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When I think sushi, I think elegantly assembled cuts of fish on perfectly cooked and seasoned rice, typically placed on those little wooden blocks and accompanied by some ginger garnish and squeeze of wasabi. Inviting you to sit down, stay awhile.
I do not think $1 Sushi, a shoebox of a – restaurant? store? – right in the middle of the parking lot of one of the many shopping plazas on Poquonnock Road (Route 1) in Groton. Where you can get everything you want without ever getting out of the car, thanks to the drive-through window.
How good could it be? And what exactly did $1 get you? I was skeptical.
But online research turned up limited information. No website, no Yelp reviews, just a Facebook page and write-ups from a couple of local media outlets.
I would have to go.
This is probably where I should tell you that I don't actually like sashimi. But don't worry. I brought friends.
I ordered some California rolls, while my friends ordered some tuna ($1.95 apiece), salmon ($1.75 apiece) red snapper ($1 apiece) and eel ($1.95 apiece). We ate on a plastic picnic table under a tree, next to a garbage bin, not far from our car. It wasn't the most scenic of settings, but it didn't matter.
The disposable takeout boxes that the sushi came in belied the skill that lay within. The sole sushi chef, who took our order and assembled the sushi, knew what he was doing. The place was tidy and spotless. My friends said the fish he used was as fresh and flavorful as those they had paid much more for in sit-down establishments. The chef hadn't skimped on the fish, either - they were generously portioned.
My California rolls were delicious. You can get California rolls anywhere these days, but they're not all winners. These rolls featured creamy, fresh avocado, not a bruised spot in sight, and imitation crab that had been taken up a notch and made into a crab salad with some mayonnaise and seasoning. A piece of cucumber completed each roll. The rice was expertly cooked, chewy and sticky but not overly so, with just the right touch of vinegar and seasonings.
Ten items on the menu adhere to the restaurant's name and are $1 apiece, but others range from $1.35 apiece to $1.95 each. My 16-piece California rolls set me back $5.25.
I'm not sure I'll be trying raw octopus anytime soon, but I shall be back for my California rolls. And maybe some sweet tofu sushi.
The exact address is 994 Poquonnock Road, Groton.