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Sushi With a Smile

Photo by Christopher Gardner

Bento Bits: Shin Sushi offers several lunch specials.

Shin Sushi boasts affordable lunch specials brought quick and hot to the table for diners on the run

By Bernice Yeung

WALK INTO Shin Sushi around noon on any weekday, and you'll find scads of Silicon Valley corporate types in snappy business suits on their lunch breaks, attachés spread open among the table settings. And in a strange, Asian-influenced way, the place could resemble a corporate cafeteria, with corrugated aluminum siding lining the lower walls and used to separate the sterile Formica tables. The owners of Shin Sushi definitely subscribe to the "less is more" school of interior decoration--walls are bare; earthenware is simple and unmarked by design.

Aesthetics aside, Shin Sushi's lunch special is affordable ($4.95) and brought quick and hot to your table, leaving career persons with ample time to digest before heading back the office. The lunch specials come in three variations: Choice A brings an order of chicken teriyaki, kushi katsu and four pieces of California roll with rice, soup and salad. An abridged version of the first option, choice B comes with chicken teriyaki, six pieces of California roll, soup, salad and rice. Choice C is a large bowl of chicken teri donburi with soup.

I opted for Choice C, a steaming bowl of rice topped with grilled chicken, perfectly steamed broccoli and a generous drizzle of teriyaki sauce. The meal was good, though not terribly exciting--much like the restaurant's decor.

The miso soup that accompanied the meal, however, was packed with flavor. Similarly, the dressing on my companion's salad had peppery panache.

Though I had come for the lunch special, it was the agedashi tofu--an item not listed on the lunch menu--that made the outing a success. Don't let the dinner menu's description of agedashi tofu ($4.50) scare you; the "fried bean cake in special sauce" is really delicately fried tofu in a tasty ginger-enhanced soy sauce (no ketchup and mayo concoction here). The tofu sits in a warm bath of sauce, capped with colorful shreds of ginger and green onion. Accompanied by rice, the dish makes for fine vegetarian fare.

What the walls may lack in color, the waitstaff makes up for in personality. Our waitress was eager to please, suggesting modified entrees for my vegetarian friend, and smiling enough to put McDonald's (where "smiles are free") out of business.

Shin Sushi is located in Sunrise Plaza at 664 Blossom Hill Road, San Jose, 408/224-0600. Open daily, 11am­2pm and 5­9pm.

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From the September 26-October 2, 1996 issue of Metro

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