Raw fish, seaweed and rice may not describe the average college student's diet, but for those who can not get enough of sushi – a staple in Japanese cuisine – Soma Sushi, next to Jamba Juice in the Student Union, will satisfy their cravings.
Although Soma Sushi has had a presence in the Union since the beginning of the year, many are still unaware that the Japanese eatery exists, and others walk right past it. "I've never been there [because] it doesn't look appetizing. A lot of times, it makes the whole Jamba area smell of bad fish," said Mara Reichelscheimer, a junior social science major.
Fish from New York City is sent to Rochester, and every Monday, Soma Sushi receives a week's worth of the raw fish. According to Karen Bouttarath, the manager of Soma Sushi, the fish is kept in a cooler so that it remains fresh.
"We throw away our leftovers. We never keep sushi overnight and serve it the next day," Bouttarath said.
Each morning, several rolls are made and placed in front of the cashier for students to take on the go. However, if there is a roll that isn't already made, students are able to request a special order and create their own rolls. Every day, the workers make around 400 rolls, not including the rolls that are pre-made each morning.
Moreover, the employees make the sushi right in front of the students, so all are able to observe the cleanliness of the station and visually ensure there is no cross-contamination for those who are allergic to any of the ingredients. The workers constantly clean off their knives and sushi mats with water and a paper towel.
According to Bouttarath, the fish and vegetables are fresh and every utensil is clean. However, those are not the only components to running a successful sushi business. Many people like to eat their sushi with extra condiments, and although Soma Sushi provides students with these condiments, many seem to be unhappy with the portion sizes.
"I like their sushi – it tastes great – but I also love to eat my sushi with spicy mayo," said Jacquie Kreckel, a freshman biology major. "Every time I get sushi from the Union, I have to go back up several times and ask for more. They fill the little plastic cups less than halfway."
However, other students are quite pleased with the overall experience of Soma Sushi and have grown fond of raw fish since coming to UB.
"I never ever ate sushi before [coming to] school, but the first week of first semester, I got a California roll from Soma," said Kelli Leclair, a freshman communication major. "I've literally gotten my lunch from there at least three times a week since."