For a while now, UC Irvine and its surrounding community has had but two food delivery options: pizza, the old standby, and sushi. That's right, sushi. And it's not even just one sushi delivery service. Two different sushi storefronts compete for hungry student money: DelSushi and Ippo Sushi. Both locations deliver into the wee hours of the night, offer a comparable menu at a similar price point, and serve the same area, though Ippo Sushi has a slightly larger delivery range. If you've got a hankering for sushi or have eaten all the pizza you can take, which sushi joint do you order from? Below, I evaluate the two on quality, taste, and delivery time.
Quality and Taste:
For a proper comparison, I ordered a spicy tuna roll and a baked salmon roll from each shop. DelSushi and Ippo Sushi offer nearly identical spicy tuna rolls; both come stuffed with more tuna filling than rice, with slivers of crunchy cucumber and heat that builds and lingers. The roll is bigger at DelSushi, and the fish tastes slightly fresher.
The baked salmon roll is where the two shops diverge. A baked roll generally comes served warm–DelSushi understands this concept, Ippo Sushi does not.
Ippo Sushi's roll is a California roll at its base, enveloped by rice and strips of cooked salmon, topped with "house sauces"–a mayonnaise and a tangy, sweet sauce–and masago, or those tiny salt grenades known as fish roe. Sounds tasty enough, right?
The roll might even appeal to those who are put off by regular (and delicious) raw fish sushi, as everything is cooked. Sadly, the execution is a failure. The roll arrived room temperature, mushy, and coated with so much mayonnaise that it takes on the consistency of the sauce itself. Imagine a bowl of mayonnaise, with pieces of fake crab meat, cold strips of salmon and rice then mushed together into a log shape, topped with a tangy sauce–that's what it's like to eat this roll.
Happily, DelSushi doesn't repeat Ippo Sushi's mistakes. Their salmon roll has a California roll at its base as well, enveloped with rice and cooked salmon and an almost buttery caramelized topping, and a tangy, sweet drizzle. For one, the roll was still warm, despite the long delivery time (I'll get to that soon). The mayonnaise, while present, was not overwhelming. The sweetness of the imitation crab worked well with the mostly savory roll, while the caramelized topping made it rich. Each piece of the roll–which was markedly larger than its Ippo counterpart–didn't fall apart into a mushy mess.
Naturally, each shop includes sides of soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi. DelSushi's ginger and wasabi come in handy packets; they make portioning out the condiments easier than the typical chopsticks dance with globs of wasabi and slivers of ginger. Let's be honest: If you need sushi to be delivered to your door, easiness is a priority.
In terms of delivery, both shops have some kinks to work out. Each have streamlined online ordering processes, with confirmation emails sent after your order. They're available by phone to answer questions, too. But things should have ran more smoothly.
Ippo Sushi delivered in 45 minutes–that's reasonable, as it's the typical wait time listed on their website. However, they overcharged me, and while they claim to have refunded me, I've yet to see the return of my hungry student money.
DelSushi's delivery took an hour and 20 minutes–nearly double Ippo Sushi's time. I should note that DelSushi is a ten minute walk from my apartment. They operate a storefront where you can order takeout sushi at the counter–but delivering sushi is their namesake and I can't be bothered to put pants on after a certain hour. I called after an hour and 15 minutes to check on my order, and the lady put me on hold for a few minutes. Through the phone came Michael Bublé's voice, presumably playing on the shop radio, choked and garbled by bad telephone connection. She informed me that my sushi was on its way and they had been extremely busy. Fair enough, but I could have had pizzas delivered twice in that time frame.
Verdict: If it's past midnight, you can't be bothered to put pants on, and pizza simply will not do, go with DelSushi for the bigger portions and better quality. Otherwise, get in your car and pick up some sushi at nearby low-price sushi bars like Kula or Gatten–it's fresher and probably quicker.