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M likes to surprise me on our date nights. He uses the Internet and friend recommendations to scout out places he thinks I’ll like, and then he keeps everything a secret, saying only, “You’ll see.”

This weekend, date night happens at lunchtime on Sunday, and I’m driving. All M says is, “Get over to Telegraph Canyon.”

So I do.

And then he directs me to turn into a strip mall near the 805. I do that, too. But I also think, Boo. Strip mall. Even though I’ve been to plenty of good restaurants in strip malls, the setting has a stigma I can’t quite let go.

M knows I love sushi, so when I see Sushi House, I know it’s the place.

“Jason says the atmosphere isn’t much but the food is good,” M says. “He said something about a 40-piece sushi platter for $15.”

On entering the restaurant, I’m shocked to see how packed the place is. The only seats available are at the sushi bar. We choose to wait 10 minutes for table.

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The place sounds and feels like a cafeteria in that very little effort has been put toward atmosphere. A lot of tables are crowed into a fairly small space, and din is loud but bearable. A television over the sushi bar shows the 2011 Reebok Crossfit Games on mute. It’s not the kind of place you’d linger, but to drop in for a quick bite of sushi might not be so bad.

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Free edamame!

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Mei.

The extensive menu includes three options for sushi combinations. You can choose 24 pieces of nigiri sushi (fish on top of rice) for 22.95, 40 pieces of basic sushi rolls for $16.95, or 5 special rolls for $31.95. We go for the 40 pieces. Although we ask for to try each of the seven rolls they offer with this combination, we’re only allowed four. We pick spicy tuna, salmon, salmon skin, and tempura.

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Spicy tuna (left) and tempura rolls.

The fish is fresh and tasty, but the rolls came out two at a time, fifteen minutes apart. The spicy tuna and tempura came out together, and they are both really tasty. The salmon and salmon skin rolls don’t come out until we’ve finished the first two. Had they all come out together or even in the opposite order, we might not have felt the two salmon rolls were quite so blah.

As it is, that’s our only complaint.

While it’s true that the lack of music and the loud cafeteria acoustics don’t make for the most relaxing experience, the food is good – just like M’s friend said it would be. And as far as entertainment goes, you can’t beat the bulky Reebok Crossfit women on T.V.

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