An off shoot of another thread (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/460298), I'm interested in people's opinion on San Sai which now has five locations in STL.
I went to the Maplewood Commons one on Hanley today; I've been to four of the five and they're all fairly equivalent.
Imagine Crazy Bowls and Wraps serving Japanese food and you've pretty much got San Sai. You walk up to a counter, place your order, pay and sit, wait for your number to be called and you pick it up served in styrofoam and plastic glory. There's a small counter (a separate one; not a sushi bar) and 20 or so tables. The atmosphere is very clean, casual and airy. They have a good selection of non-sushi food but this is a sushi review.
I ordered their Sushi special, which includes ten nigiri, miso soup and one of three salads. A very good deal at $10.49. The miso soup was pretty blase; I'm guessing either a very light or non-existent dashi. The salad I had was very good; a sort of mixed green leafy/crunchy/mandarin orange type.
The sushi is adequate. The rice was mediocre -- good texture, obviously form molded but I don't care. The amount of seasoning was adequate, but the finished sushi rice was somehow bland. I'm guessing no kombu or sake was used in cooking the rice, but it's only a guess. A plus: Sriracha and Togarashi are available at the pick-up counter.
The fish was OK and fresh but somehow bland (except the eel). It's cut small with a high rice to neta ratio, but hey -- it's inexpensive. They have a very small selection of fish. There are several maki rolls.
If I'm in the mood for sushi there are much better places, but all in all San Sai is an OK place to go if you know what you're in for. They're the only restaurants to serve sushi in the mid-afternoon and, for sushi, is easily the least expensive. It seems like a good place to bring sushi shy friends and family. I probably won't make any special trips to go back, but if I'm in those areas and I've got a sushi jones it's a good place for a mid-afternoon meal.
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