Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Why You NEED to Visit Yo!Sushi: A Review in Short Hills (and a Giveaway)!

Have you ever heard of Yo!Sushi?  I'm sure you've heard of sushi, and chances are you either love it or you hate it (or you're scared of it, be honest). There's a new restaurant popping up in the United States called Yo!Sushi, and I assure you, it's something you must try.  Have I ever steered you wrong??  So read on to learn all about it, and enter to win a Yo!Sushi gift card at the end of this post!


Last November, Mr. Jersey Momma went on a business trip to Japan for two weeks (two weeks, seriously!!). When he returned, we were subjected to lengthy slideshows of the amazing food he ate.  I'll be honest, I knew nothing about Japanese food and had always been very reluctant to even try sushi (I thought, raw fish? Blech!).  But he helped me see the light, and taught me about some great Japanese dishes. Sushi isn't just raw fish.  There's so much more to it!  Anyway, one of Mr. Jersey Momma's photos intrigued me- the one of the kaiten-sushi, which is almost like a diner with a conveyor belt of food that went by.  Patrons sit on little stools in front of a counter, and choose their food from the conveyor belt. Each bowl in a kaiten is a different color or design, denoting the price. I thought that was so cool!   Here's a pic from one of the kaiten-sushi restaurants he visited in Japan (this is not Yo!Sushi):


Mr. Jersey Momma's kaiten photo from Japan - this is NOT Yo Sushi!

During my most recent trip to Short Hills Mall in Short Hills, New Jersey, I was totally excited to see that a new restaurant had opened there called Yo!Sushi.  They had conveyor belts, just like the kaiten in Japan!!  I knew I had to try it, and I knew I had to bring The Jersey Momma's Boy (who would just love the conveyor belt concept), and Mr. Jersey Momma (who could tell me what to eat).  The fab folks at Yo!Sushi found out about my enthusiasm and invited me in to give it a try. Can I tell you how excited I was? There aren't even words.

Yo!Sushi Short Hills

Where is Yo!Sushi located?

The Yo!Sushi I visited is located in The Short Hills Mall in Short Hills, New Jersey, on the lower level near Bloomingdale's.  But Yo!Sushi has other locations, too. You can find them in Paramus (at Garden State Plaza) and Woodbury Commons.  Further south, you can find them in Sarasota and Tampa, Florida. Yo!Sushi is found throughout Europe and even Dubai.

Yo!Sushi, Short Hills

What is Yo!Sushi?

Yo!Sushi is a fun dining experience, plain and simple. Guests are seated in front of conveyor belts where small bowls of food pass by.  They describe your visit with the acronym, STEPS (Sit, Take, Eat, Pay, Sayonara!):

from the Yo!Sushi menu

Yo!Sushi, Short Hills

They don't just serve sushi.  They serve over 80 Japanese-inspired dishes, including hot dishes, salads, tempura, hand rolls and desserts.  The menu is color-coded to match the plates.  I swear to you from the bottom of my heart that there is something for everyone on this menu.  You don't have to love sushi, you don't have to be a huge fan of Japanese food.  The Jersey Momma's Boy is the pickiest eater on the planet and even he found something he wanted to eat (amazing, I know!).

The Jersey Momma's Boy eating rice at Yo!Sushi (from the soy sauce dish- don't judge)

What is it like to eat at Yo!Sushi?

The Short Hills Yo!Sushi has a fun, colorful, inviting atmosphere.  Upon arrival, we were immediately greeted at the podium by friendly staff members. We visited on a weekday shortly after they opened (around 11:15am), so crowds were light and we were able to choose where we wanted to sit.  All seats faced a conveyor belt, and we chose a seat that also overlooked the chef's area (very neat that we could watch them prepare dishes while we ate- no doubt that food was fresh!). If you'd prefer a cozier booth, they have those, too, which are curved nicely so you can still see the conveyor belt.

Yo!Sushi Short Hills

Christine, the manager, came over to meet us and showed us all of the funky beverages they had available.  I decided to try a cool Japanese strawberry soda called a Ramune, and The Jersey Momma's Boy chose a lemonade (Mr. Jersey Momma had yet to arrive, since he was meeting us during his lunch break).  Christine even helped me open the Ramune bottle, which has a little glass marble inside of it.

Japanese Ramune Strawberry Soda from Yo!Sushi Short Hills

I also highly recommend their green tea/lemonade half and half for a beverage. Yummy!  Wasabi, soy sauce, pickled ginger and chopsticks were all right at our fingertips, as well as a menu. Our server, Seana, was super friendly and helpful.  Here's a little video I took upon arriving at Yo!Sushi Short Hills (*sorry, the video is not mobile-friendly):



Seana was there to explain anything we didn't understand, and to tell us how the whole experience worked. She was also there to bring me a fork, since I am totally chopstick-challenged.  The Jersey Momma's Boy has no problem using chopsticks, although she did bring him a trainer in case he needed it (actually, I might have needed it!).

Eating with chopsticks at Yo!Sushi Short Hills - yes, from the soy sauce dish. With a coat on. He's particular.

Chopstick helpers from Yo!Sushi

And in the event that Seana wasn't there, she told me all I had to do was push the 'help' button, which was conveniently located in front of our seats.

I need help!  Yo!Sushi, Short Hills

What can I eat at Yo!Sushi?

The fun of Yo!Sushi is that you can choose what catches your eye. You can look at the menu and then find what you want on the conveyor belt, or you can order a hot dish straight from your server. You can pick whatever looks appetizing as it goes by (The Jersey Momma's Boy liked this strategy, stating, 'I think I might like that one!  I'll grab it!').  Stuart, the chef who was working in front of us, also offered his services and said he could help us choose or find anything we needed.  Am I easing your fears yet?  You could also order soups like traditional Japanese miso (and there are unlimited refills on the miso soup!). Here's a little sampling of what we ate...

The Jersey Momma's Boy had the chicken firecracker rice, but they made it mild for him.  He also picked the Inari Nigiri from the conveyor belt, which was sweet and yummy.

Firecracker rice from Yo!Sushi Short Hills

And then I had a plethora of sushi- but I'm not a raw fish kind of girl, so I chose their Shrimp, Tempura and Avocado Roll and their California Roll.  Do I even need to tell you how fresh and delicious the sushi rolls were? Yum.

Sushi Rolls, Nigiri and Rice from Yo!Sushi Short Hills

Then I tried the Seared Beef Nigiri, which was yummy and a little spicy. Yo!Sushi offers explanations of their food items on the back of their menu (so if you don't know what nigiri, sashimi or gyoza are, it will tell you!). Or you can look at this handy dandy description on Wikipedia.  

Seared Beef Nigiri from Yo!Sushi, Short Hills

When Mr. Jersey Momma finally arrived (an hour late, poor guy) it was hard to get pics of his food because he was gobbling it down so fast (always a good sign). He tried the Shrimp Nigiri, Yellowtail Nigiri and Salmon Nigiri (he likes the nigiri!) but I never even saw him eat it!  Geez! I did, however, manage to stop him from eating the last Philadelphia Sushi Roll so I could snap a picture. He said it was yummy and very unique.

Philadelphia Roll from Yo!Sushi, Short Hills

Believe it or not, one of my favorite items at Yo!Sushi was the dessert! I tried both types of  Dorayaki-the Matcha Dorayaki and the Black Sesame Dorayaki. They were delicious!! They tasted like little pieces of pound cake and came with a raspberry sauce for dipping. Don't let the color dissuade you from trying it (open your minds, people!). Stuart, the head chef at Yo!Sushi Short Hills, told me all about the background of the dessert and what it was made of. It's not often that you get to sit and chat with the chef who is making your food.

Black Sesame Dorayaki Dessert at Yo!Sushi, Short Hills

How much does a meal at Yo!Sushi cost?

This, actually, is completely up to you.  Each dish is priced accordingly by color. At the end of your meal (basically, when you're full!), your server will add up the cost of your dishes.  There is a handy chart right in front of you that shows the cost of each dish.  They range in price from $3.00-$7.00.  There are seven different colored dishes, thereby offering you a range of prices.

 7 colors of bowls - Yo!Sushi Short Hills

Is Yo!Sushi for families?

In my humble opinion, Yo!Sushi is for everyone.  While we were there, the clientele consisted of families with children, a mom with her baby girl (she was about 2, maybe?), a single gentleman, businessmen, a group of friends- that covers almost everyone, right?  I think kids would like it for the fun factor- the conveyor belts, the colors (the lights under our seats changed color, much to The Jersey Momma's Boy's delight), the Japanese drinks. The baby behind us was seated in a high chair.  She was also enjoying some rice and I asked her mom how she like the mochi ice cream that she had ordered. She said she loved it, and that it was her first time trying green tea ice cream (she said it took her a minute to get past the idea of the chewy exterior that mochi ice cream has, but then she loved the flavor!). They don't offer a specific kids menu, but our server Seana at Yo!Sushi Short Hills was happy to recommend some dishes that could be 'kid-friendly,' and The Jersey Momma's Boy also enjoyed choosing items from the conveyor belt on his own. High chairs were also available.

Yo!Sushi Short Hills

Why should You Try Yo!Sushi Short Hills?

Well, first, the food was healthy, fresh and delicious.  Second, it was fun!  Third, I can't think of a single restaurant like this in our area.  It's unique and entertaining.  The cost is manageable since it goes by the plate, and it's a chance for you to try different kinds of foods than you might not be used to. Still not sure? Then enter my raffle below to win a Yo!Sushi gift card. If you win, you'll have to go!


Yo!Sushi To Go

If you don't have time to sit and eat, or you want to grab some lunch or dinner on the run, Yo!Sushi Short Hills offers take-out, boxed and ready.  You can even grab a Rakume soda to go, too!

Yo!Sushi To Go, Short Hills

Other things to note about Yo!Sushi

*I enjoyed speaking with the head chef, Stuart.  He was from Scotland, and had worked with Yo!Sushi for a long time throughout Europe.  He knew so much about all of the dishes and about the history of the company. It was fascinating to talk to him (and to hear his wonderful accent!).  Incidentally, you can find Chef Stuart alternating between the Short Hills and Paramus locations, so be sure to say hello if you see him.

Chef Stuart at Yo!Sushi, Short Hills

*Freshness is critical at Yo!Sushi.  Items on the conveyor belt circulate no longer than two hours. Hot dishes are usually made to order. They use the freshest ingredients and you can watch your chefs creating dishes right in front of you.

sushi rolling at Yo!Sushi Short Hills

*All dishes are covered with a little plastic dome top for food safety and cleanliness.  You can read more about Yo!Sushi's food here.

Here comes the nigiri! Grab it! At Yo!Sushi Short Hills

*Yo!Sushi Short Hills is wheel-chair accessible with wheel-chair accessible bathrooms

*Yo!Sushi Short Hills offers catering.  Give them a call or visit them to inquire about this service.

*Here's a tip from me to you: don't pick up a dish from the conveyor belt, change your mind, and put it back. Although the dishes are covered, that's still rude and uncool. I didn't see anyone doing that while I was there, but I'm just putting it out there so that someone doesn't come along and ruin it for the rest of us!

*Visit Yo!Sushi at the Short Hills Mall in Short Hills, NJ, lower level near Bloomingdales. 
*Contact information for the Short Hills Yo!Sushi is found here
*Follow Yo!Sushi USA on Twitter and on Facebook, or visit them on their website:   www.yosushiusa.com 
*See all of their cool pics on Instagram, too!

Disclaimer:  I was offered a free meal in exchange for an honest review of Yo!Sushi Short Hills.  But like I always say, I would never recommend something to you that I didn't totally love myself. That's not how I (sushi) roll!

Now, on to the giveaway!

Yo!Sushi Giveaway

The kind folk at Yo!Sushi have graciously offered to give one lucky reader a $50 gift card to be used at any Yo!Sushi location (go visit my favorite Short Hills spot!).  Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter! The more you participate using the options below, the more chances you have to win! Contest runs for seven days, and winner will be notified by email. Yo!SushiUSA is responsible for sending the gift card to the lucky winner. Good luck!  Arigatou (that means thank you)! (*please note that the contest is open to U.S. residents only.  Sorry!)

To enter:  leave a blog post comment below.  Then click on the Rafflecopter widget.  Enter your email when prompted (winner will be contacted by email, I promise no spam or junk mail!) and click 'I commented!' and you're done!  You can achieve extra entries in the raffle by completing any of the other steps in the widget, if you like.  Just follow the directions in each pull-down. 



                                                          a Rafflecopter giveaway

30 comments:

  1. I love this, it seems so neat and inviting (plus bright) ! My teen daughters love sushi. So I thought I was sharing something special, and they already knew about this spot. LOL, I guess I am out of the loop. We live in So.Jersey btw

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    1. The kids always seem to know about the cool stuff before we do! Thanks for stopping by. I love to see my fellow Jerseyans visiting!

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  2. Great post! I love the concept of Yo Sushi! I would love to win this giveaway to try all their options!

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    1. Awesome! I know you'll love it! Good luck and thanks for visiting!

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  3. Can't wait to check it out! Such a unique idea!

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    1. Thanks, Alison! You will love it! Good luck!

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  4. I have to be honest I'm not a sushi fan but I am a restaurant fan, and this look WAY too cool! I want to go experience it! Entering! And I mean...good excuse to go to the Short Hills mall too right??

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    1. Totally!!! Thanks for visiting and entering! I swear you don't have to be a huge sushi lover to enjoy it there.

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  5. We love sushi. YoSushi looks like a bright, clean place full of delicious sushi. What a funplace for a family dinner!

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    1. It definitely ranks among my top family dinner places now! Thanks, Shelah!

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  6. I have one little sushi lover over here. My husband and my other son don't like it but it's my special thing with him.

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    1. Awwww! That is so sweet!!! Very special, too! Thanks for stopping by, Jill.

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  7. I saw something like this on The Amazing Race, but I had no idea places like this existed in the US. I'm not sure I'm brave enough for sushi, but I have some friends who would LOVE this. Such a cool find.

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    1. Start with the veggie sushi or a California roll, then you don't have to worry about the raw fish factor! You can do it! lol Thanks for visiting, Betsy!

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  8. This looks like such a cool restaurant. I hope they have a location near me!

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    1. They're growing in popularity so hopefully we'll be seeing more of them! Thanks for visiting, Shann.

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  9. I Love sushi! This place looks great. I love that your kids were trying the food too!!

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    1. I know, right? He was even using the chopsticks! Thanks for stopping by, Twitchetts!

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  10. Yummy! I wish there was a place like this here too! So cool!

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    1. Thanks, Stefanie! I appreciate you visiting!

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  11. Looks yummy. Thanks for the article.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Grace!! I hope you win!

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  12. Ok,looks interesting and Alice and I will try it!

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    1. You'll love it! Thanks for reading, Fred!

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  13. I live in NC but I pray that Yo!Sushi makes it here to Raleigh. I love Sushi and I don't get to ear it enough. My twin sister studied abroad in Japan a few some years ago and she eventually got me to try it. I may have to get some soon (:

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    1. That's how I learned to love it, too, after my husband visited Japan! I hope they open one up in your area soon! Thanks for visiting!

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  14. Excellent review! I'm not a sushi lover. But your post is so exciting, that it makes me what to try it again.

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    1. Thanks, Rebecca! I hope you'll give sushi a chance! Thanks for visiting!!

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  15. I'm going to have to take my wife here after she reads your review..

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    1. I think you and the wife will BOTH like it, Bahu! Thanks for commenting!

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