the half-price sushi phenomenon

I need someone to explain half-priced sushi to me. There seem to be a fair number of establishments in this town that unironically advertise “sushi, 50% off, ALL DAY!” If you’re already bound and determined to sell your rolls for around $4, why don’t you just get a sign that screams “CHEAP SUSHI!”

I can think of only two answers: either they’re counting on the people who like to feel as though they’re getting a deal (“it’s half-off, I am so thrifty”) or they realize that diners will be inherently suspicious of a dragon roll that costs less than a Subway sandwich.

We’ve had two half-price sushi outings in the not-so-distant past. The first was at Hi Life, this bar on the Upper West Side. We had gotten drinks there once before and were strolling past it after seeing The Bacchae at Shakespeare in the Park. Half-priced sushi on Monday and Tuesday nights? Count us in. The sushi wasn’t spectacular, but we had four rolls for a grand total of a whopping $13.

Tonight we went to Zen Restaurant in the East Village, which is one of the aforementioned half-price-sushi-all-day joints. The sushi was inartfully rolled (I’ve rolled better sushi and I’m by no means a sushi chef) and the spicy tuna looked frightfully like ham salad, but, you know, it was cheap.


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