On our ratings scale, there is no failing grade. Any points are good points, and every restaurant is good to some degree, even if it’s not the absolute best.
We stand by this, although it puts us in an awkward position when it comes to Sushidelic, a Soho-by-way-of-Times-Square restaurant that feels like a tedious lucid dream.
We’ve given this kaleidoscopic, kawaii-inspired sushi spot a 1.0, which means we need to find a way to justify a full point. That’s harder than it sounds, but let’s see what we can do.
The decor is cool, and that’s probably why most people come here. Sushidelic’s interior is a sea of electric pink and purple, with oversized tubes of lipstick and disembodied cat heads hanging from the ceiling. In the center of the room, a conveyor belt tugs an array of shiny baubles. Up front, a host in full kawaii regalia greets guests in a way that feels vaguely apologetic.
From the moment you walk in, the place feels oddly somber, like a lifeless diorama. It’s not as fun as it should be, even once the food starts trickling in.
Sushidelic serves two nearly identical six-course menus, one for $85 and another for $95, and the nicest thing we can say about them is that they do, eventually, arrive. After roughly 30 minutes, during which you’ll begin to wonder if you’re an apparition who can no longer be seen by the living, you’ll receive your first course: a macaron filled with tuna tartare. Depending on how game you are, this may sound groundbreaking and enticing or gimmicky and off-putting. Ultimately, it’s neither. Although the macaron itself is quite good.
photo credit: Bryan Kim
photo credit: Bryan Kim
We’d say it’s all downhill after the macaron, but the experience isn’t as thrilling as a trip down a hill. It’s more of a long, flat march with occasional and unexpected visits from a server who comes bearing things like a plate of cooked salmon described as “sashimi,” and a knob of California roll topped with a tangle of imitation crab dressed in watery mayo. Opt for the more expensive menu, and you’ll be awarded a final course of stale chirashi crammed into a parfait glass with soggy potato chips and a glob of wasabi.
As a rule of thumb, spend as little as you can at Sushidelic. An $85 sake tasting might sound tempting, until you realize that it only consists of four glasses, and three of the four glasses are available à la carte, with a cumulative price of $41. Is the final glass worth $44? It very well could be. But your server won’t tell you anything about it, and there’s no evidence that this sake or any of the others, which seem to arrive at random, are intended to be paired with any of the dishes.
Look at what we’ve become. We’re complaining about the sake pairing at a place where you’re welcomed by a cartoon cat with its tongue sticking out. Does anyone expect this restaurant to be a life-changing culinary experience? Probably not. Sushidelic just wants you to have fun. But what are the odds of having fun at a spot with steep prices, bleak food, and service so absent it'll give you attachment issues? Maybe 1%, depending on your enthusiasm for pink decor. If anything, that would translate to a rating of .01, but we'll be generous and round up.