering more than you can eat, but the level of quality is raised at a higher standard. The service is spot on; the wait for food is almost nonexistent and the quality of the sushi makes the slightly higher price seem reasonable. This place just seems more convenient with the distance being closer to campus and the parking situation a bit more bearable. Overall, this place seems like the better deal of the two, and even though it’s a bit more in price, at least you would know where the money is going.

 

Maru Maki

Location: 745 E Broadway, Long Beach

Yelp rating: 4/5 stars - 823 reviews

My rating: 3/5 stars

This place had a different take on all-you-can-eat sushi. There is no flat rate for eating here, but there is a seating fee that can range up to $16 depending on what time you come in. After that, almost everything on the menu is $3 each. This isn’t exactly the idea of AYCE sushi, but it is an alternative to the flat rate locations.

You do get a small shop vibe from this place, particularly because, well, it is a small shop. Right across the street from Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles and located next to Gallagher's Pub and Grill, it’s in a prime location for people wanting to go out and eat. The parking was very accessible and it’s not too far from campus. The food was also tasty, the sushi quality was good and the portions were fair, but when you’re paying $3 per order after already paying $16 just to sit in there, your expectations are already set on it being good. This place would have been one of my top picks had they had a real AYCE sushi deal, but people like to be different. I can see how this deal can be beneficial if you were to order a large amount of food, otherwise, Octopus Lounge is not that far away.

 

There may only be three places on this list, but these deals are seeming to pop up randomly in neighboring towns, such as Cerritos, Lakewood and Carson. In the near future, its certain that there will be more sushi restaurants with all-you-can-eat deals being introduced to their menu. For now, at least, there are two places that you can rely on that will have the deal, and you will be more than satisfied.