The Boston Phoenix
September 21 - 28, 2000

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JJ Sushi

New fish in a hidden pond

by Rob McKeown

on the cheap
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  • Fusion Express, September 7
  • Pemberton Farms, August 31
  • Herrera's Mexican Grill, August 24
  • Things seldom change at the Chinatown Eatery. This ramshackle second-floor food court is like a secret ventricle in the heart of Chinatown, invisibly supporting the area's culinary life. So when one of its counter-service food stalls changed hands, it was big news. One day there was a Thai place, the next an immaculate Japanese sushi depot named JJ Sushi.

    JJ Sushi sticks out because it's by far the brightest, most orderly-looking counter of the bunch. Slabs of tuna, shrimp, and even tofu are arranged with soldierly precision under a see-through shield. Dry-erase boards list around 80 variations on raw fish, from the basic (California roll) to the veggie (Japanese pickle roll) to the prized (sea urchin).

    The chef-owner offers only three things that aren't sushi: two salads and the obligatory miso soup. By keeping his focus tight, he manages to turn out an impressive array of sushi at cut-rate prices, with just enough creativity and spark to warrant attention. A basic sashimi platter ($7.95) delivers six luscious slabs of salmon, hamachi, mackerel, and maguro. A Dallas roll ($4.50) wraps seasoned rice around a spicy tangle of salmon, mayo, and shrimp. Ebisu ($4.50) consists of several butterfly shrimp sprinkled with sesame seeds and spritzed with a sweet and vinegary sauce. Miso soup ($1.25) is comfort food: bland, but in a good way. So do the math: lack of pretense plus commendable sushi at low prices equals frequent visits. May change come slowly.

    JJ Sushi , located at 44-46 Beach Street in Boston's Chinatown Eatery, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call (617) 542-7204.

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