Sushi delivery in Prague has never been easier—I suppose. Sushi Time is a new sushi delivery service and take-away counter. The set-up is similar to the UK’s Yo Sushi: place your order online and within an hour, receive a tidy package complete with chopsticks and little containers of soy sauce bottled like men’s cologne. The user-friendly Web site gives an estimated delivery time and if you opt for take-out, simply enter your desired pick-up time. Easy, right?
Oh wise readers, you know that nothing is ever easy when it comes to food delivery in the Czech lands! The Sushi Time Web site maps out a free-delivery zone that encompasses the area from Prague 1, Old Town, west to Prague 6, east to Malešice, and north to Kobylisy. For those who live outside of it, delivery can be arranged for a small fee after “discussion with [their] operators.” On the day we wanted to place an order, we did just that and after much discussion and a return phone call, were told the badlands of Prague 4, Chodov, are not a serviceable area. Hmph.
At which point we ordered on-line, hitched up our wagon, and ventured into civilization (Karlín). It was obvious from the unmarked facade that the restaurant, located on Sokolovská street near the viaduct, is in its infancy. A sign indicated that it would soon be open as a full-service eatery with an additional location in Smíchov. (We’ve now learned that a Chodov Sushi Time is in the works for 2012.) We rang and were buzzed into a vestibule, no kitchen in site, where an employee in chef whites handed us our order. Maybe a red-flag if you’re after sushi perfection, but this being a take-away, our expectations weren’t high—we were grabbing a burger, not sitting down for a steak.
Using that analogy, Sushi Time is definitely on the “beefier” side. While it’s sushi that’s meant to be eaten at work or on a casual evening in, the menu does offer up a few surprises, not to mention an impressively wide selection, despite the occasional misstep. Starting with those: the tempura appetizers (tiger prawn, 90 CZK/chicken breast, 55 CZK) were heavy-handed. The thick breading brought to mind mini-schnitzel on a stick rather than airy tempura batter. This actually steered us away from the tempura rolls later. Vegetable spring rolls (50 CZK), the deep-fried, cylindrical haru maki variety, were prepared a bit more deftly and had a bright carroty bite. Then again, I recognized them from another pan-Asian Prague restaurant where I’d recently eaten.
The menu features Thai, Korean, and Vietnamese dishes, too; also an eyebrow raiser in an establishment that bills itself as a sushi place. Nonetheless, if the chicken Pad Thai (140 CZK) with its generous cubes of chicken and plenty of chili and scallion is any indication, the other non-sushi dishes on the menu—variations on glass noodles, curry noodles, udon noodles, and fried rice—should be a worthy lunch-on-the-run offering. We avoided the Korean appetizers, among them “Mandu Kimchi Son,” described as dumplings with a “Kimchi feeling”. I’m not a Kimchi lover so I doubt I would be into its cover version.
Hot and sour soup (45 CZK) was tomato-based with bits of pork and shiitake. It was evenly spiced with a good amount of chili but didn’t travel well. By the time we got it home the soup, though still hot, had developed an oily film. The Hanoi soup (80 CZK), a riff on pho, is best left alone in a city teeming with authentic Vietnamese food. None of the warm appetizers held up to reheating. Though worth sampling, we’d only recommend them if you’re dining in.
The salads are another story. Wakame (85 CZK), one among a number of fresh salads, was excellent: crisp, zesty and not overdressed. The perfect jolt of green goodness. Vegetarians and the fish-fearing will be pleased with Sushi Time’s plentiful vegetarian menu. It makes creative use of takuan, or pickled daikon radish. Sweet and crunchy takuan is put to use in faux-roe nigiri creations and simple maki. Beyond the usual avocado and cucumber maki, there’s also shiitake and asparagus varieties. Sushi can be ordered a la carte or in pre-packaged sushi sets, garnished with the requisite wasabi and pickled ginger. We selected shiomi (200 CZK) with salmon, tuna, and crab stick nigiri and salmon and shiitake maki, and yasai (215 CZK) with futo yasai, a futomaki roll of takuan, avocado, shiitake, and carrot, nigri of takuan, avocado, and fried tofu and takuan maki. The nigiri was cut uniformly and well (is there nothing worse than unwieldy sushi?) and the maki also met, if it didn’t exactly exceed, expectations. Because we couldn’t see the fish being prepared, we guessed that it was likely flash-frozen; the rice was missing a certain sweetness. And yet it all hung together, serving its purpose of satisfying our craving for a circular rice-seaweed-fish combo—imitation crab never tastes so good as it does in sushi.
The special rolls, which come four to a box, were easily our favorite. A salmon and asparagus roll (No. 3/110 CZK) bound together with cream cheese, Dijon mustard and speckled with fresh dill packed the delicate flavor of gravlax. An ordinary California roll (No. 11/75 CZK) was studded with black and white sesame seeds. Avocado and creamy, yellow Japanese mayo, nicely offset the smoky marinated eel roll (No. 6/130 CZK). The tuna roll with masago orange (No 2./145 CZK), rolled in fish roe, delivered a hint of citrus with tiny bursts of salty caviar. The desserts are a cute idea, packaged to resemble maki and special rolls and garnished with fresh fruit. But the cocoballs (90 CZK) disappointed with their bland, doughy base and stale coconut filling. Stick to the coco pudding (45 CZK), a silky coconut pudding with a mango topping, for a light finish. Sushi Time stands out largely for convenience, consistency, and its unique delivery service, a boon for English-speakers (and the phone-shy!) that may just help it edge out the growing competition.
Sokolovská 42, 186 00, Praha 8
Open: Monday–Sunday 10:30–22:00
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