Although far from any significant body of salt water, even the rolling hills and high altitude of Colorado Springs can’t stop sushi imports. Despite the fact that most of the food from King Soopers is imported from elsewhere, many still scrutinize the idea of eating at a sushi establishment in Colorado. Such scrutiny only prevents the consumption of one of the most pleasurable cuisines. Sushi isn’t just about the ginger, soy sauce, and beautiful combinations of produce and color; it is a dining experience like no other. Colorado Springs has several Japanese restaurant options, but Sushi Ring has proven not only to be the most affordable, but also the most fresh and delicious.
Unlike Fujiama, the sushi restaurant that sits in the center of downtown, Sushi Ring is quaint, hidden, and only five minutes from campus. This restaurant is surrounded by several fast food establishments, a laundromat, and a gas station just off the highway on Eighth and Cimarron Street. A sushi bar occupies the entire center space of the restaurant, surrounded by two to four person tables. The space is no larger than a cute coffee shop, making the sushi-making process visible, efficient, and personable.
Sushi Ring does not attempt to cover the taste of the fish or seafood by smothering their dishes in thick, flavorful sauces. The sushi served here feels more true to the cuisine in the simplicity of its arrangement and lightness of its taste. The menu is unique to Colorado, as they offer both a “Colorado Springs Roll” and a “Manitou Springs Roll,” which is a combination of shrimp tempura, avocado, and cucumber. The restaurant offers a wide range of hand roll and long roll combinations, as well as a variety of Nigiri options and appetizers ranging from shrimp dumplings and gyoza, to deep-fried oysters and Agedashi tofu. This selection of sushi, however, is just what exists on the “All-you-can-eat” menu; the a-la-carte menu offers other options, such as bento boxes and teriyaki bowls. If one is to order more than three hand rolls, the all-you-can-eat option immediately becomes profitable, making Sushi Ring unique in the way in which “all you can eat” doesn’t entail leaving with an uncomfortably full stomach.
Bryan, the server, made sure I gained as much from the menu as possible by suggesting different combinations and recommending unique dishes, such as their fried shrimp dumplings. The sushi rolls consist of eight pieces, sliced thinly enough that one can order and taste multiple without filling up. The appetizers are also served in smaller portions, allowing one to taste almost everything in manageable quantities. The all-you-can-eat option is truly the way to go.
“[It’s] a very friendly restaurant and staff who immediately make you feel welcome,” junior Willis Zetter said. “The all-you-can-eat is definitely the best option for the hungry eater, and it’s definitely the best bang for your buck.” The all-you-can-eat menu at Sushi Ring, however, comes with an important rule: one must eat everything that they order. Otherwise, the leftover items are charged as their price on the a-la-carte menu. This rule stands to eliminate waste in a culture and society where eyes are often larger than stomachs. Not only does this encourage customers to be more intentional about each order, but it also promotes a certain self-awareness that allows customers to leave feeling satisfied, but not stuffed.
If all-you-can-eat sounds too overwhelming, however, flavor and variety are still available and affordable. For example, one sushi roll, an appetizer, and a teriyaki or bento bowl can all be enjoyed for under $20! Alongside their endless eating options, Sushi Ring also offers a selection of imported Japanese beers priced comprably to the regular American beers on the menu. As I ordered the chicken bowl, Bryan said, “When I started working here I went broke. No joke. I got two of those a day.” Between the flavorful teriyaki sauce and perfectly fried chicken, the bowl was truly that good.
The quality of taste becomes even more impressive when peering behind the sushi bar in the center of the restaurant; the two head sushi chefs are college-aged men, “professionals,” Bryan added, who treat sushi making like an art form. Sushi Ring, a regular-looking establishment on the side of I-25, makes the point that despite negative assumptions about sushi standard in the Rocky Mountain region, sushi can surprise even the most skeptical eaters.