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Sushi Bowl: A sensational start

There is a new sushi restaurant in town! More than just another Wasabi and Itsu, Sushi Bowl in the Covered Market is a well-located new spot for a roll or poke bowl on the go. On the corner of the Covered Market, next to the fruit stand and Sartorelli’s, the restaurant opened fairly recently yet has already been getting busier and busier. I stopped by on a Saturday afternoon in search of a little treat to celebrate finishing my collections.

Sushi Bowl had only been open for a few hours by the time I arrived on their opening day. The fish looked fresh and bowls were flying out the door. I was most intrigued by the salmon poke bowl displayed on the counter – pieces of salmon and avocado arranged into a flower-like swirl on top of warm sushi rice. They had other bowls with more ingredients, but I thought the salmon-avocado bowl best fit my cravings. Sushi Bowl also has a refrigerated shelf offering other Japanese foods: steamed and fried gyoza, mochi with ice cream, and even fried chicken. All the food was made fresh and some even fresh to order, with veggie options in both sushi and sides. 

Sushi Bowl is a grab-and-go restaurant, with the fridge and counter taking up most of the space on the corner. Compared to most of the other restaurants’ large seating areas within, it certainly was cramped, with the only seating being some small tables outside of the restaurant. The indoor space was still cozy, well-lit, and it was certainly entertaining to watch people come and go outside. Unlike Wasabi and Itsu, which make their food in the morning and set it out until the night, Sushi Bowl consistently cooked throughout the day and was willing to make food on the spot, which alleviated my worries of having unfresh fish. 

The owner, Yaning Xiao, was just setting out samples of her chicken gyoza. The tantalizing savory scent had me take a bite; immediately I was hooked. The gyoza had umami and a bit of broth, with a crunchy outside – just what a gyoza should be. I ordered a full order of six  immediately and Xiao quickly made a batch of gyoza for me. They were hot out of the fryer and stayed warm on a chilly day all the way to Christ Church Meadows. Despite being a rush job, the gyoza were just as good as the sample. The sushi bowl’s rice was not too sticky, and the fish was cold and fresh, with the perfect texture. Paired with the avocado and a bit of soy sauce, it was delicious and not too heavy on sauce like many other sushi bowls. The fact that the bowl didn’t have mayonnaise made me feel like it was more authentic. The overall experience of ordering and eating good sushi in less than ten minutes was phenomenal, and I was so happy to catch the restaurant on its first day.

Xiao and her husband run Sushi Bowl as a family business. Their daughter attends university here; the restaurant is connected to the community. You can see the love they have for both their business and their craft in every dish. The owners source Scottish salmon and pacific tuna, pairing high-quality ingredients with great techniques learned from years in the restaurant business. Their bowls and dishes are more than just your standard Itsu, and for not too expensive of a price tag (£10 for a bowl is only a few pounds more than Wasabi for a higher quality, quick meal). The gyoza was a bit expensive, but the taste made up for it. If you’re in the Covered Market, why not stop by just to try one of their side dishes, or make a quick meal of it – you can’t go wrong!

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