Rolling Out Eugene’s Sushi Scene
A brief rundown of local sushi joints.
Words by Hannah Bonnie, Photos by Delaney Engle
Small plates with colorful sashimi and sushi rolls cut into bite-size pieces glide along a revolving belt. Diners at Sushi Island sit around this conveyor belt, occasionally taking one of the small plates of sushi that catch their eyes. The restaurant is relatively cramped, but it is conveniently located for students at E. 13th Street and Patterson.
Sushi: Who knows how long the fish has been revolving around the restaurant?
Price: Different colored plates signal different prices, ranging from $1.50 to $4.50. During the restaurant’s Happy Hour, which is every night from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m., most plates are $1.50. In total, I spent $6 without including the tip.
Variety: The menu is relatively simple, filled with your basic sushi restaurant items.
What Makes it Original: Again, it has a train of sushi that encompasses the entire restaurant. Something I found interesting is that when you ask the waiters for a specific roll off the menu, they bring it out to you exactly as pictured on the menu.
Lit by twinkling white strands of lights, the dim lighting makes Sushi PURE have a peaceful atmosphere. With a fish tank and sushi bar at the counter, the rest of the restaurant is filled with large black tables. Located in the 5th Street Public Market, PURE is fancier than many other sushi places in town, and the one you would definitely want to take a date to.
Sushi: The entire meal was fantastic – I didn’t want to stop eating. Sushi PURE is one of the better places to get fresh and tasty fish.
Price: PURE is on the more expensive-end. My entire meal was around $32, much pricier than Sushi Island.
Variety: The menu at this restaurant screams variety with its sections of specialty rolls, rolls for spicy tuna lovers, rolls for snow crab lovers, fried rolls, etc.
What Makes it Original: Instead of the typical white rice, Sushi PURE makes its rolls with a mixture of white and black rice. This gives each roll a purple tinge, and the addition of black rice makes the sushi healthier with lower cholesterol.
In the Whiteaker neighborhood at 3rd Street and Van Buren in Eugene is a food truck that serves something called a Sushi Burrito. The food cart, Subo, originated from a small restaurant in Springfield: Unami. Both serve this wondrous creation of a giant burrito-sized sushi roll, wrapped in either seaweed or rice paper.
Sushi: This is probably some of the best sushi I’ve had in Eugene. Every bite is so flavorful and because the roll is so large, every bite is a different delicious combination of fish and veggies.
Price: All the burritos come in half-size, as well as full-size. The full-size ranges from $8 to $17. It can be a tad pricey, but in my opinion, it is totally worth it.
Variety: There are so many different rolls and it is hard to decide on one. All of them are so different and creative.
What Makes it Original: The location and the truck itself has a great vibe. Plus, it serves sushi nachos, sushi rolls the size of burritos, and the #Bacon that is a giant sushi roll with, well, bacon – what isn’t original about this place?
Also in the Whiteaker area at 541 Blair Boulevard, the word “Mamé” is painted neatly on a green door of a small building. If you drive by too quickly, you might miss this sushi restaurant. Inside are only a couple tables, nine at most, and a sushi bar.
Sushi: I recommend asking the waitress for recommendations or just letting the sushi chef work his magic, which is what I did here. This place has some of the best tasting fish in Eugene that is both fresh and flavorful. The rolls themselves were so big – I had to eat them in two bites.
Price: Mamé is on the more expensive-end, but you are getting what you pay for. In a Tasting Meal that is about $50, you get seven courses of mostly sushi and small plates. The three rolls I ordered totaled up to around $40.
Variety: Not much variety on the physical menu, since sushi rolls aren’t listed. Instead, they are written out on a chalkboard in the restaurant, and this list changes every day.
What Makes it Original: Mamé is a delicious hole-in-the-wall sort of joint. You must get a reservation to be guaranteed a table, since there is little seating. It has an intimate and quirky vibe, and I recommend it for people who are looking for something new.