Friday, April 29, 2011

ICHI UMI: Get Ready to Eat.

If you are an sushi-lover, Ichi Umi is a great option.  But if you are a sushi-lover who loves to eat sushi (and Asian food) in mass quantities for a low price, Ichi Umi is a freakin' dream come true.
Ichi Umi's sushi and Asian food buffet is nearly the length of a city bock.  Located at 6 East 32nd Street, this cavernous restaurant features nearly 200 different dishes and seats 600 people.  
Ichi Umi is all about quantity (although the quality is quite good too, I assure you).  Lunch costs $18.95 per person Monday-Thursday, and $21.95 per person Friday-Sunday.  Dinner costs a bit more: $28.95 Monday-Thursday and $31.95 Friday-Sunday.  Let me remind you that "per person" means UNLIMITED access to the GIANT buffet.  Yeah.  This place offers a damn good deal.  Also, this place is worth going to just for the spectacle.  It's like finding the El Dorado of sushi.
Let me give you some advice about dining at Ichi Umi.  First off, if you are someone who likes food but is on a diet, LEAVE NOW!! RUN AWAY!!  Unless you have an absurdly large amount of self-control, you will not be able to resist trying all of the 30 or so different sushi rolls that Ichi Umi has to offer.  
Second, I suggest taking a moment to mentally prepare yourself for the impending meal before you approach the buffet table.  It's length and variety is, quite frankly, daunting.
You're going to need to go to the buffet in rounds.  I'd suggest starting at the sushi-end.  Inch slowly down the the length of the buffet.  By the end of the sushi section, I guarantee you your plate will be laden with rolls.  Now retreat -- back away from the table and go enjoy your sushi.  The restaurant offers free unlimited refills of soft drinks, so enjoy that too (Warning though: they only have Diet Pepsi, NOT Diet Coke).  After you finish off your sushi, take a breather.  You've still got a lot ahead of you, soldier, so pace yourself.
Next comes the Cold Salads, and there are a lot of them. They've got everything from sashimi salad to spinach salad, from squid salad to jellyfish salad.  These dishes can be odd, though, and I personally like to stick to what I know.
Then we have the Cold Entrees.  There are a variety of tartares and tatakis, but honestly, this section is not a must-visit.  Get over to the hot food.
What I've found is that Ichi Umi has, well, everything.  I mean, they've got a sections solely dedicated to fried dishes, soups, and yakitori.  You name it ("it" being Asian), they have it.  In the mood for razor clams?  Check.  Some tempura, perhaps? Yup.  How about whole roasted fish?  Sure thing.  Dumplings?  Hell yeah.  Most importantly, though, Ichi Umi has a kick-ass chicken teriyaki.  Cut into small pieces and both crispy yet saucy, this teriyaki is simple and downright good.  A must have.  
Ichi Umi's desserts aren't particularly tempting, unless you're into jello and fruity little Asian pastries.  I wouldn't waste my time on desserts -- if you think you have room left in your stomach, just go try another dish. You should, however, take a second to read the names of some of these confections:  Would you like some Blueberry Delight?  How about Lemon Delight Cake?  
Sometimes, in life, you just get a craving for Asian food or sushi.  Next time this happens, don't even think twice.  Go to Ichi Umi and I guarantee you'll leave fully satisfied (although probably not wanting to eat Asian food for a month).  Worth it.
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