I am certainly not the first person to write about Soho. I had to see what all the fuss was about. I've heard that it's the "Chipotle of sushi". That definitely has my interest. I can't see how that would be a bad critique. Why is Chipotle so successful? Because it provides an authentic food experience with controlled costs and smart choices to make the overall cost to the consumer very low. Anyone that can adopt that business model into other food types has a winner on their hands. Sushi seems like it would be the next logical choice!
The similarities cannot be ignored when you go to Soho. The same line up and order fashion is in place. Large menu board with easy to read/decide menu options and very economical pricing.
Here on the left you see my "custom roll" tempura shrimp, asparagus, scallion and cream cheese. Sriacha sauce on top. Pretty tasty! I usually never eat sushi that has cream cheese in it, but this was just delightful!
On the right is their spicy tuna roll which had a "new recipe" of mayo. It was pretty tasty.
They also have standard fare, edamame, miso soup, seaweed salad.
I was super impressed with their approach. You first get to see your rice rolled into a neat little sheet. You then Chipotle-style customize your rolls and they put every amount of effort into garnishing them that you would find at any sushi restaurant worth it's salt.
The young staff demonstrates that anyone can make sushi. It's not just for learned masters of the old school. It's for a new school of thinking also. This approach also takes some of the fear out of sushi for those new to the concept. If you went to a sushi restaurant for the first time would you want to spend $10+ for a roll you had NO idea if you'd like it? I wouldn't. I have.
With somewhat limited ingredients (they don't have everything but the kitchen sink, but they have enough) and cheap price points, you could make endless combinations!
Update - 12/31/2010
We ordered a Soho Sushi Tray for our NYE Party this year and could not have been happier! We ordered the 80 piece tray (about 8-10 rolls) for $60. It was ready by 4pm at their closing time but they were clear that they would be happy to arrange a later time to pick up if I wanted. They were very accommodating with my requests for some vegan rolls (inner) (which were quickly devoured by 2 ravenous vegans) and I gave them freedom to choose the rest of the rolls which were spicy tuna (middle) and California (outer). Everyone was very impressed with the tray as I am SURE none of them had been to a house party with a sushi tray.
Soho is going further with their commitment to making sushi more accessible to the masses in this way. Every single party that I have from now on is going to have a Soho tray (Oscar party is 2/27 - can I have a tray ready on a Sunday?). Best deal in town! Thanks Soho!